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Buddhist Leader’s Annual Peace Proposal Stresses Power of Youth in Building Global Solidarity

Calls on Civil Society to Play Active Role in Nuclear Disarmament Talks

Daisaku Ikeda, president of the Soka Gakkai International (SGI) Buddhist association, issued his 35th annual peace proposal titled “The Global Solidarity of Youth: Ushering in a New Era of Hope” on January 26, 2017.

While acknowledging numerous global challenges from armed conflict to the refugee crisis, Ikeda rejects pessimism, citing his faith in young people who embody hope and can catalyze chain reactions of positive change in their communities. He states: “Young people and their energetic engagement represent the solution to the global challenges we face.”

He also sees youth as the key to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) adopted by the United Nations toward 2030. He emphasizes that globally shared action, as seen in recent efforts to fight climate change, is essential in promoting these goals.

Ikeda expresses concern about divisive rhetoric and the growth of hate speech, commenting that xenophobic thinking is propelled by a stark division of the world into good and evil. He echoes former German President Richard von Weizsacker, who described the Berlin Wall as “the politics that deny humanity made into stone,” and stresses that we must never allow this kind of division to occur again.

Ikeda discusses the bodhisattva spirit stressed in Mahayana Buddhism as one means of developing a spiritual foundation for building solidarity, describing the bodhisattva as someone motivated by the spirit of empathy to respond to grave social crises, wherever they are and whether or not they are directly impacted.

He discusses the importance of education for global citizenship and calls for fostering a culture of peace through expanding friendship that transcends ethnic and religious differences. He is confident that bonds of friendship among youth can be powerful enough to turn back the “sullied currents of divisiveness” and give birth to a culture of peace rooted in respect for diversity.

Addressing the problem of nuclear weapons, Ikeda urges that the leaders of the United States and Russia, which together possess more than 90% of the world’s nuclear arsenal, hold a summit meeting at the earliest opportunity to establish a global trend toward nuclear disarmament.

He stresses the significance of a call for the abolition of nuclear weapons issued by his mentor, second Soka Gakkai president Josei Toda, 60 years ago in 1957. Toda sought to reveal the illusory nature of nuclear deterrence and forcefully stated that the use of nuclear weapons can never be justified.

Ikeda welcomes the adoption of a UN General Assembly resolution last year mandating the start of negotiations for a treaty that will prohibit nuclear weapons. Recognizing the difficulty of convincing nuclear-weapon states to participate in these negotiations, slated for March and June 2017, he stresses that Japan, as the only country to have experienced nuclear bombings in war, has a moral responsibility to work to gain the participation of as many states as possible.

He urges that the establishment of such a legal instrument be a global enterprise with the goal of preventing the horrors of nuclear war from ever being visited upon any country, and emphasizes that this initiative is fully congruent with the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) and its Article VI that requires each state party to pursue good faith negotiations toward complete nuclear disarmament.

Ikeda emphasizes that the actions of civil society during the negotiation process will help build momentum toward the treaty being a form of “people-driven international law.”

Regarding the needs of refugees and the countries, mainly in the developing world, that host them, he suggests that the UN take the initiative in developing a new aid architecture that creates better coordination between emergency assistance and development work: a partnership for solving humanitarian challenges and protecting human dignity. This could include vocational training to enable forcibly displaced persons to work in fields that contribute to enhancing resilience and promote the achievement of the SDGs in the host communities.

Ikeda concludes his annual proposal by calling for increased efforts to build a culture of human rights. He suggests activities promoting human rights education to mark the 70th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in 2018, and expresses high expectations for a new human rights exhibition to be launched during the convening of the Human Rights Council in February and March, which the SGI is creating together with other groups.

Daisaku Ikeda

He stresses the need to promote gender equality to end all forms of discrimination, stating that gender equality is vital to opening the path for all people to bring forth the light of their inner dignity and humanity in a way true to their own unique self.

Finally, Ikeda reconfirms the commitment of the members of the SGI, centered on youth, to work toward creating a global society where no one is left behind.

