University of Malaya, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
August 2, 2010--Honorary Doctorate of Humanities
Datuk Dr. Ghauth Jasmon, Vice-Chancellor
His Royal Highness, Duli Yang Maha Mulia Paduka Seri Sultan Perak Darul Ridzuan Sultan Azlan Shah, the Chancellor of the University of Malaya, I have the honour to present to you Daisaku Ikeda for admission to the degree of Honorary Doctor of Humanities.
In our present age, it is rare to find an individual who has made significant contributions in so many different important areas that affect the future of humanity. He is at the same time a prolific writer, a man of letters, a poet laureate, a photographer, a thinker, a philosopher, a scholar, an educator, a social activist and a passionate fighter for the cause of peace.
In short, he is such a man to whom Shakespeare’s great words may well be applied:
When wasteful war shall statues overturn,
And broils root out the work of masonry,
Nor mars his sword, nor war’s quick fire shall burn
The living record of your memory
Ginst death, and all oblivious enmity
Shall you pace forth; your praise shall still find room
Even in the eyes of all posterity . . .
Such a person is Dr. Daisaku Ikeda, President of Soka Gakkai International, an organization dedicated to the promotion of peace, culture and education.
Asked to describe his philosophy, Ikeda on one occasion stated that it was a dedication to the values of peace, culture and education, with a foundation of humanism . . . A recognized poet (he has been named Poet Laureate by the World Academy of Arts and Culture, and World Poet Laureate by the World Poetry Society), [Ikeda] has expressed his dedication to peace in the following verse:
A Life Dedicated to Peace
There is something vaster
than the wide open sky--
and that is, my life.
There is something deeper
than the fathomless sea--
and that is, your life.
Peace is not found
in some distant place.
It is the act
of caring for and treasuring
a single individual.
It is the determination
to protect mothers
from all sadness and grief.
Daisaku Ikeda was born in Tokyo, Japan, on January 2, 1928. As a teenager growing up in the midst of World War II, Daisaku Ikeda personally experienced the senseless horror, misery and cruelty of war . . . He has written that, "In war, it is ordinary citizens, and especially women--mothers--who bear the heaviest burden of sadness and suffering. We must eliminate this tragedy from the face of the Earth." With this conviction, he has worked tirelessly for peace, striving to build the "defences of peace" in the hearts of individuals.
At the same time, he has consistently stressed the importance of the United Nations as the "parliament of humanity" and has made repeated proposals regarding concrete means by which international peace can be secured . . .
Great people have great mentors. At the age of 19, Ikeda met Josei Toda, Second President of the Soka Gakkai. During the Second World War, Toda was imprisoned for two years for his strong refusal to support the Japanese military government. Ikeda was deeply moved by Toda’s unshakable conviction and noble character, and decided to accept Toda as his mentor in life. Toda had a broad and profound understanding of many fields of learning. He taught Ikeda a wide variety of subjects such as religion, philosophy, politics, economics, society, culture, education, and ancient and modern history through private lessons. In this way, he indeed mentored Ikeda as his successor in the struggle to achieve world peace and the happiness of humankind.
In the effort to promote world peace, Daisaku Ikeda believes that dialogue is the most powerful weapon to unite human beings, breaking through the barriers and boundaries that separate them. Based on this belief, he has travelled overseas . . . , carrying out over 7,000 dialogues with world leaders and scholars . . . At the same time, he continues to produce many publications such as dialogues with various different individuals, collections of lectures, anthologies of poems, novels, essays and other works of prose. In 1988, Ikeda visited the University of Malaya and donated books to the library.
Uniting the Hearts of People through Culture
Exchanges in culture and the arts have the capacity to bridge the gap of differences that separate human beings, and unite their hearts. Daisaku Ikeda deeply believes in establishing friendship and promoting mutual understanding and trust through cultural exchange. This will always be the greatest force for creating peace.
In his effort to promote cultural exchanges, Ikeda has established the Tokyo Fuji Art Museum and the Min-On Concert Association. Exchanges of culture have occurred with cultural groups around the world including Malaysia’s Kompleks Budaya Negara. This has strengthened further the friendship between Malaysia and Japan.
Making Education His Lifetime Work
Daisaku Ikeda is a renowned educator. He believes that the purpose of education is to nurture human beings, and considers this his most important work. "Education is the final and most crucially important undertaking of my life", he often says. The inner potential of human beings is limitless. To open up and develop this potential is the task of education . . .
Soka University now has academic exchange programmes with 121 universities in 44 countries and territories, including the University of Malaya, Universiti Putra Malaysia, the Open University Malaysia and Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia. To date, Soka University has received a total of 19 students from University of Malaya. A total of 52 students from Soka University have also studied in University of Malaya. Ikeda also established many academic research institutes . . .
Daisaku Ikeda continues to reveal his thoughts on education through his books and lectures. He has indeed made rich and significant contributions in the field of education.
Promoting a Movement for Human Revolution
Central to Ikeda’s thinking is the idea that a self-directed transformation within the life and heart of each individual, rather than structural reforms in society alone, is the key to lasting peace and human happiness. This is termed "human revolution". It is the crucial factor to change the twentieth century of war into a twenty-first century of peace, to restore order in our chaotic world and to rid humankind of misery . . .
Wise people from throughout the world have agreed with this point of view and are convinced that a change in human beings is required in order to change society and to ensure its prosperity. We deeply believe that this movement of the human revolution will open up a century of humanity and peace, giving us a fresh direction in the pursuit of a great future for humankind.