Part 3: Kosen-rufu and World Peace
Conclusion: Toward the Future [3]

3 Making Respect for the Dignity of Life the Spirit of the 21st Century

At a Soka Gakkai Headquarters leaders meeting exactly one month after the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks in the United States, President Ikeda stresses that dialogue is the only sure way to establish respect for the dignity of life as the underlying spirit of the 21st century and beyond, and to secure kosen-rufu and world peace into the future.

Humanity’s future is still in peril. The only real way to break through the darkness is for human beings themselves to change. With our grand vision for the 21st century, let us ring the bells of eternal peace, of kosen-rufu, steadily and resolutely, one after another!

The world at peace and all humanity living together in harmony is the dream and hope of the 21st century. The surest first step toward realizing that goal is for human beings to reach out and engage in dialogue that transcends all differences.

There is a key line in Nichiren Daishonin’s treatise “On Establishing the Correct Teaching for the Peace of the Land”: “Let us discuss the question at length” (WND-1, 7). The host is inviting his guest to engage in a dialogue. The Daishonin always highly valued one-to-one dialogue, and the treatise itself is structured as a dialogue between the host and his guest. This writing is the starting point for peace. It is said that Nichiren Buddhism begins and ends with “On Establishing the Correct Teaching for the Peace of the Land.” And dialogue is the backbone of this important work. It is through one-to-one dialogue that individuals form bonds of genuine trust. Neither military force nor political coercion hold any answers.

People coming together without prejudice and transcending national and ethnic differences—our organization is truly a model of that ideal. Just look at the international gathering we are holding today, with so many friends from diverse lands. What we need to do is expand this. We are promoting dialogue for peace throughout the world. We are conducting dialogue with people of different cultures and traditions.

I personally have engaged in more than 1,500 dialogues with leading thinkers from countries all around the globe, starting with the British historian Arnold Toynbee. Moreover, my dialogues with some 40 of these individuals have either been published or are in the process of being published, with the aim of fostering international understanding.

The Soka Gakkai’s movement for peace is striving through dialogue to establish the philosophy of respect for the dignity of life as the spirit of the age in the 21st century. The dialogues you engage in each day are noble and important. I hope you will continue them with supreme confidence and pride.

From a speech at a Soka Gakkai Headquarters leaders meeting, Tokyo, October 11, 2001.

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