Part 3: Kosen-rufu and World Peace
Conclusion: Toward the Future [4]

4 Standing Always on the Side of the People

Discussing their vision for the future, President Ikeda and British historian Arnold J. Toynbee agreed that the Middle Way is the path that humanity must follow. Here, President Ikeda elaborates on the significance of the Middle Way and articulates the eternal mission of the Soka Gakkai.

I visited the great British historian Arnold Toynbee at his London home in 1972 and 1973, talking with him at length. He was 84 and I was 45. Our earnest discussions encompassed such topics as overcoming self-centeredness and transcending the limitations of nationalism, as well as numerous other important issues confronting humankind.

Toward the end of our dialogue in 1973, I asked him if he had any personal advice for me. He prefaced his reply with the words “I think it rather impertinent for me to give personal advice to you, because I am an academic person and you are a man of action.” He then went on: “I think we agree about what a human being should do with his life. The Middle Way—as you yourself have said—is the way to follow.”1

The Middle Way is the way of humanism based on the Buddhist principle of respect for the dignity of life. It is to take a gradualist approach, always advancing with and for the people.

Professor Toynbee continued: “I’m sure that the Soka Gakkai is looking very far ahead. This is what we all should do.”2

It is now more than a decade since we entered the 21st century, and Professor Toynbee’s words have acquired ever greater weight. As the times grow more confused, the need for the Middle Way, in which we never lose sight of what is most fundamental and important, is increasingly urgent.

Buddhist humanism means always standing on the side of the people. This is the true path of Nichiren Buddhism. Working for the happiness of others and sincerely valuing the person right in front of us require having limitless faith in the highest positive potential inherent within each individual. Such faith and conviction are the driving force for building a network of hope and opening the way to a brighter future.

From Learning from the Writings of Nichiren Daishonin: The Teachings for Victory, vol. 14, published in Japanese in March 2015.

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

  • *1From a transcript of their dialogue.
  • *2Ibid.