SGI President Calls for Humanization of Religion as a Basis for Peace
Tokyo, Japan: In his 2008 peace proposal, to be issued on January 26 to commemorate the anniversary of the founding of the Soka Gakkai International (SGI) Buddhist association in 1975, SGI President Daisaku Ikeda calls for the humanization of religion as one path toward peace.
Commenting that the current trend towards fundamentalism is found not only in the religious sphere, but also in excessive attachment to national or ethnic identity and even to market principles, the SGI president stresses the need to put the human being at the center of all issues. He identifies dialogue as key in combating fanaticism, mistrust and dogmatism.
He also makes concrete proposals toward protecting the planet's ecology, upholding human dignity and creating the infrastructures of peace.
He suggests that the UN Environmental Programme (UNEP) be upgraded to the status of a specialized agency and calls on the Japanese government to share technology with the goal of making East Asia a model region for energy conservation and efficiency.
Noting that 2008 marks the 60th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Mr. Ikeda stresses the need for a global culture of human rights, urging that an international conference on human rights education centered on civil society groups be held as soon as possible.
Drawing attention to the potential of Africa, he proposes that the fourth Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD), to be held in May, focus on the empowerment of youth.
In the area of peace, he supports the call for an Arctic Nuclear-Weapon-Free Zone (NWFZ) as an important step toward establishing the illegality of nuclear weapons.
He suggests ways of strengthening infrastructures for peace in East Asia and welcomes the Japanese government's program to invite 6,000 young people from East Asian countries to Japan, concluding that working with youth is the best way to build grassroots solidarity for peace.
"Humanizing Religion, Creating Peace" is the 26th annual peace proposal issued by Mr. Ikeda, sharing Buddhist perspectives on current issues facing humanity and proposing concrete solutions.
Soka Gakkai International is a socially engaged Buddhist association with 12 million members around the world. Its activities to promote peace, culture and education are part of the longstanding tradition of Buddhist humanism.