By Steven Rockefeller
Mr. Ikeda's 1993 Harvard-Yenching Institute address* is an important contribution to the dialogue between Mahayana Buddhism and Western philosophy and religion. I especially appreciate Mr. Ikeda's strong commitment as a Buddhist philosopher and leader to the search for universal ethical and spiritual values and to the urgent task of building a just and peaceful global community. The emphasis in his address and in his life's work on education, spiritual awakening, nonviolence, and deep cross-cultural dialogue are more important today than ever. I would like to express my gratitude for Mr. Ikeda's farsighted vision in creating the Boston Research Center (now the Ikeda Center) twenty years ago.
The leaders of the Center have very effectively embodied the spirit of Mr. Ikeda's teachings, and it has been a deeply rewarding experience to participate in conferences and dialogues organized by the Center. In particular, I want to thank the Center for the invaluable support it provided the international Earth Charter consultation and drafting process with which I was closely involved. The Earth Charter, which is a declaration of global interdependence and universal responsibility, was launched in 2000 and has been translated into over 40 languages and endorsed by over 5,000 organizations, including UNESCO and IUCN's World Conservation Congress.
With Warm Best Wishes,
* The lecture is called Mahayana Buddhism and 21st Century Civilization, and is considered our founding lecture.
Dr. Steven Rockefeller is Professor Emeritus, Department of Religion, Middlebury College and author of John Dewey: Religious Faith and Democratic Humanism (1991). During the 1990s he coordinated the drafting of the Earth Charter.