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December 19, 2006

Thoreau Society, Concord, Massachusetts, USA, Releases Life with Principle, Educational DVD

The Thoreau Society, based in Concord, Massachusetts, USA, dedicated to promoting the philosophy of Henry David Thoreau (1817-62), the American Renaissance philosopher, in collaboration with producer Melvyn Hopper, has released an interactive educational DVD Life with Principle: Thoreau in Our Time for use in high school and college classes. Teachers, educators and scholars from throughout the United States collaborated to produce more than 100 pages of related classroom instructional material. Six thematic chapters reflect the concepts found in Thoreau's writings: "Hearing That Different Drummer"; "Being Awake, Aware, and Alive"; "Examining Desperate and Deliberate Lives"; "Living in Society"; "Living in Nature"; and "Confronting the Mean and the Sublime." Accompanying the educational material is a film introducing Henry David Thoreau, his ideas, and his literary works.

In one of the DVD's additional features devoted to civil disobedience, also a title of Thoreau's major work, the struggles of first Soka Gakkai president and educator Tsunesaburo Makiguchi are introduced alongside those of Nelson Mandela and Wangari Maathai. Mr. Makiguchi's System of Value Creating Pedagogy, as well as his dedication to educational reform, founding of the Soka Gakkai, and uncompromising pacifism leading to military persecution and eventual death in prison during WW II are highlighted.

In another feature dedicated to world leaders in the DVD, individuals who have been inspired by the American philosopher's spirit around the world are introduced. Thoreau's impact is seen through the eyes of Leo Tolstoy, Mohandas Gandhi, Martin Luther King Jr., and SGI President Daisaku Ikeda.

Established in 1941, the Thoreau Society is the oldest and largest organization devoted to an American author and is dedicated to promoting Thoreau's life and works through education, outreach and advocacy.

[Adapted from an article in the December 19, 2006, issue of the Seikyo Shimbun, Soka Gakkai, Japan]