To promote Human Values through Education & Culture

Dr. Daisaku Ikeda and Education

"Nothing is irredeemable in youth. Rather, the worst mistake you can make when you're young is to give up on yourself and not to challenge yourself for fear of failure. The past is the past and the future is the future. You should keep moving forward with a steady eye on the future, telling yourself, 'I'll start from today!' 'I'll start afresh from now, from this moment!'"

Ikeda regards education as fundamental to peace and positive social change. Through his dialogues, writings and collaborations, he has been active in reorienting education toward those values and approach.

In Ikeda's philosophy the ultimate purpose of education, as with the purpose of life, can be expressed as "happiness." The word here refers to the sense of fulfillment that comes from developing and deepening one's humanity, rather than a more superficial state of simply being untroubled or having one's desires realized. Ikeda's educational philosophy therefore is essentially about how to empower people to lead genuinely happy, creative lives.

For Ikeda, the relationship between education and peace is vital. As he has commented, "The essential responsibility of education is to foster in the minds of youth a love of humanity and a spirit to dedicate oneself for the sake of the people and for society." And again, "The task of education must be fundamentally to ensure that knowledge serves to further the cause of human happiness and peace.

The ideal of fostering a love of humanity and a dedication to peace thus represents a core motivation of Soka education--an effort to direct learning to the service of humanity. It is a motivation that Ikeda believes both students and educators should keep clearly in focus. The ideal of global citizenship--individuals rounded in a reverence for life and motivated by a sense of responsibility to create a peaceful and just global society for all--is central to Ikeda's vision.

A global citizen could be defined essentially as an individual of wisdom, courage and compassion—courage to respect and appreciate differences such as race, culture and ethnicity and to make such differences a source of nourishment for one’s own growth; compassion to feel empathy and a sense of identification with people in other parts of the world. Such courage and compassion are themselves a limitless font of wisdom.