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Herbie Hancock, Pope Francis Send Condolence Messages

SGI President Ikeda writes words to Herbie Hancock (left), Tokyo, July 1974. Courtesy of Seikyo Press. This photo was published in the Sept. 18, 2010, Seikyo Shimbun, as the 2nd installment of "Soul Freedom"

In a TIME magazine article, Herbie Hancock, renowned jazz musician and Buddhist practitioner of over five decades, remarked how his mentor in life, Ikeda Sensei, served as a beacon of hope, whose teachings and warm, humanistic way brought out the intrinsic value of every individual:

He asserted that each person carries a mission integral to the vast tapestry of life. This philosophy instilled in me the belief that each life is irreplaceable and affirms our collective identity as members of a singular human family. Every individual has a mission that only that person can fulfill. Each mission is a crucial piece of the puzzle of life and this is why we are alive. No one is replaceable.[1]

In 2017, Mr. Hancock and the late Wayne Shorter published a dialogue with Sensei, titled Reaching Beyond: Improvisations on Jazz, Buddhism, and a Joyful Life, in which the three explored the essence of jazz, great art and human spirituality.

Mr. Hancock closes the TIME article with this quote from Sensei from their published dialogue, “Peace spreads when a culture that has faith in the goodness of human beings, and seeks to elevate them, flourishes.”[2]


In related news, Pope Francis, head of the Catholic Church, conveyed his condolences through the Italian Buddhist Institute Soka Gakkai upon learning of the passing of Sensei.

In the message, carried in the Dec. 22, 2023, Seikyo Shimbun, Pope Francis recognized President Ikeda’s role as a spiritual leader and mentor to many and extended his deepest sympathies to his family and the broader Buddhist community.

Additionally, Pope Francis commended him for his enduring commitment to peace and his efforts to foster interfaith dialogue throughout his life. The Pope concluded by stating that he is keeping in his prayers President Ikeda and those committed to advancing his vision of unity among all people.

January 12, 2024, World Tribune, p. 4 


  1. <accessed on Jan. 4, 2024>. ↩︎
  2. Reaching Beyond, p. 103. ↩︎

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