Daisaku Ikeda

Profile of Daisaku Ikeda

Daisaku Ikeda is a Buddhist philosopher, an educator and a prolific writer and poet. As president of the Soka Gakkai International (SGI) lay Buddhist movement, he has devoted himself to wide-ranging efforts for peace and individual empowerment, and has founded cultural, educational and peace research institutions around the world.

Born in Tokyo in 1928, Ikeda experienced firsthand the tragic reality of war and militarism. In the chaos of postwar Japan, he came to embrace Buddhism through an encounter with the educator and pacifist Josei Toda, head of the Soka Gakkai Buddhist association, who had been imprisoned for his beliefs during World War II.

These experiences shaped Ikeda’s commitment to peace. Over the years, in search of viable responses to global problems, Ikeda has engaged in dialogue with many of the world’s leading thinkers and leaders, inspired the SGI’s support of United Nations activities and written extensively on a range of issues related to peace and the human condition.

Central to Ikeda’s thinking is the idea that a self-directed transformation within the life of each individual, rather than societal or structural reform alone, holds the key to lasting peace and human happiness. This is expressed most succinctly in a passage from his best-known work, The Human Revolution: “A great human revolution in just a single individual will help achieve a change in the destiny of a nation and, further, will enable a change in the destiny of all humankind.”

Ikeda’s books, offering perspectives grounded in Buddhist humanism on ways of overcoming the challenges facing individuals in their daily lives and humanity as a whole, have been translated into and published in more than 40 languages.