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April 17, 2019

Italian Edition of Unger-Ikeda Dialogue Published

Italian edition of The Humanist Principle with Felix Unger

Italian edition of The Humanist Principle with Felix Unger

MILAN, Italy: An Italian edition of The Humanist Principle: On Compassion and Tolerance, a dialogue between Dr. Felix Unger, Austrian heart surgeon and president of the European Academy of Sciences and Arts in Vienna, and Daisaku Ikeda, was recently released by Edizioni Piemme publishers. This marks the second foreign language edition of the book following an English translation published in 2016.

The dialogue between Dr. Unger and Mr. Ikeda began in Tokyo in July 1997 and continued through subsequent meetings followed by a series of written correspondences. In their dialogue, the authors exchange insights on how to establish a society of coexistence in which globalization and scientific technology continue to advance. They discuss the role of religion and science and touch on topics such as interfaith dialogue, the spirit of tolerance, global environmental issues, health, medicine and ethics.

Discussing environmental education, the authors agree that it must rest on the dignity of life.

“Education must persist,” says Mr. Ikeda, “in underscoring the potential of each irreplaceable life and the dignity of all life.” Dr. Unger responds, “Education can be environmental in nature only if it teaches respect for life. When we concentrate on our own environment alone, we lose our point of reference with the transcendental. And without that we cannot conduct environmental education in the fullest sense.”

Dr. Felix Unger and his wife chat with SGI President Ikeda and his wife at the Tokyo Makiguchi Memorial Hall (Tokyo, July 1997)

Dr. Felix Unger (2nd from right) and his wife, Monika von Fioreschy (2nd from left), chat with SGI President Ikeda and his wife, Kaneko.

Mr. Ikeda concurs adding,

“An intellectual approach alone can lead to the arrogant idea that science is omniscient. A solely emotional approach can lead to disassociation from the realities of life. [Educator and first Soka Gakkai President] Makiguchi argued that the correct attitude toward nature combines the intellectual elements of rule and order with the emotional element of awe toward the religious or transcendental.”

The Humanist Principle is a dialogue imbued with great humanity and hope for the future of the world.

[Adapted from an article in the April 17, 2019, issue of the Seikyo Shimbun, Soka Gakkai, Japan]