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September 21, 2012

The Inner Philosopher--Dialogue with Lou Marinoff Released

Ikeda Center for Peace

CAMBRIDGE, USA: Dialogue Path Press, the publishing arm of the Ikeda Center for Peace, Learning, and Dialogue, based in Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA, recently released The Inner Philosopher: Conversations on Philosophy's Transformative Power, a dialogue between Daisaku Ikeda and Lou Marinoff, professor and chair of philosophy at The City College of New York.

On September 21, 2012, Dr. Marinoff, who is also founding president of the American Philosophical Practitioners Association and a bestselling author, spoke at the Ikeda Center to celebrate publication of the dialogue. In The Inner Philosopher, the two authors strive to revive philosophy as an accessible and relevant source of wisdom and courage, drawing on the insights of Aristotle, Confucius, Socrates, Lao Tsu and other sages over three millennia. Philosophy, the authors agree, should inspire hope in and empower the individual, effecting positive transformation in his or her life.

Dr. Marinoff opened his address, which drew an audience of some 150 people, by describing the dialogue's genesis and journey to completion. In 2003, the professor visited Tokyo to meet with Center founder Ikeda, a session that lasted for three hours but ultimately left the two agreeing that their exchange of ideas merited further discussion. Their ongoing dialogue resulted in the book, Tetsugaku runesansu no taiwa ("Dialogue on a Renaissance in Philosophy"), published in Japan in January 2011. The Inner Philosopher is the English-language edition, and includes numerous updates and additions.

Drawing comparisons and making connections between the great Western philosophers and the teachings of Mahayana Buddhism, Dr. Marinoff spoke on two of the dialogue's core themes: virtue and healing. As Epicurus (341 BC-270 BC) pointedly noted, "Vain is the word of the philosopher which does not heal any suffering of man." A true philosopher, explained Dr. Marinoff, serves as a midwife, assisting others to give birth to wisdom that is fundamental to all people. "Circumstances will impinge on us whether we like it or not," he said, but "the inner philosopher can form a view that is salutary."

Dr. Marinoff closed his presentation by introducing creative, humanistic responses to suffering demonstrated by Johan Sebastian Bach (1685-1750) and Ludwig van Beethoven (1770-1827). Bach, for example, wrote "Chaconne in D Minor" in the wake of the sudden and unexpected loss of his wife, Maria, who died while he was away from home for musical performances. The composition, which moves from passages of searing anguish to passages of serenity, optimism and joy, represents the transcendence of Bach's grief into something beautiful to be shared with others--a type of achievement, Dr. Marinoff concluded, to which we all may aspire.

Ikeda Center for Peace

Dr. Marinoff speaks at an event celebrating the launch of The Inner Philosopher at the Ikeda Center in Cambridge, Massachusetts, on September 21, 2012.

[Adapted from an October 2012 article by Mitch Bogen featured on the Ikeda Center for Peace, Learning, and Dialogue website]