Ikeda on Dignity

Dignity of Life: The Heart of Human Rights and Peace Building

Quotations gathered as supporting materials for the 2014 Ikeda Forum

"If we picture a global society of peace and coexistence as an edifice, the ideals of human rights and human security are key pillars that hold it up, while the foundation on which these rest is respect for the dignity of life.  If this foundation remains no more than an abstract conceptualization, the entire structure will be unstable and could collapse in the event of a severe challenge or crisis.

To ensure that respect for life's dignity is a meaningful and robust support for other endeavors, individuals throughout the world must feel and experience it clearly and palpably as a way of life. To this end, I would like to propose the following three commitments as guidelines for action:

  • The determination to share the joys and sufferings of others
  • Faith in the limitless possibilities of life
  • The vow to defend and celebrate diversity”

 - From Compassion, Wisdom, and Courage: Building a Global Society of Peace and Creative Coexistence (2013 Peace Proposal)

“The inherent dignity of life does not manifest in isolation. Rather, it is through our active engagement with others that their unique and irreplaceable nature becomes evident. At the same time, the determination to protect that dignity against all incursions adorns and brings forth the luster of our own lives.”

- From Compassion, Wisdom, and Courage: Building a Global Society of Peace and Creative Coexistence (2013 Peace Proposal)

“The dignity of life is not something separate from the inevitable trials of human existence, and we must engage actively with others, sharing their suffering and exerting ourselves to the last measure of our strength, if we are to open a path toward authentic happiness for both ourselves and others.”

- From Compassion, Wisdom, and Courage: Building a Global Society of Peace and Creative Coexistence (2013 Peace Proposal)

“What matters is not how our lives have been to this point: the instant that we awaken to our original worth and determine to change present realities, we start to shine with the light of hope…. Such a perspective is, I believe, valuable not only for the challenges of constructing a culture of human rights, but also for realizing a sustainable society. We need to generate the kind of upward spiral by which we improve current conditions while working toward a better future.”

- From Compassion, Wisdom, and Courage: Building a Global Society of Peace and Creative Coexistence (2013 Peace Proposal)

“The key to waging a successful struggle for the ideals of humanism lies in dialogue, a challenge that is as old (and as new) as humanity itself. It is part of the essential nature of human beings to be dialogical; to abandon dialogue is in effect to abandon our humanity. Without dialogue, society is wrapped in the silence of the grave.”

- From Humanizing Religion, Creating Peace (2008 Peace Proposal)

“Human rights issues must not only be debated actively among governments; we must establish a shared global culture of human rights that is rooted in the realities of daily life and based on unfailing and uncompromising respect for human dignity.”

- From Humanizing Religion, Creating Peace (2008 Peace Proposal)

“Peace is not something to be left to others in distant places. It is something we create day to day in our efforts to cultivate care and consideration for others, forging bonds of friendship and trust in our respective communities through our own actions and example. As we enhance our respect for the sanctity of life and human dignity through our daily behavior and steady efforts toward dialogue, the foundations for a culture of peace will deepen and strengthen, allowing a new global civilization to blossom.”

- From Peace Through Dialogue: A Time to Talk (2000 Peace Proposal)

“It is time that we return to the question of humanity—the starting point of every endeavor—as we seek to formulate a set of clear, basic principles on which to build a culture of peace. I am fully confident that if people everywhere engage in sincere dialogue in order to identify a common basis for belief and action, and if all people join as equal partners in the endeavor to create a culture of peace, we will witness the dawn of humankind’s third millennium as an era in which happiness can be enjoyed by all.”

- From Humanity and the New Millennium: From Chaos to Cosmos (1998 Peace Proposal)

 

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