Part 3: Kosen-rufu and World Peace
Chapter 23: Valuing Each Individual [23.14]

23.14 The Key to the Soka Gakkai’s Development

Referring to his dialogue with the futurist Hazel Henderson, President Ikeda discusses the essential spirit that has enabled the Soka Gakkai to develop on a global scale.

I am now engaged in a dialogue with the renowned futurist Hazel Henderson, which we hope to publish. [The dialogue was published in English as Planetary Citizenship: Your Values, Beliefs, and Actions Can Shape a Sustainable World, in 2004, by Middleway Press.]

Ms. Henderson has a deep understanding of the Soka Gakkai and the Soka Gakkai International, and is sincerely open to learning from our movement.

I told Ms. Henderson that because the Soka Gakkai had reached out to those who were suffering, it had been ridiculed in the past as a “gathering of the poor and the sick,” but that we regarded that as the highest honor.

“That attitude is really the starting point of the SGI, then,” said Ms. Henderson. “Very impressive.” She continued: “Whoever they are and in whatever walk of life they find themselves, all people are, in a way, sacred to me. They’re all sacred because they all have that spark of life.”1

This is absolutely true. All people are equally noble.

Buddhism, in particular, a teaching of great impartial wisdom, doesn’t judge people based on their family background, wealth, education, or position. It focuses solely on each person’s actions, and looks at the spirit behind those actions. As the Daishonin says, “It is the heart that is important” (WND-1, 949; 1000).

Consequently, genuine practitioners of Buddhism are not afraid of arrogant people who make a show of power and authority. They regard them with a calm and composed attitude, stand up to them, and correct them when necessary. They value and protect decent ordinary people above all.

Ms. Henderson asked: “How has [the SGI] grown into this influential worldwide organization? I will be your student on this one.”2

Truly first-rate people are humble.

I answered in part: “We made the human revolution of each individual our basic point. One must transcend the smaller self and devote his or her life to large goals, for other people and for society.”3 And I went on to explain:

The SGI has grown into an indomitable worldwide organization because it prizes every individual.

Having devoted my life to this philosophy, I constantly urge our leaders to embrace it. We have no secret stratagem. Our members encourage one another and accept the challenges posed by their individual reformation of character. Each person’s triumph over his or her “lesser self” propels social development and ultimately influences human history. This is the core of our human revolution movement.4

Valuing each individual—this is the spirit of the Soka Gakkai. As long as we keep that tradition vibrantly alive, the Soka Gakkai will grow and develop forever.

From a speech at a Nagano Prefecture representatives conference, Nagano, August 24, 2001.

The Wisdom for Creating Happiness and Peace brings together selections from President Ikeda’s works on key themes.

  • *1Hazel Henderson and Daisaku Ikeda, Planetary Citizenship: Your Values, Beliefs, and Actions Can Shape a Sustainable World (Santa Monica, California: Middleway Press, 2004), p. 22.
  • *2Ibid., p. 46.
  • *3Ibid.
  • *4Ibid., p. 47.