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On Life and Death

by Mitch Bogen
Special to the tribune 

In his Harvard lecture of 1993, “Mahayana Buddhism and Twenty-first-Century Civilization,” Daisaku Ikeda urged us to realize that “death should be acknowledged, along with life, as a blessing to be appreciated.”[1]

Cynthia B. Dillard embraced this challenge with courage and deep feeling. Dr. Dillard, Dean of the College of Education at Seattle University, was the featured speaker of the Ikeda Center’s Nov. 17, 2023, Indigo Talk. More than 200 people from 15 countries gathered online to hear her lecture, called “Towards Hope and Joy in Life and Death: New Visions.”

In addition to her university post, Dr. Dillard is the founder of a preschool and elementary school, which she directs with her husband in Mpeasem in the Central Region of Ghana.

Through exploring President Ikeda’s lecture, she concluded with ideas on life and death that have inspired her over the years. The essential truth, she said, is one she encountered in a poem by Octavia Butler, to which she added a line of her own: All that you touch You Change. / All that you Change Changes you. / The only lasting truth Is Change. / Life and death are merely Change.

January 12, 2024, World Tribune, p. 4 


  1. My Dear Friends in America, fourth edition, p. 347. ↩︎

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