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University of Delhi, New Delhi, India
December 13, 1998--Honorary Doctorate of Letters

Dr. V. R. Mehta, Vice Chancellor

[Daisaku Ikeda] is an extraordinary and gifted person who has devoted his entire life to peace true to what he has himself called "a harmonious blending of cultures". As I stand here, I feel awe, respect and intense awareness of what a creative human being means . . .

We recognize Ikeda's untiring efforts in the field of education, international understanding, pacifism, and in promoting individual happiness. In a world of conflicting aims and beliefs, Ikeda, as the leader of Soka Gakkai International, has worked for over four decades to bring nations together based on peaceful dialogue, understanding and culture . . .

Strongly conscious of the problems besetting education today, Ikeda is firmly convinced that a value-based education can play a key role in shaping future generations. Ikeda has concretized this philosophy by founding progressive Soka Schools (from kindergarten to university) in Japan and abroad. He has also set up educational funds to develop mature, independent thinkers who possess moral and social responsibility and devote their lives to the welfare of society. The Soka or value-based education aims to develop the individual's full potential and provide him with conscious choices to contribute effectively to local and world communities. The emphasis on developing limitless human potential underscores the importance of continuous lifelong learning. This is Ikeda's fierce answer to alienation, environmental degradation, economic injustice, breakdown of community and social ties, and the emergence of fundamentalism.

As a philosopher, Ikeda has provided new hope for mankind through his "new humanism" based on the concept of a cosmological dharma of King Ashoka implying truth, virtue and justice . . . Ikeda places a deep respect for life as the prime requisite of his new humanism. He believes that humans should not, under any circumstances, kill other humans. In brief, Ikeda has been transforming society by empowering the individual and leading him to happiness. He has been living the central theme of his life that: a revolution in a single individual can change the destiny of an entire nation and even of mankind. Ikeda has made Soka Gakkai a great educational institution providing educational and philosophical opportunities to people of all ages and backgrounds across the globe through its discussion forums, seminars, exhibitions, cultural exchanges and academic institutions.

Ikeda . . . has been able to concretize the philosophy of King Ashoka's dharma and Mahatma Gandhi's ahimsa as a strategy of conflict resolution in the modern world. And like Gandhi, Dr. Ikeda has been successfully able to carry this message to masses of the world through his value-creating organisation, the Soka Gakkai. And by doing this he has been able to bring all those sections of people existing at the periphery of society into the mainstream of social life.

We in Delhi University take pride in the fact that Professor Ikeda is one of the recipients of our Degree of Doctor of Letters, Honoris Causa. But then one has to remind oneself of what Machiavelli said in another context: some men take their lustre from honours and institutions; others, greater still, add their lustre to them. In accepting our honorary degree, Professor Ikeda has added his lustre to this honour, like he has to all those countless others he has received. This is one of the rare instances where our recipient honours us more than we honour him.