Daisaku Ikeda has issued proposals to the international community addressing global issues every year since 1983. Philosopher, author and peacebuilder, he has been president of the Soka Gakkai International Buddhist association since 1975. His annual peace proposals are issued on January 26 to commemorate the founding of the SGI. See http://www.daisakuikeda.org The full proposal in English will be available on February 16.

http://www.smobserved.com/story/2017/02/07/lifestyle/buddhist-leaders-annual-peace-proposal-stresses-power-of-youth-in-building-global-solidarity/2556.html

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February 7, 2017 - Posted by | Uncategorized

8 Comments »

  1. This is nonsense and propaganda. It is nonsense because Ikeda is the head of Soka Gakai International or SGI. SGI operates the Komeito political party, in Japan. The Komeito is allied with The Liberal Democrat Party of Shinzo Abe. Shinzo Abe and the LDP actively seek to change article 9 of the Japanese constitution, which will allow japan to become militaristic again, declare war, and have nuclear weapons. Soka Gakai and Daisaku Ikeda keep the LDP and Shinzo Abe in power through the Komeito. The komeito and Abe also want to open all nuclear reactors back up in japan and, construct more. Please do fact-checking before before being lured into propaganda! I know nuclear-news.net has more integrity than this!

    Comment by Dan Trowbridge | February 7, 2017 | Reply

    • Thanks for your response Dan, I should point out that many anti nuclear groups are partitioned by the pro nuclear energy and anti nuclear weapons debate and we could discuss the issues on this aspect of your concern on a global scale. However I would add that not all members are pro nuclear energy and also, on the Article 9 issue, there are some disputes on that issue as well.. Personally, I prefer to take a groups single issue points if I agree with them as there are so many nuanced aims and objectives within so many groups. It i important to use the comments section to raise the issues that might need further discussion and I thank you for doing that.. Here is an interesting article concerning conflicts within the organisation concerning Article 9 you and others might like to read (and of course I would expect those who need more information to research this organisation further as it is a good example of the nuances of the Japanese “anti nuke” and “Peace” communities)

      “….I have conducted extensive first-hand research focused on direct observations of election activities and, over the years, have attended hundreds of meetings and smaller gatherings of Soka Gakkai members who support Komeito, talking to them about the reasons for their support and the issues on which they agree and disagree. These meetings, mainly in Tokyo but also extensively in Okinawa, reveal that Komeito supporters are not unanimous in their views. However, those that canvass actively for the party are broadly in agreement with its liberal and people-oriented political philosophy and believe that the party ‘provides a more nuanced approach to Japanese politics where a left-right ideology tends to prevail,’ as expressed by an active campaigner in his early thirties from central Tokyo. Many have personal contact with local politicians, which creates a sense of ‘closeness’ to politics: ‘We can always contact our local MP about anything, which is a surprise to many of my friends who see politics as something that happens far away from their personal lives,’ says a women from Okinawa, who had brought her friend to her local MP to raise the issue of the lack of help for autistic children. The fact that supporters tend to find their local Komeito representatives approachable and helpful creates a level of trust and openness in their discussion of policies, especially when this occurs in smaller meetings.

      However, as the public debate about the security legislation became increasingly politicised, even active supporters could be found questioning what exactly the party was doing with regard to the issue of constitutional revision. ‘I worry about any talks about changing Article 9 and want to be clear about the role that Komeito plays in ensuring Article 9 is kept intact… I had to get it clear in my mind that the war-label used by the JCP was not true before I could explain it to my friends with any confidence,’ explained one young woman, while also telling me how difficult it was to understand the various arguments about constitutionality.

      Some people in their fifties and from the older generation, who had supported the party’s stance on PKO activities in the past, also began to feel that the current legislation was going too far. ‘Komeito’s position has changed in allowing for collective self-defence which is not acceptable under Article 9,’ said a man around the age of fifty, who had been a Komeito supporter but now sometimes joined the anti-security legislation demonstrations in front of the Diet. When I asked if he disagreed with the SDF being allowed to come to the aid of US forces engaged in the defence of Japan, he replied: ‘I suppose it makes sense theoretically. Why should it be okay for US soldiers to risk their lives defending Japan but not Japanese soldiers so that they can remain pacifist? I see the contradiction, but I am still apprehensive about any change to Article 9. Rather than working with the Abe administration, I would like to see Komeito join the opposition again.’71…..”
      http://apjjf.org/2016/21/Fisker-Nielsen.html

      Comment by arclight2011part2 | February 7, 2017 | Reply

      • I am a member of SGI. Many members of SGI want komeito to not support the LDP. Especially in its aim to change article 9 of the constitution. We also want Ikeda to come out firmly against komeito support of the LDP and break off the political alliance. Sean this is propaganda. It is blatant political propaganda and hippocracy. The komeito is operated and funded by SGI. There are no its and buts about it. For komeito to support Abe and the LDP is contradictory and defies SGI doctrine.

