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Daisaku Ikeda: The Mentor

Professor Nadezda Shaydenko
Rector, Tula State L. N. Tolstoy Pedagogical University (TSPU)

I have visited Japan a number of times before, but my trip in April 2008 had a specific purpose: namely, to meet and present an honorary professorship from our Tula State Pedagogical University upon this individual admired by the world, SGI President Daisaku Ikeda.

I wanted to see for myself how this man created, with the tip of his pen, a profound philosophy that could move the hearts of millions of people and influence the destiny of not just a single state but the entire globe. A person who had the power to change the world with his philosophy, President Ikeda must be great in physical stature and vocal volume and possess fiery eyes… Sometimes I would imagine him this way.

And finally the opportunity came when I would meet Mr. Ikeda at Soka University on a day filled with spring sunlight. At the same time, I would also get to meet the students, staff and faculty of Soka University, the parents who sent their children there to learn under the tutelage of the mentor and philosopher that was President Ikeda and the Soka Gakkai members who were blessed with the privilege of constantly sharing his activism.

The faces of the participants in the auditorium were beaming with joy and inspiration.

My heart was also racing with excitement. I was about to hear the words of the mentor at last.

When President Ikeda finally began to speak, his words were neither mystic nor that a giant with a piercing gaze. He spoke like a person who has gone through a great deal in life and sees right through you.

This man understands me--I had a strange feeling as if I could understand him without the help of an interpreter.

As soon as President Ikeda began speaking, I could grasp what he wanted to say. To my amazement, what he said and how he said it were extremely unassuming. He talked about being good to your parents; the significance of learning; the importance of reading quality literature; the love of parents toward their children--all of which obviously made sense.

These are the things that everyone knows are virtuous. But when uttered by President Ikeda, they moved his listeners. I was deeply touched.

Young people and adults sat quietly, focusing on every word that he shared. I will never forget how this great mentor spoke of himself, his life and the purpose of every human being, in a manner that was totally open and frank.

Nadezda Shaydenko is Rector of Tula State L.N. Tolstoy Pedagogical University in Tula, Russia. She currently teaches vocational education and teaching methodology. She has written more than 300 books about pedagogy and has contributed to numerous textbooks and academic books.

[Taken from a message published in the November 18, 2008, issue of the Seikyo Shimbun, Soka Gakkai, Japan]