Conviction One

Dialogue & Mutual Understanding Are Inseparable, and Needed Now More Than Ever

Dialogue is among the most powerful tools for nonviolent personal and social change. More than a technique, dialogue represents a stance or orientation, evidence of "a humble willingness to learn from others." Further, it represents a commitment to shared understanding at a time in history when large numbers of people—the powerful and the powerless alike—see the process of globalization as so inevitably fraught with violence and misunderstanding that the only reasonable option is to fight and win, be it in the physical world or in the world of ideas. In the aftermath of 9-11, when many looked to armed conflict for solutions, Daisaku Ikeda came to a different conclusion: "It is my firm conviction that efforts to create new systems to prevent and counter global terrorism will be genuinely effective only when the kind of dialogue that addresses and transforms the human spirit is conducted on a global scale."

SUPPORTING DAISAKU IKEDA QUOTES

Nichiren* was thoroughly committed to nonviolence, challenging the political authorities of his day solely through the spiritual power of language and words. He was completely unswayed by persecutions leveled at him by unjust and violent authorities. As he stated, “Regard meeting obstacles as true peace and comfort.” (2004)

I firmly believe that the more severe the challenges we face the more crucial it is that we persist in dialogue because dialogue has the power to break down the walls of mistrust, hatred, and division in the hearts of people everywhere. (2004)

It is my firm conviction that efforts to create new systems to prevent and counter global terrorism will be genuinely effective only when the kind of dialogue that addresses and transforms the human spirit is conducted on a global scale. (2004)

Yet that pervading sense of helplessness [following 9/11] was exactly why I renewed my own pledge, determining again to make dialogue my point of departure, believing in its power above all. (2009)

The key to such dialogue [the dialogue of spiritual openness] is devoting our very lives to listening and learning from those different from us. This humble willingness to learn is profoundly meaningful, invariably fostering deep, empathetic connections. Not only does this resonance enable us to understand others on a deeper level, it acts as a mighty impetus for our true self — our greater self — to flower within us. (2009)

 

* Nichiren is a thirteenth century Japanese Buddhist monk and intellectual who founded the school of Buddhism on which the Soka Gakkai International is based.

 

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