Dialogue Partners

“Peace, Justice and the Poetic Mind”

Ikeda Center

Ikeda Center, Cambridge, Mass. Photo by COURTESY OF THE IKEDA CENTER FOR PEACE, LEARNING AND DIALOGUE.


Photo: Seiko Press

Commemorating the 25th anniversary of its establishment on Sept. 24, the Ikeda Center for Peace, Learning, and Dialogue released Peace, Justice and the Poetic Mind under its publishing arm, Dialogue Path Press.

Photo by CRAIG GOLDING.

This latest title is a dialogue between Daisaku Ikeda, SGI president and Ikeda Center founder, and Stuart Rees, the founding director of Sydney’s Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies.

They exchange ideas on how to avoid the fate of peace and justice ending up as mere slogans. A number of commitments make this possible. There is the commitment, not to any ideology, but to protecting and nurturing the dignity of all people. There is the commitment to nonviolence as a “law for life.” There is the commitment to create the conditions for peace across every sector of society. And, finally, there is a commitment to embracing poetry and what Dr. Rees calls “the poetic mind” as the creative tools par excellence
for envisioning and realizing a future in which peace and justice are one.

The following is President Ikeda’s statement from the conclusion of his dialogue with Dr. Rees:

In society today, a sense of powerlessness—the feeling that nothing will change, no matter how much effort one makes—is undermining people’s hearts in significant ways. When faced with reality and its myriad difficulties, people are robbed of hope and become trapped inside their own small worlds. I cannot help but think that herein lies the root cause of suffering in the modern age. We must fight against such forces of negativity. Now is the time to create a united community of ordinary people of the world, a surging union with which to challenge our weaknesses and overwhelm them in resounding fashion, reaffirming our belief in our ability to prevail over every trial and adversity.

There is a verse from Australian poet Mary Gilmore that rings deeply in my heart: “Out of the dark / Still comes the light / And day is born / In the deepest night. / Take courage, then, / Be not forlorn; / For though night fall / Yet comes the morn.” In a world that seems to be inexorably sliding into the depths of chaos and uncertainty, this powerful poem inspires us with courage that transcends space and time.

 

I hope to continue cooperating with you, Dr. Rees, whom I hold in the highest esteem, so that we may advance together toward the sun of hope majestically dawning over humankind’s future horizons. I will make every effort to ensure that peace with justice will take root and flower in every corner of our planet. I am profoundly delighted and honored by this opportunity to take part in this meaningful, illuminating discussion with you and to share it with the world’s youth, upon whose shoulders rests our collective fate. Thank you very much indeed. (Peace, Justice and the Poetic Mind, pp. 181–82)

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