(Daisaku Ikeda, 'For Today and Tomorrow', p.51)
About Soka Gakkai International (SGI)
Soka Gakkai International (SGI) is a Buddhist association with more than 12 million members in 190 countries and territories worldwide. For SGI members, Buddhism is a practical philosophy of individual empowerment and inner transformation that enables people to develop themselves and take responsibility for their lives. The roots of the SGI movement lie in the philosophy of Nichiren, a Buddhist monk who lived in 13th-century Japan. More about the SGI philosophy can be found here.
As lay believers and "engaged Buddhists," SGI members strive in their everyday lives to develop the ability to live with confidence, to create value in any circumstances and to contribute to the well-being of friends, family and community. The promotion of peace, culture and education is central to SGI's activities. For more specifics about SGI initiatives in peace promotion, humanitarian relief, environmental issues, human rights awareness and so on, please visit the SGI website. You will also find information on academic research done on the SGI there.
- Introductory brochure about the SGI.
- Introductory DVD about the SGI (additional plug-in may be required).
A Brief History
The roots of the SGI are found in the Soka Gakkai (Society for the Creation of Value) in Japan. The Soka Gakkai itself was conceived in 1930 as the Soka Kyoiku Gakkai (Value-Creating Education), a small society of educators. Its founders, Tsunesaburo Makiguchi (1871-1944) and his protege Josei Toda (1900-1958), were inspired by Nichiren Buddhism and dedicated to educational reform. Late in Toda's life, in postwar Japan, he expanded the organisation's range of vision from education to the betterment of society as a whole. He promoted the practice of Buddhism as an accessible means of rebuilding lives and overcoming obstacles to happiness.
After Toda passed away in 1958, Daisaku Ikeda became president of the Soka Gakkai in 1960 at the age of 32. Under his leadership, the organisation continued to grow and broaden its focus to embrace activities in the fields of peace, culture and education. At the same time, the membership outside Japan was growing. To serve the needs of the international membership and to expand its commitment to the welfare of the people on a global scale, the SGI was founded in 1975. Today, members of the SGI strive to contribute to their respective societies as responsible citizens cherishing the global vision of a peaceful world.
Daisaku Ikeda is a Buddhist philosopher, an educator and a prolific writer. As president of the 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 the reality of war and militarism firsthand. He embraced Buddhism in the midst of post-war Japan, through an encounter with Josei Toda, the then president of the Buddhist lay organisation Soka Gakkai, who himself was an educator and pacifist. These experiences shaped Ikeda's commitment to peace. And over the years, he has engaged in dialogue with many of the world's leading thinkers and leaders in search of viable responses to global problems.
Ikeda has written extensively on issues relating to peace and the human condition. His writings has been translated into over 30 languages. In recognition of his efforts to improve the life of people all over the world, academic honours in the forms of honorary doctorates and profesorships have been awarded to Ikeda over the years. On October 7, 2006, he received the 200th academic honor, an honorary professorship conferred upon him by Beijing Normal University.