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Buddhism in Action for Peace
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by Daisaku Ikeda, President, Soka Gakkai International
It was particularly bitter that 2001, the first year of the new century, was marred by the tragic September 11 terrorist attacks in the United States. This incident was diametrically opposed to the spirit of dialogue, tolerance and coexistence that so many people have been seeking.
Yet to permit this incident to impact us in a lasting and negative way would be to play into the perpetrators'' hands. The goal of terrorism is to thrust people into chaos and confusion, to fan fear and mistrust; it is vital that we never succumb to these emotions. We must rather bring forth the power of the human spirit in even greater measure, surpassing and exceeding the magnitude of the threat that faces us.
Many people have been pondering the question of whether any form of dialogue or engagement is possible with those who remain hidden behind the veil of anonymity. What can people of good will do, how are they to respond to ruthless, cold-blooded acts of evil?
One thing is certain: reprisal invites reprisal. Any act of vengeance will inevitably provoke a response, and the cycle will continue without end. This is the lesson, rooted in the depths of human nature, which has been learned at the cost of untold suffering and bloodshed.
I repeat my absolute opposition to all forms of violence, terror and retaliation. All violence is an affront to human dignity. But transforming the course of human history will require of each individual a truly profound inner resolution, an existential determination to seek one''s fundamental, inherent humanity and to transform one''s entire being---an endeavor that we in the SGI call human revolution.
Crucial to this process is an awareness of the existence of others---to have what might be called an internalized other. It is only through intense spiritual interaction that humans grow and mature. An inner, spiritual dialogue is a necessary prerequisite for any attempt at external dialogue. related article Fulfilling the Mission: Empowering the UN to Live Up to the World's Expectations (August 30, 2006) by Daisaku Ikeda, President, Soka Gakkai International In his United Nations proposal suggesting areas of reform, SGI President Ikeda stresses that the UN is the most universal forum, upholds Dag Hammarskjold's commitment to dialogue, and also urges that countries consider supporting UNESCO's Education for All campaign.
In the light of what I call the humanism of the Middle Way, before us suddenly opens the great way of dialogue, the capacity to transcend differences and share innermost sentiments with any and all people. This conviction has been the guiding principle for my own actions.
Without dialogue, humans are fated to walk in the darkness of their own dogmatic self-righteousness. Dialogue is the lamp by which we dispel that darkness, lighting for each other our steps and the path ahead.
It is crucial that we aim for the creation of a universal system that will prevent, suppress, and, where necessary, punish any act of terror. By strengthening the structures and systems of international law, international police work, and the international judiciary, it should be possible to build a comprehensive and coordinated response to terror. In this effort, the UN must be accorded a central role. In this regard, I would specifically like to propose the following measures:
It is vital that steps be taken from a long-term perspective to eliminate the root causes of terrorism. In this regard, I would like to suggest measures centered on three themes: human rights, poverty alleviation and disarmament.
In August 2002, the World Summit on Sustainable Development will be held in Johannesburg, South Africa. We must make a strong, fresh determination to arrive at bold, original and thoroughgoing initiatives, and to make the conference the point of departure for new action for the sake of the human future. Here I would like to propose several ideas that I feel could help strengthen the framework of international cooperation to protect the environment.
Realizing lasting peace in Asia is not a matter of any one country taking the lead. Rather, it is a matter of building multilayered networks of friendship and trust between and among the peoples of each country. Among the activities slated for this year is the Japan-China-Republic of Korea Young Leaders Exchange Program.
Dialogue, trust and collaboration---these are the foundations on which the global civilization of the twenty-first century is to be built. This year, under the theme of expanding dialogue, the members of the SGI are determined to work to further spread the solidarity of humanism in order to build a world of peace and coexistence.