Tribute to Dr. Ikeda, a visionary, philosopher and peacebuilder

Earth Charter International (ECI) expresses our most sincere and deepest condolences to the family of Dr. Daisaku Ikeda and to the whole Soka Gakkai International (SGI) community.

Dr. Ikeda, founding president of SGI, was a visionary Buddhist philosopher and leader. He was a peacebuilder, educator, author and poet—overall, an outstanding and very sensitive human being. Dr. Ikeda was a firm believer of interfaith dialogue and collaboration across sectors and generations. He had a vision and tireless commitment to supporting and empowering young people. His service and life were an example and inspiration for all.

The speech he offered at Columbia University in 1996 “Thoughts on Education for Global Citizenship” is a masterpiece and we would like to recall some key points which he articulated:

I think I can state with confidence that the following are essential elements of global citizenship:

  • The wisdom to perceive the interconnectedness of all life.
  • The courage not to fear or deny difference but to respect and strive to understand people of different cultures and to grow from encounters with them.
  • The compassion to maintain an imaginative empathy that reaches beyond one’s immediate surroundings and extends to those suffering in distant places.

Dr. Ikeda was a special friend and supporter of the Earth Charter.  He contributed to the drafting process of the Earth Charter and was a strong advocate for the central idea we can find the Earth Charter Preamble that states, “We must realize that when basic needs have been met, human development is primarily about being more, not having more.” We are deeply grateful to him for consistently supporting ECI’s efforts for over 25 years.

Earth Charter International expresses our appreciation and gratitude to Dr. Ikeda for all his wonderful accomplishments and his tireless efforts and contributions towards building a more just, sustainable, and peaceful world. We admire him for his unique contribution to awakening the sense of beauty and awe in many of us through the photos he took of our colourful world, as well as for his curiosity to undertake dialogues with thought leaders from around the world and from various realms.

We pay tribute to his valuable work in promoting peace, international collaboration and understanding, as well as human values of solidarity and respect. Dr. Ikeda’s annual Peace Proposals offered significant recommendations that are much needed for the current times.

May his soul rest in peace. May the seeds he planted continue to grow. May the flowers he planted and cared for blossom, and may his light continue to shine.