Feature

The SGI Is Dedicated to Abolishing Nuclear Weapons!

Soka Philosophy of Peace: Combatting Anger

Source: International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War.


Those in the world of anger think of themselves as the most wonderful people. The energy of the world of anger is directed toward sustaining and enhancing this image. To ensure that others think of them in similarly glowing terms, they can never reveal their true feelings but act in a fawning obsequious manner. (The Wisdom of the Lotus Sutra, vol. 4, p. 120)

Buddhism teaches that life is the foremost of all treasures—that the value of each individual is inestimable. Nuclear weapons, whose very existence poses a threat to the survival of all life on our planet, are the product of the unchecked, extreme anger of individuals in positions of authority. Since second Soka Gakkai President Josei Toda’s “Declaration for the Abolition of Nuclear Weapons” on September 8, 1957, SGI President Ikeda, together with members around the world, have actively worked to create a world without nuclear weapons. President Ikeda has engaged in dialogue with key figures of the Cold War, such as former U.S. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, Soviet Premier Alexei Kosygin and others in an effort to ease tensions that could have led to nuclear war. In addition, SGI members have led petition drives, held conferences on the issue and spread awareness to people around the world through various exhibits, demonstrating the horror of nuclear weapons and the need for their immediate abolition. Let’s learn the philosophical basis of our antinuclear stance and the solution to this issue, which can be found in Nichiren Buddhism.


RISKS OF NUCLEAR WEAPONS[1]< http://laromkarnvapen.se/>, accessed on July 12, 2018

Results of a nuclear attack in summary:[2]<www.ippnw.org/resources-abolition-nuclear-weapons.html, accessed on July 12, 2018>.

Some 75 to 100 million would die within 30 minutes of an attack.

We would lose our economic infrastructure, the electric grid, the Internet, the food distribution system, the public health system and many other necessities.

Many more people would die after the initial attack due to starvation, radiation sickness and other epidemic diseases. In short, one small-scale war using nuclear weapons could destroy life on planet Earth.


 

The following are excerpts from SGI President Ikeda’s writings regarding the need for nuclear abolition.

Let Human Dignity Shine

On September 8, 1957, Josei Toda, the second president of the Soka Gakkai and the man I look to as my mentor in life, issued a declaration calling for the complete abolition of nuclear weapons. This was just months before his death; he poured his entire being into making this declaration.

This was at the height of the Cold War, and the competition to develop and deploy nuclear weapons was heating up. Yet Toda condemned—in powerful, even strident, language—the destructive human impulses that underlie these weapons. Rooted in the perspective of Buddhism, which seeks to shed light on the inner workings of life itself, Toda denounced anyone who would use these weapons to jeopardize people’s fundamental right to live as a “devil incarnate, a fiend, a monster” (see A Quest for Global Peace, p. 124). Toda had the insight to understand that the logic that justifies the possession of nuclear weapons grows from the most extreme form of human desire—the desire to dominate and bend others to our will, the readiness to annihilate them, destroying their lives and livelihoods, should they resist. Toda solemnly entrusted the mission of achieving the abolition of nuclear weapons to the 50,000 young people who had gathered in Yokohama, Japan, to hear him on that day.

Fifty years have passed since Toda issued this declaration. While humanity managed to avert the global cataclysm that was an immediate danger throughout the Cold War, efforts toward nuclear disarmament are now stalled, and the threat posed by the continued spread of nuclear weapons has become critical. Now is the time, in the midst of this deepening crisis, for ordinary citizens to raise our voices in a united call for nuclear abolition. (September 28, 2007, World Tribune, p. 2)

Humanity’s Greatest Problem

Today, the greatest of humanity’s many problems is the abolition of nuclear weapons. I have seized every available opportunity to present proposals for peace, particularly at the United Nations General Assembly on Disarmament.
The advent of the atomic bomb was a shock that alerted us to the fact that peace is a desperately urgent issue for all humanity. In our country (Japan), the examples of Hiroshima and Nagasaki demonstrated that nuclear weapons can bring about the extinction of the human species itself and that these weapons are truly apocalyptic. (Space and Eternal Life, p. 148)

