Creating a world without weapons of mass destruction: A Nichiren Buddhist perspective | INTERFAITH

By Romy Garcia and Mike Lisagor

The sanctity of life is a fundamental Buddhist value - in particular, the belief that every human being deserves the utmost respect and dignity.

Each person has an enlightened or Buddha Nature that, with the right stimulus, can manifest itself within other life conditions including Hell, Anger, Hunger, Animality, Rapture, Tranquility, Learning and Realization.

So, our challenge is to create a society that values human life and therefore denounces weapons of mass destruction. Unfortunately, nuclear weapons continue to pose a threat to all the life forms on our planet.

The Soka Gakkai International, a worldwide lay Buddhist community with 12 million members, has a 54-year history of opposing the use of nuclear weapons. This is rooted in the history of the organization in Japan, which experienced the devastation of World War II and two atomic bombs.

In 1957, the second Soka Gakkai International president, Josei Toda, made a key declaration condemning nuclear weapons “as absolute evil” threatening humanity’s right to live.

Toda called for their prohibition. This was during the height of the Cold War when nuclear weapons cast a dark shadow on the destiny of humankind.

“Today we confront the need to turn human history away from its customary course of war and violence and toward peace and harmonious coexistence. One of the most important aspect of the task is the abolition of nuclear weapons,” (Daisaku Ikeda, Choose Hope).

Working with United Nations and other groups, Soka Gakkai International has organized antinuclear exhibitions and activities. The exhibits “Nuclear Arms: Threat to Our World” and “Nuclear Arms: Threat to Our Humanity” have been viewed by more than 1.6 million people in

24 countries.

In the late 1990s, Soka Gakkai International youth throughout the world collected 13 million signatures supporting the “Abolition 2000” campaign.

Recently, the Soka Gakkai International Future Division has begun a campaign to abolish nuclear weapons.

Nuclear weapons are a manifestation of the inability of human beings to work together in an environment of mutual respect and trust. So, as fellow inhabitants of Mother Earth, what can we do to change these negative behaviors?

On a macro level, we can participate in discussion circles, conferences, exhibitions and protests to raise people’s awareness of the need for nuclear disarmament.

Individually, we can spread peace consciousness through our own unique artistic expressions in mediums such as painting, photography, performing arts and writing.

And, we can engage in cross-cultural, political and national dialogues while we continue to pray for peace.

Life is precious. Let’s continue to work together to create a world where there is no place for war and violence. Sometimes this may seem like an impossible dream. But, the alternative is not acceptable.

Romy Garcia and Mike Lisagor live on Bainbridge Island and are longtime members of Soka Gakkai International.

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