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31 January 2015


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Back to listJan 26, 2015
Buddhist Leader Calls for Increased Efforts to Rid World of Poverty and Ban Nuclear Weapons in 70th Year since WWII

TOKYO: Daisaku Ikeda, president of the Soka Gakkai International (SGI) Buddhist association, has today issued his 2015 peace proposal, “A Shared Pledge for a More Humane Future: To Eliminate Misery from the Earth.”

In the proposal, Ikeda welcomes the ambitious scale of the United Nations’ proposed Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which call for putting an end to poverty “in all its forms everywhere.” In the 70th year since the UN was created, he calls for a return to its founding spirit, as well as for increased collaboration between the UN and civil society.

In order to lay the foundations for elimination of the human suffering caused by poverty and conflict, he stresses a need for the rehumanization of politics and economics based on a solidarity of ordinary citizens, for empowerment that enables people to overcome suffering and for a broadening of the sphere of our friendships and concern for others as a basis for building peace.

Ikeda makes specific proposals for protection of the rights of displaced persons and others living outside of their country of origin for economic reasons. He suggests including in the SDGs the protection of the dignity and human rights of all such people, and calls for regional cooperation toward the empowerment of displaced persons, particularly in the Asia-Pacific region and the Middle East, building on pioneering initiatives in West Africa.

Regarding the abolition of nuclear weapons, a consistent theme of Ikeda’s proposals, he applauds the fact that in October 2014, a total of 155 countries and territories signed the Joint Statement on the Humanitarian Consequences of Nuclear Weapons. Over 80% of UN member states have now clearly stated that nuclear weapons should be never used under any circumstances.

Ikeda asserts that while the gulf between the nuclear-weapon states and those calling for nuclear abolition appears great, there is common ground in the desire to avoid the horrific outcome of any use of nuclear weapons. He urges heads of government to attend the 2015 Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) Review Conference and calls on them to voice there the pledges of their governments to eliminate the danger posed by nuclear weapons.

Planning is underway for a World Youth Summit for the Abolition of Nuclear Weapons to be held in Hiroshima in September as a joint initiative of SGI and other NGOs. Ikeda hopes a youth declaration pledging to end the nuclear age will be adopted, building momentum in support of a treaty to prohibit nuclear weapons.

In his proposal, Ikeda also calls for increased regional cooperation and youth exchange, specifically urging China, South Korea and Japan to come together to create a regional model for such collaboration.

He stresses the importance of reviving trilateral China-Korea-Japan summits and hopes that leaders of the three countries can mark the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II with a pledge never to go to war again and regional cooperation in support of the SDGs.

At the third UN World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction to be held in Sendai, Japan, in March, Ikeda mentions that SGI will organize a workshop in which representatives of the three countries will discuss possible regional cooperation in disaster prevention, relief activities and post-disaster recovery.

He also hopes to see the establishment of a China-Korea-Japan youth partnership through which young people can cooperate in efforts to realize the SDGs and other trilateral initiatives.


Buddhist philosopher, author and peacebuilder Daisaku Ikeda (1928 – ), president of the Soka Gakkai International (SGI) lay Buddhist organization, has issued a peace proposal offering ways forward in tackling global challenges every year since 1983.

This year marks the 40th anniversary of the founding of SGI in Guam on January 26, 1975. SGI now links over 12 million people in 192 countries and territories around the world who practice Nichiren Buddhism and contribute to their communities. SGI’s activities to promote peace, culture and education are part of the longstanding tradition of Buddhist humanism.

Joan Anderson
Office of Public Information
Soka Gakkai International
Tel: +81-80-5957-4711
Fax: +81-3-5360-9885
E-mail: janderson[at]


“Human revolution is the work of transforming our lives at the very core. It involves identifying and challenging those things which inhibit the full expression of our positive potential and humanity.”

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Human Revolution

“Human revolution is the work of transforming our lives at the very core. It involves identifying and challenging those things which inhibit the full expression of our positive potential and humanity.”

Human RevolutionBuddhism is characterized by an emphasis on the possibility of inner transformation–a process of bringing forth our full human potential. There is a common perception that the discipline and focus necessary for such a process requires a set of ideal circumstances not available to most. Nichiren Buddhism, however, teaches that it is only by squarely facing the challenges that confront us amidst the harsh contradictions of society that we can carry out the task of changing our own lives and the world for the better.

“Human revolution” is the term used by second Soka Gakkai President Josei Toda to describe a fundamental process of inner transformation whereby we break through the shackles of our “lesser self,” bound by self-concern and the ego, growing in altruism toward a “greater self” capable of caring and taking action for the sake of others–ultimately all humanity.

As SGI President Daisaku Ikeda explains: “There are all sorts of revolutions: political revolutions, economic revolutions, industrial revolutions, scientific revolutions, artistic revolutions…but no matter what one changes, the world will never get any better as long as people themselves…remain selfish and lacking in compassion. In that respect, human revolution is the most fundamental of all revolutions, and at the same time, the most necessary revolution for humankind.”

The question of how to change in a positive direction is one which has spawned countless theories, religions and publishing empires. Certainly, self-discipline and effort can enable us to make positive change, for example by starting to exercise regularly. But the willpower required is often hard to maintain; our self-control may slip at a crucial moment because we have not addressed the underlying, inner causes of our behavior.

Human revolution is the work of transforming our lives at the very core. It involves identifying and challenging those things which inhibit the full expression of our positive potential and humanity. Nichiren Buddhism is based on belief in a pure, positive and enlightened condition of life which exists equally within all people. This life state of “Buddhahood” is characterized by the qualities of compassion, wisdom and courage, which enable us to create something of value from any situation. Nichiren realized that the deepest process of change and purification takes place when we bring forth this state, and he taught the practice of chanting “Nam-myoho-renge-kyo” as the direct and immediate means for accessing and experiencing it.

This Buddha nature expresses itself in concrete ways. First, we gain the conviction that our life contains limitless possibilities and a profound sense of our human dignity. Second, we develop the wisdom to understand that things that we previously thought impossible are in fact possible. And third, we develop a powerful vitality that allows us to tackle our problems with a sense of inner liberation. We are thus empowered to pursue our own human revolution, striving to improve our “self” from yesterday to today and making the “self” of tomorrow better still.

In some traditions of Buddhism, interpretations of the law of cause and effect can encourage a focus on negative past causes. The obstacles and challenges encountered in life may be seen as requiring lifetimes of effort to “clean up.” The message of the Lotus Sutra and Nichiren Buddhism is that through faith and practice we can reveal Buddhahood: our highest, most enlightened state of life right now, just as we are. This enlightened wisdom enables us to grasp the reality that circumstances which may seem the most unfortunate, be it seemingly incurable illness or bereavement, can actually provide the best opportunities for tackling our human revolution and the impetus for the greatest personal growth.

When we look beyond our personal concerns and take action for the sake of others, this process is strengthened and accelerated. An experience which previously seemed like an unjust burden can become the key to finding the purpose of our lives, as we learn how to help others struggling in a similar situation.

This individual process of human revolution is the very key to sparking change on a global scale. For, as Daisaku Ikeda writes, “A great human revolution in just a single individual will help achieve a change in the destiny of a nation and, further, will enable a change in the destiny of all humankind.” Taking responsibility for transforming our own lives is the first step toward creating a human society based on compassion and respect for the dignity of all people’s lives.

[Courtesy July 2005 SGI Quarterly]

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