Demonstrating their deep commitment to human happiness and personifying their message, Lokesh Chandra and Daisaku Ikeda search their vast knowledge of the genesis of Buddhism for a guiding spiritual philosophy for twenty-first century happiness.
In Ikeda’s words: “Dr. Chandra and I, focusing our attention upon the struggles of the great spiritual leaders in the history of Eastern philosophy, have sought for guidelines of the spirit that will lead from division to fusion, and from war to peace, and we continue our search.”
A renowned Indian Buddhist studies scholar, Chandra is now director of the International Academy of Indian Culture. Like Ikeda, Chandra is a prolific author, credited with over 400 works and text editions, including the Tibetan-Sanskrit Dictionary and Dictionary of Buddhist Iconography. The two first met in 1979. Buddhism: A Way of Values is the English translation of their dialogue previously published in Japanese (2002) and Chinese (2005).
Chandra and Ikeda explore the Bodhisattva way of the Lotus Sutra, expounded by the 13th-century Buddhist teacher Nichiren as the embodiment of the values of courage, wisdom and compassion.
They discuss how the modern Bodhisattva as global citizen exhibits the first value, courage, in embracing humanity’s rich diversity, in contrast with the uniformity of Western civilization’s seeming universality. Only when all are respected and treated equally with dignity can harmony amidst a diversity of individuals and cultures become possible.
We exist only in relation to each other and our environment; together we make up a single web of life. Awareness of this interrelatedness—or dependent origination—constitutes the second value, wisdom. A lack of such awareness has alienated individuals from each other and denigrated nature, an integral part of life’s equation. Chandra calls for “me” to become “all mankind, all life and the whole universe,” making possible dialogue on all levels.
The third value, compassion, is rooted in the realization that “one’s own happiness is not possible if others are not happy.” In supporting others to manifest their inherent capacity for good—their highest or “Buddha” nature—we manifest and develop our own.
The lofty way of life of the bodhisattva can only prevail if consciousness of life’s inherent value and dignity is aroused in a “human revolution” and reflected in what Ikeda depicts as the key value orientation of the 21st century; an “awareness and commitment to life itself.” Thus, courage, wisdom and compassion are values to be directed toward the happiness of others and applied in every human interaction. When this happens, Chandra and Ikeda assert, daily life and the enduring virtues of the bodhisattva way become one, and peaceful coexistence becomes a reality.
Preface by Lokesh Chandra
Preface by Daisaku Ikeda
The Genesis of Buddhism
Buddhism and Western Philosophy
Indian Philosophy over the Ages
The Glorious Age of Chinese Philosophy
Nichiren and the Bodhisattva Way for the 21st Century