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Dawn After Dark: A Dialogue
with René Huyghe

Dawn After Dark
Pub. Year

2007 (latest publication)


I.B. Tauris
(*Acquired by Bloomsbury Publishing in 2018)



  Dawn After Dark (Published by Weatherhill, 1991)

According to René Huyghe, throughout human history, any given society of human beings has functioned with little interest in what lay beyond its reach other than its needs for survival. Dismissive of customs and beliefs encountered outside its own, often one society attempted to force its values on another. Only in relatively recent times, in an increasingly global society, have we begun to recognize the critical density of the problems that have shadowed us throughout history.

“The best way to obtain an overall view,” Huyghe writes, “is, surely, to bring together and compare ways of thought from opposite sides of the world.”

This is the focus of Dawn After Dark, a dialogue between Huyghe, the French art critic and member of the Academie Francaise who died in 1997, and Buddhist thinker Daisaku Ikeda, founder of cultural, peace research and educational institutions, and spiritual leader of the Soka Gakkai International, one of the world’s largest, most diverse and engaged lay Buddhist movements today.

Huyghe and Ikeda bring together and compare traditions, cultures and religions of the East and the West, to parse the interwoven layers of the crisis we face and find common cause in their resolution.

The approach Ikeda takes carries on from his seminal dialogue with British historian Arnold J. Toynbee (Choose Life, Oxford University Press, 1989); that is, to contribute a Buddhist perspective in the global dialogue to find a way forward for humanity, past its shadows.

The Huyghe-Ikeda dialogue converges on the “social tasks” of both the religious and artistic dimensions of spirituality as well as education in dealing with the “egoism of the modern world”—its proclitivity to sacrifice the interests of others and future generations for its own needs. These tasks, the co-authors agree, are directly linked to the kind of individual empowerment or self-transformation that embraces a practicable vision of coexistence.

While the original edition of Dawn After Dark was discontinued, U.K. publisher I.B. Tauris re-issued the work in late-2007 as part of a 12-volume series-to be released over a three-year period-of some 50 dialogues that Ikeda has published with international leaders and scholars on subjects ranging from religion, politics, economics, science and the arts.

Dawn After Dark is also available in Japanese, French, Spanish, Portuguese, Thai and Chinese (simplified version).


Introduction, by René Huyghe
Introduction, by Daisaku Ikeda

Part One: The Contemporary Crisis
  1. The Material Crisis
  2. The Psychological Crisis
  3. The Moral Crisis
  4. The Crisis Manifest in Art

Part Two: Historical Significance
  1. Human Evolution: Three Ages
  2. The Industrial Age and Its Failings
  3. Society
  4. Japan, France, and the New Civilization

Part Three: Society Facing the Crisis
  1. Social Tasks—Formative Action
  2. Social Forms
  3. A New Kind of Society

Part Four: Rediscovering Humanity
  1. The Key to Harmony
  2. Re-forming the Inner Life

Part Five: Artistic Creativity
  1. The Spiritual Value of Art
  2. Art in the Orient and in the Occident

Part Six: The Religious Surge
  1. Transcendency
  2. Religion in History
  3. Humanity Facing the Unknown

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