Part 3: Kosen-rufu and World Peace
Chapter 31: The Great Path to World Peace [31.11]

31.11 Our Legacy to Humanity

President Ikeda is the founder of Soka University of America, located in Aliso Viejo, Orange County, California. To date, he has founded a total of 15 educational institutions in seven countries and territories, including Soka University, Soka Women’s College, the Tokyo and Kansai Soka schools, and the Sapporo Soka Kindergarten in Japan; Soka kindergartens in Hong Kong, Singapore, Malaysia, and South Korea; and the Brazil Soka schools. In a message to the dedication ceremony of SUA, he speaks of his deep commitment to education.

My own commitment to education was further deepened by my encounters with Arnold Toynbee, one of the great historians of the 20th century.

Our first meeting was in spring, the mayflower time, of 1972. We met at Professor Toynbee’s home in London. At the time, he was 83 and I was 44.

At the start of our discussion, I expressed my hope that our conversations would offer some suggestions to the people of the future, that they might find some hints for resolving the issues they will face.

I will never forget his response: “I, too, think in terms of the next century. I am much concerned, as you are, about what’s going to happen long after even you, and certainly I, are no longer in this world.”

What does one leave to humanity after one’s passing? From Professor Toynbee, I learned and reconfirmed the importance of living one’s life focused on that overarching question.

For me, the answer is education. It is the university.

The embracing nature of genuine education makes it a force for peace. It can correct and restrain the tendency of religion to become dogmatic, for example. It can connect and build bonds between people the world over.

More than any other human institution, the university can serve as a source of illumination and hope, lighting with wisdom humanity’s path into the far future.

Another crucial point Professor Toynbee stressed was this: “A human being can be manipulated insofar as he can be dehumanized.” Nothing more glaringly exemplifies this truth than education—indoctrination—that glorifies, promotes, and perpetuates war.

During the dark and maddened days of World War II, the first and second presidents of the Soka Gakkai, Tsunesaburo Makiguchi and Josei Toda, struggled, at the risk and cost of life itself, to challenge such war-promoting education and to protect people’s humanity from manipulations. As a result, Japan’s military authorities suppressed the Soka Gakkai, jailing both men as thought criminals. The father of Soka education, Tsunesaburo Makiguchi, died in prison at age 73.

To bequeath to humankind an eternally enduring monument of humanity and justice, an imperishable bastion for the culture of peace—this was the burning desire of the first and second presidents of the Soka Gakkai. I believe that has been the anguished cry and hope of all those whose rights and lives have been trampled by violence and tyranny. SUA has been built in an effort to fulfill those hopes and dreams.

President Makiguchi declared that happiness is the true goal and purpose of education. In this land of hope, dedicated to pursuing the universal value of happiness, SUA will strive always to be an institution of higher learning dedicated first and foremost to human happiness.

This is our belief and conviction: That all people on Earth have the right to happiness. That all people inherently possess the capacity for lasting happiness. That it is through fulfilling their unique and noble purpose in life that each person may realize maximum happiness both for themselves and for others.

The world needs leaders who possess the kind of philosophy and vision that can awaken each individual to that unique mission, that can bring forth that capacity for happiness, that can unify humankind toward the noble goal of peace. Education that fosters such leaders is our foremost necessity.

From a message sent to the dedication ceremony of Soka University of America, May 3, 2001.

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