        Comment by Dan Trowbridge | February 7, 2017

      • The discussion within these groups, hopefully, will sway the present position. I myself used to be swayed by the Buddhist ideology but after the terrible things happening to the Muslim minority in Myanmar I have backed off joining any Buddhist groups although I still can take from the ideals I agree with. I am shocked that they larger Buddhist communities do not put more pressure on the Myanmar Authorities to stop the genocide happening there.

        Back to the single issue focus. If we exclude whole groups because of the policies that they follow and ignore the statements that are positive then we see a fractured n the UK and Ireland CND, for example, are anti nuclear weapon but have pro nuclear energy backers that will not allow discussion on anti nuclear power issues within the organisations.The UK CND have become fractured as an anti nuclear group but will engage is some discussion (though it can get heated) and when I moved to Ireland I tried to join the Irish CND but they told me that their mebers were mostly pro nuclear (in a country that is anti nuclear because of the constitution ) and they did not want me to join and in fact would not respond to emails or phone calls.. That is the sort of situation that I am most against. I was prepared to accept the UK`s position and they were prepared to accept mine but the Irish CND`s response was a complete surprise and obviously explains why they are such a small organisation. Tolerance and discussion within groups is important.
        It does sound like the SGI have some credible people within it who wish to stand by honourable peace orientated policies and I hope that you and others can make the changes at the leadership level to ensure a more sensible and less corporately biased policy.. I have to admit that the Article 9 issue has split the anti nuclear power community down the middle in Japan and it is likely that that is working in favour of the Government. Splitting nationalists away from the left leaning group seemed to happen in the new “war against China” a couple of years after the disaster at Fukushima and I wonder if it wasnt planned to do just that? Politicians and their PR Dentsu based helpers are a slippery lot imo.. Namaste

        Comment by arclight2011part2 | February 7, 2017

      • Sean SGI was there at the great Kobe earthquake. SGI did thing to help the victims of Kobe the government would not. I am working to get SGI involved in the cause of Fukushima evacuees not to be returned back to Fukushima. I feel that Komeito must break its support of the LDP and its genocidal policies.

        Comment by Dan Trowbridge | February 7, 2017

  2. SGI is becoming about money and power. Many Tepco Chiefs are SGI. SGI also has a prominent stake in Mitsubishi. Mitsubishi is very much into military and Nuclear contracting.

    Comment by Dan Trowbridge | February 7, 2017 | Reply

  3. There is contention in SGI. I am firmly antinuclear power and antinuclear weapon. I find it hard to discuss fukushima at SGI meetings. I find it hard to discuss the Komeitos support of the LDP and changing article 9. I am aghast at Abe wanting to send Fukushima evacuees back to Fukushima. There at TEPCO executives, that are SGI. SGI has a stake in Mitsubishi. Mitsubishi is a military and nuclear contractor. I feel that President Ikeda and SGI needs to distance itself from the LDP and the nuclear village. It is very unethical not too.

    Comment by Dan Trowbridge | February 7, 2017 | Reply

    • I suspect the reason the CND in Ireland and the UK are not anti nuclear power is because some of their donations help buy such division. I suspect that the same might apply to Japanese groups also. However it is good to see that the fight goes on and the discussion will continue under your (and others) watch. The same cant be said for irish CND though 😦 ..
      As you know we share radiation readings from areas around the Fukushima Prefecture that dispute the government claims that everything is going back to normal and i could nearly be posting these daily..
      I do hashtag in UNSCEAR and SAFECAST on twitter and have had enough response to know they are aware of the situation.. Time will tell how this will all play out. My main reason for blogging this information around was because of the people fo Fukushima and the way they have and are being treated. I commend your attempts at stopping relocating people against their wishes to the contaminated areas and lets hope the united pressure will achieve a positve outcome.. Keep up the great work and thanks for highlighting the issues concerning SGI, it made the posting of this article much more worthwhile.. Namaste Shaun

      Comment by arclight2011part2 | February 7, 2017 | Reply


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