In this collection of addresses and proposals, Daisaku Ikeda brings a fresh perspective from which to view the ultimate purpose of education and its transformative processes.
“What our world most requires now,” he writes, “is the kind of education that fosters love for humankind,that develops character—that provides an intellectual basis for the realization of peace and empowers learners to contribute to and improve society.”
Ikeda is founder of the Soka education system, which includes kindergartens in Hong Kong, Singapore, Malaysia and Brazil, a complete school system in Japan as well as Soka University in Japan and the United States. His informed inquiry into educational reform spans the genesis of the university in the Middle Ages to the crisis in learning of our contemporary age.
In his lecture at the Simon Wiesenthal Center, the author discusses the life and works of Japanese educator Tsunesaburo Makiguchi, founder and first president of the Soka educational society that later became the lay Buddist organization Soka Gakkai. Makiguchi, a contemporary of American educator John Dewey, conceived the principles and framework of Soka—or “value-creating”—education in the early 20thcentury. He asserted that the purpose of education is the lifelong happiness of learners.
Victor Kazanjian writes in his Foreword: “Drawing from the writings of philosophers and poets of all ages and places, Mr. Ikeda breathes new life into the ancient vision of education as the primary force for human liberation by applying these teachings to a contemporary context.”