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Global Perspective

Choose Hope

Your Role in Waging Peace in the Nuclear Age David Krieger and Daisaku Ikeda

Illustration by RickyHadi / Fiverr

Ikeda Sensei has had dialogues with leading figures throughout the world to advance peace. More than 80 of his dialogues have been published as books. This series highlights these dialogues. The following are excerpts from Choose Hope (pp. 41–44).

‘Endless Striving Is the Only Way to Realize Peace’

Daisaku Ikeda: Peace movements cannot achieve their aims overnight—they take plenty of time and effort. But fundamentally they require the autonomous action of each participant. Consequently, more than anything else, staying power determines the success or failure of a peace movement.

David Krieger: Yes, individual perseverance is essential to accomplishing any important goal. All authentic peace movements are committed to long-term efforts. After all, peace is a process that must continually be renewed. Opposing the forces of violence embedded in current national systems and in relations between nations requires courage and long-term commitment.

Ikeda: To bear fruit, a peace movement absolutely requires clear vision and leaders of unshakable conviction and passion. I have been convinced of this from conversations with the leaders of numerous peace movements including the Pugwash Conferences and International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War. I consider it important for leaders to be imbued with the willingness to lay down their lives for their ideals. As history teaches, movements whose leaders lose their resolve stagnate and ultimately decline. In contrast, though it may take time, movements ultimately attain their goals as long as their leaders’ minds are aflame with their convictions.

Krieger: Many social forces, though, may try to wear down and discredit such leaders. Great peace leaders have paid the ultimate price for their commitment to creating more just and peaceful societies. [Mahatma] Gandhi and [Martin Luther] King were assassinated. So were Egyptian President Anwar Sadat and Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin for trying to lead the way to peace in the Middle East.

Ikeda: Gandhi’s nonviolence movement stands as one of the most brilliant achievements of the 20th century. He said that what one person can do, everyone can do. His actions brought courage and hope to ordinary people. …

Krieger: I believe that for individuals to advance the cause of peace demands great conviction and perseverance. Peace cannot be won easily. Nor does one victory guarantee that it will last. Peace is won on an almost daily basis. In the end, it is not simply a matter of reaching an accord to refrain from violence. Peace is something that ultimately resides in the human heart, guiding individual behavior and providing support for just and peaceful public policy—particularly foreign policy.

Ikeda: I fully understand what you mean. More than 200 years ago, Kant wrote that, ultimately, eternal peace means limitless, continual advancement toward the goal. Endless striving is the only way to realize peace. Negligence resulting from over-confidence and satisfaction invites peril. Peace, once achieved, does not last forever by itself. It requires vigilance throughout all the activities of daily life.

Krieger: Since I view peace in the same broad way, I see it as a lifetime commitment and a way of life. It is the work I consciously choose and try to succeed at each day. This is my kind of leadership. I try to stimulate others to join in working for peace. But, since talents and abilities differ, I encourage each person to find his or her own way to contribute to the building of a peaceful world. I am convinced that we all share the responsibility for this task—a responsibility to ourselves, to our families and communities, to future generations and to the earth.

Ikeda: That is an important point. No one person can achieve the goal alone. To effect reform requires us to pool our minds and strengths. Each flower has its own kind of beauty. And Buddhism teaches that society is enriched when each person brings his or her individuality to full blossom.

From another viewpoint, it is highly important to cultivate in each person what Gandhi called the fearless mind. As long as a person is determined to contribute to peace and to tolerate no injustice, there is no point in worrying about the manner in which he or she participates in the work. Indeed, solidarity is broader and more flexible and movements more enduring when optimum use is made of each participant’s individuality.

David Krieger

(March 27, 1942–)

Notable Achievements
Founder of the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation.
Served as the chair of the Executive Committee of the International Network of Engineers and Scientists for Global Responsibility.
Recipient of a number of awards, including the Citizens for Peaceful Resolutions’ Earth Charter Award for Democracy, Nonviolence and Peace.
Authored books such as The Challenge of Abolishing Nuclear Weapons and The Path to Zero: Dialogues on Nuclear Dangers.

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