Celebrating SGI President Ikeda's 90th Year: BIRTHDAY FELICITATIONS!

The following friends of SGI President Ikeda sent messages to mark his 90th birthday on January 2, 2018.

Jazz Musician

Happy 90th Birthday, Sensei!

Photo: Seikyo Press.

My wife, Gigi, daughter, Jessica, and I are filled with joy to see both you and Mrs. Ikeda welcome your milestone birthday of 90 years in such wonderful health! American kosen-rufu is truly prospering with our youthful Bodhisattvas of the Earth taking the initiative, united with your unerring leadership for the happiness of all humankind.
Deeply moved by second Soka Gakkai President Josei Toda’s words, “Never forget what others have done for you and always do your best to repay your debts of gratitude,” I want to encourage and support our young SGI-USA leaders toward victory in all of their goals in exactly the way you have always inspired and motivated me.

We are praying that you and Mrs. Ikeda continue to enjoy great good health, while our thriving SGI-USA family joyfully unites with our capable youth as they forge a new era of hope and respect throughout America with our historic 2018 gathering of 50,000 Lions of Justice!

Sincere congratulations,
Herbie Hancock

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Jazz Musician

Dear Sensei,

My wife, Carolina, and I wish to join with other SGI members in celebrating your birthday of 90 years. Our appreciation and gratitude for the priceless teachings and guidance you afford us is beyond anything we can say.

Nevertheless, we shall try by thanking you for the inspirational messages you have radiated through your profound wisdom and “never-give-up” spirit. You have and still support our Buddhist practice with unwavering tenacity. Carolina and I will keep our vow to go forward with this magnificent philosophy no matter what transpires in life. And thank you for creating the Soka Gakkai International. You are still a beacon of light that points the way!

Wayne Shorter

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Professor of Religion and Dean of the Martin Luther King Jr. International Chapel,
Morehouse College

Happy Appearance Day, Dr. Ikeda!

Photo: Seikyo Press.

How deeply fortunate we are to celebrate this beautiful milestone of your 90th appearance day anniversary, together with both you and Mrs. Ikeda enjoying such productive, healthy and impactful lives! I feel truly blessed to know you, to be knowledgeable of your life work and to witness the life-affirming triumphs of the marvelous SGI family throughout our USA and around the world. It remains my conviction that your magnificent leadership has accomplished the truly important task of both institutionalizing as well as eternalizing everything for which Mahatma Gandhi and Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. stood. I am profoundly honored to continue cultivating my spiritual, intellectual, cosmic citizenship and friendship through my precious living bond with you as my guide. Please accept Marva’s and my warmest felicitations on this momentous occasion.

Dr. Lawrence E. Carter Sr.

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Former President of the Ralph Waldo Emerson Society
and Professor at Colgate University

Photo: Seikyo Press.

President Ikeda, as you begin your tenth decade, I turn to poet-philosopher Ralph Waldo Emerson: “A man must know himself for a necessary actor . . . Did he not come into being because something must be done which he and no other is and does.” You embody Emerson’s words and call others, myself included, to the same. Each of us is a “necessary actor.” Yes, of course, our language changes. Other necessary actors have made certain that his “man” becomes our “human being”; that students comprise human beings of all identities, not solely the white men then allowed access to university study. Over the past 12 years of my friendship with you and Mrs. Ikeda, I recall the many times your peace proposals, your poetry, your dialogues, your private and public words of encouragement strengthened your listening readers during the most difficult and demanding times. Time and again you call us into a larger way of seeing, of hearing and of doing through what you have aptly called “the poetic heart.” This poetic heart resounds in all human beings and throughout all existence, calling us to our true life’s work of living in life-affirming relation with each other. As we celebrate your 90th birthday, I call each of us to undertake in your honor, 90 actions from the poetic heart. May we not stop there but continue always planting and cultivating the myriad yet precious seeds of peace.

Sarah Ann Wider

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Director of the Center for Dewey Studies at
Southern Illinois University, Carbondale

Photo: Seikyo Press.

Dr. Ikeda,

I send my heartfelt best wishes on the occasion of your 90th birthday. You will doubtless receive messages of congratulation from the many people whose lives you have touched over those many years. For my part, however, I want to thank you for your tireless efforts in the field of education. I have seen the fruits of your work at Soka K-12 schools and the two universities on which you have lavished so much loving care. I regularly speak with students at Soka University of America who are inspired by the sacrifices you have made for them. I look forward  to your continuing presence in these institutions, whose excellence is a tribute to your foresight and commitment.

With respect, admiration and affection,

Larry A. Hickman

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Former Under-Secretary-General and High Representative of the United Nations,
Founder of the Global Movement for the Culture of Peace

Photo: Seikyo Press.

The second day of January is not a simple date on the annual calendar—it is the day which gifted humanity with an extraordinary person like Daisaku Ikeda. His life, his teachings and endless empathy for all are a blessing for humanity. In fact, he should be in our thoughts every day, and we should internalize his message and reflect him in our lives so that we can all live for the greater good of all.

My life partner, Mariam, and I have immense pleasure and deep honor in sending to President Ikeda our joyous felicitations on the occasion of his very auspicious and uniquely significant 90th birth anniversary on 2 January 2018.

My meetings with him over the years have strengthened again and again my conviction that our world is in need of the dedication and guidance of a personality like him to spread the message of peace, development and human rights so that our planet becomes a better place to live for all. We are enormously inspired by his assertion that the culture of peace should be the foundation of the new global civilization and by his eloquent emphasis on the empowerment of people as a major element in creating the culture of peace with the emergence of women in leading the way for that.

Mariam and I would like also to express our immense gratefulness for the friendship and graciousness that President and Mrs. Ikeda have shown us. We have always been honored to receive their ever-flowing love, affection and warmth. We wish him good health and energy so that the people of the world continue to benefit from his wisdom and leadership for many more years to come.

Anwarul K. Chowdhury

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Professor of Philosophy of Education at Virginia Tech

Congratulations on this, the occasion of the 90th year of a profoundly rich and meaningful life that has already brought so much happiness to so many through your ongoing example of what it is to truly live out the human revolution as a never-ending process of continual self-improvement now deep into “the third stage of life,” thereby bringing even greater benefit to all you have inspired.

Jim Garrison

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Professor of Law, University of Denver

Most esteemed President Ikeda,

Photo: Seikyo Press.

It is such a privilege to honor you on your very special birthday. Having inspired countless individuals to lead a life imbued with a deep sense of social responsibility and global citizenship, and having founded a host of prestigious institutions dedicated to world peace, education and culture, you indeed are a blessing to humanity. With your steadfast efforts to galvanize a worldwide movement for abolition of nuclear weapons; your distinguished dialogues with the world’s Who’s Who in politics, culture, literature activism, education and religion; and your clarion call for a world based on mutual respect and the creation of the culture of peace, you have left an indelible imprint as your lasting legacy.

With your profound philosophical writings, and as an ardent reformer, a revered educator and a highly admired leader, you have touched and transformed millions of lives. My family and I feel enriched to know you as a mentor and friend. And I feel humbled and uplifted to have had the opportunity to learn from you as we exchanged ideas in our published dialogue, Our World To Make.

Katharine, Anjali and I pray for your long, healthy and joyful life ahead, and send our warmest regards and greetings to Mrs. Ikeda and the Ikeda family on this happy occasion.

Ved Nanda


(pp. 14-17)