Nuclear Weapons Express the Failure of Civilization

Nuclear weapons embody the failure of modern civilization itself. Their advent was a fateful event for human history. The fact that power structures underpinned by nuclear weapons are dominated by the elite few is the epitome of the defeat of humanity, the domination of human beings by their own creation. It would not be an overstatement to say that this signifies the death of human dignity. (A Forum for Peace, p. 377)

SGI President and Mrs. Ikeda meet with Dr. Joseph Rotblat in Okinawa, February 2000. Dr. Rotblat was one of the 11 scientists who signed the Russell-Einstein Manifesto in 1955. Photo by Seikyo Press.

 

A Stalwart Commitment to Creating a World Without Nuclear Weapons

Based on the Buddhist teaching of the dignity of life, we in the SGI are convinced of and have consistently affirmed innate human goodness. This is why we find it deeply meaningful to cultivate public opinion in favor of nuclear arms abolition. Nuclear “have” nations obstinately argue that aboli-tion would deprive them of stature. The voice of the people argues that the very possession of nuclear weapons degrades a nation’s status. We are resolved to help the voice of the people drown out the “have” nations’ obstinate insistence. (Choose Hope, p. 124)

Now Is the Time to Muster Courage!

Joseph Rotblat (1908–2005) of the Pugwash Conferences gained renown as the only scientist to leave the Manhattan Project on moral grounds despite having been involved in it from its earliest stages. Rotblat worked with the delegation from the Solomon Islands preparing evidence for a public sitting leading up to the 1996 advisory opinion on the legality of the threat or use of nuclear weapons by the International Court of Justice (ICJ). In his statement, he stressed: “The property of fall-out to extend the injurious action both in space and time, is a novel and unique characteristic of nuclear warfare. Not only the inhabitants of the combatant countries, but virtually the whole population of the world, and their descendants, would be victims of a nuclear war—therein lies the radical change which nuclear weapons introduce into the whole concept of warfare.”[3]International Court of Justice, “Public Sitting,”

Having studied the impact of radiation on the human body, and speaking on behalf of the people who have been exposed to radioactive fallout each time the nuclear-weapon states have conducted tests, he was particularly well placed to issue this warning to the whole of humankind.

The inability of decision-makers who are in full possession of the knowledge of the catastrophic consequences of nuclear war to rethink existing nuclear policy signals a bankruptcy of imagination, a failure of empathy toward those who would experience its realities. The time has come to muster the courage necessary to part ways with the doctrine of deterrence, this negative legacy of the Cold War, to consign it to the dustbin of history.[4]Nuclear Abolition Proposal 2009: “Building Global Solidarity Toward Nuclear Abolition,” <sgi.org/about-us/president-ikedas-proposals/nuclear-aboli-tion-proposal-2009.html>, accessed on July 12, 2018.

Building Trust Across Borders

I believe that in order to realize nuclear abolition, nations around the world, particularly those possessing such weapons, must establish a close relationship of trust. They need to reach out to one another and strive ceaselessly to foster that trust. As long as underlying mistrust and suspicion persist, it will be impossible to eradicate nuclear weapons. From that perspective, it is important for countries to continue engaging in exchange. It has been my consistent conviction that, in addition to political and economic exchange, exchange in the spheres of culture and education is also crucial. (The New Human Revolution, vol. 20, p. 231)

(p. 16-19)

Notes   [ + ]

1. < http://laromkarnvapen.se/>, accessed on July 12, 2018
2. <www.ippnw.org/resources-abolition-nuclear-weapons.html, accessed on July 12, 2018>.
3. International Court of Justice, “Public Sitting,”
4. Nuclear Abolition Proposal 2009: “Building Global Solidarity Toward Nuclear Abolition,” <sgi.org/about-us/president-ikedas-proposals/nuclear-aboli-tion-proposal-2009.html>, accessed on July 12, 2018.