Examining the “Invisible Arrow of Prejudice.”

Ikeda Center

Photo by Kevin Maher.

CAMBRIDGE, Mass., Jan. 19—At the first Dialogue Nights event of 2018, more than 40 Boston-area students and young professionals gathered at the Ikeda Center for Peace, Learning, and Dialogue to discuss ways to dislodge the “invisible arrow” of prejudice that SGI President Ikeda insists we all can find “embedded in our hearts” (see My Dear Friends in America, p. 340).

In his opening remarks, Ikeda Center Executive Advisor Jason Goulah cited President Ikeda’s conviction that “The conquest of our own prejudicial thinking, our own attachment to difference, is the necessary precondition for open dialogue,” which is “essential for the establishment of peace and universal respect for human rights” (p. 340).

During small group discussions, one participant pointed out that since the “invisible arrow” lies in our own hearts, it is our own humanity that is being pierced when we hold prejudices toward others.

Two participants were also invited to offer perspectives on the importance of “inwardly directed change” in peacebuilding. Speaking first was David Reker, a graduate student at University of Massachusetts Boston. He observed that the use of nuclear weapons, something now being threatened, only becomes possible when too many of us are willing to dehumanize those who would suffer as a result.

Speaking next was Sonali Yadav, an India-born woman working in the field of information science. She described how the 1947 Partition of India planted an invisible arrow of prejudice deep in the hearts of those whose families suffered from the Partition’s forced migration and separation of Hindus and Muslims. While so many, even her own family members, have given up on mending the rift between these populations, Ms. Yadav said she has not.

“As long as we believe in humanity, you are my friend,” she said. “It doesn’t really matter what part of the world you belong to. I am sure that the single-minded effort to create space for heartfelt communication is a microscopic seed planted for peace.”