Ikeda on Dialogue

A selection of quotes that inspired the
October 19, 2018, Dialogue Nights

“If more people were to pursue dialogue in an equally unrelenting manner, the inevitable conflicts of human life would surely find easier resolution. Prejudice would yield to empathy, and war would give way to peace. Genuine dialogue results in the transformation of opposing viewpoints, changing them from wedges that drive people apart into bridges that link them together.” 

– From “Mahayana Buddhism and 21st Century Civilization,” Harvard-Yenching Institute lecture, September 1993


“For what is common to the ills that afflict us is the rejection of dialogue, and 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.”

“In the course of conducting [dialogical] exchanges I have gained a strong confidence in the rich reserves of goodness that are equally the possession of all people, regardless of the civilization into which they are born.”

– From the Founder’s Message to the First Annual Ikeda Forum for Intercultural Dialogue, October 1, 2004


“Dialogue is not limited to the exchange of pleasantries, but includes the sharing of sharply differing perspectives. Courage and endurance are essential if we are to continue the painstaking work of loosening the knots of attachment that bind people to a particular point of view. The impact of this kind of humanistic diplomacy can move history in a new direction. In a world of richly diverse cultures, we cannot afford a regression to shuttered isolationism. It is crucial to revive the spirit of dialogue and to unleash a creative search for peaceful coexistence. To have faith in the promise of dialogue is to believe in the promise of humanity.”

– From “Moving Beyond the Use of Military Force,” editorial in the Japan Times, January 2007


“Dialogue is not some simplistic assertion of one’s own position, nor is it necessarily about persuading others to one’s point of view. Dialogue is about demonstrating respect for another’s life, and being determined to learn when confronted with differences in personality and perspective.”

– From the website: Words of Wisdom: Buddhist Inspiration for Daily Living


“In order to achieve mutually enriching, deeply connecting dialogue, we need to overcome the divisions within our own hearts that make us unconsciously categorize people and rank their value on that basis. We need to be aware of the danger of categorizing people into such simplistic binaries as good and bad, us and them, and friend and foe. Such an approach is one of the deep drivers of conflict.”

– From Daisaku Ikeda’s Foreword to Peacebuilding Through Dialogue: Education, Human Transformation, and Conflict Resolution (George Mason University Press, 2018)


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