on Youth, a dialogue between Daisaku Ikeda, Soka Gakkai International president,
and Soka Gakkai youth leaders, Ikeda responds to the myriad of anxieties and
harsh realities that universally confront young people and encapsulates the
dilemmas facing humanity today. He details practical ways for youth to overcome
issues relating to bullying, relationships and insecurity by drawing on and tapping
wellspring of infinite potential"--or Buddhahood--to
forge a robust self and to create both individual happiness and a future of
peace for all.
"Courage," says Ikeda "is the driving
force" of our lives.
Whether we have courage has a dramatic bearing on our accomplishments, the
direction of our lives and happiness. Young people, and indeed each of us, must
take action in our own lives and relationships. We must exhibit a "spirit
of challenge," set our sights on the future and make continuous and
vigorous efforts to work and study toward achieving clearly defined goals. Although
difficulties and the suffering they cause are inevitable, Ikeda believes they
can, with courage and perseverance, be turned into "energy for our happiness, into fuel
for advancement." Failure is giving up
on ourselves; success lies in using difficulties as a springboard for growth,
renewing determination and taking the next step. "One step," believes Ikeda, "can
lead to infinite growth."
It is precisely because we have
suffered and prevailed over our obstacles and our weaknesses that such an "ascending
life" broadens our field
of vision, deepens our compassion for others and our belief in their inherent
dignity, as well as the capacity for positive transformation. This change in
the orientation of our hearts is what Ikeda calls "human revolution"
and is the very change that will move the world towards peace.
In practice, human revolution on an
individual level means we are able to manifest genuine courage and compassion,
be a good friend to others and develop insight for recognizing who our true
friends are. Good friends initiate dialogue in order to overcome relationship
difficulties and wisely steer others in a positive direction, inspiring them
toward self-improvement. Ikeda states that, by "expanding our circle of friendship we
create the basis for a peaceful society." This is also true in
international relations. Moreover, someone who has emerged compassionate,
strong and undefeated from the midst of the challenges of their youth can be a
true leader, which Ikeda depicts as "a friend to those in suffering, pain and
misery." Such an individual
has the mettle to employ nonviolence and one-on-one dialogue to overcome "the
deadlocks society faces today" which are "the deadlocks of its
leaders." Young people possess
the seeds of peace for the twenty-first century and are therefore the "hope of
humanity"; their victory is humanity's
The discussions in this book occurred
in Japan over two separate sessions; the first, from 1996 to 1997, was
published as two volumes in English. The second session took place from 1997 to
1999. The latest work, the second edition of
Discussions on Youth, published by World Tribune Press based in Los
Angeles, USA, includes the second part of the discussions and features as
appendices an exchange of views with youth from the United States, and a
question-and-answer session Ikeda held with students from Japan's Kansai region,
both of which were not part of the original Discussions
on Youth series.
Preface by SGI President Ikeda
PART ONE: The Hopes of Youth
1. The Worries and Hopes of Youth
2. Youth: A Time of Challenge
3. Friendship and Perspectives on Life
PART TWO: The Heartbeat of Youth
4. What Is Love?
5. Finding Happiness in Your Work
6. What Is a Global Citizen?
7. Bringing Out Your Best
8. What Is Kindness?
9. The Essence of Human Rights
PART THREE: Youth and Self-Improvement
10. The Joy of Reading
11. Knowing History Is Knowing Yourself
12. Appreciating Art and Culture
13. Dialogue With Nature
14. Discovering Great Literature
PART FOUR: Youth and Faith
15. Why Do We Chant Every Day?
16. Why Do We Have an Organization?
17. Weaving the Fabric of Peace
PART FIVE: The Questions of Youth
18. What Is Freedom?
19. What Is Individuality?
20. What Is the Power of Prayer?
PART SIX: Youth and the Future
21. What Is a Good Friend?
22. It Takes Courage
23. Why Are the Good Despised?
24. Why Go to College?
PART SEVEN: The Energy of Youth
25. Life and Death Are One
Appendices: A. You Are the Hope of the World
B. Youth Are Struggling Between Problems and Hopes