Ikeda Center for Peace, Learning and Dialogue

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2. Humanistic Education Is Vital to Global Progress

There is wide agreement on the centrality of education to any efforts at personal and social progress in the decades to come. The difference of opinion is about the nature of the teaching and learning that is needed. The Ikeda Center advocates Soka, or value creating, education, a pedagogical approach developed by Japanese educator Tsunesaburo Makiguchi in the early decades of the 20th century. Soka education resonates strongly with humanistic American pedagogies in the Deweyan tradition, especially in its focus on helping learners discover and develop their unique interests and capacities. In so doing, individuals can maximize the value of their contributions to our world. Further, the emphasis is not on the acquisition of knowledge for knowledge's sake, but rather on the development of wisdom, which orients knowledge for the well being of all.

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The third point of convergence [between Nichiren Buddhism and American Transcendentalism] is what might be called a commitment to human-focused education—education of, by, and for human beings. When I first spoke at Harvard University, I made reference to the ideas of Emerson and expressed my sense that nothing is more needed in our world today than an inner-motivated spirit of autonomy and self-mastery. (2004)

Experience has shown us that unless ordinary citizens develop their wisdom, they too easily fall prey to the machinations of those who would abuse their power. It is from this that the need for humanistic education arises, the kind of education that enables people to transform themselves and, through that transformation, to change their societies. (2004)




Ikeda Center for Peace, Learning, and Dialogue
396 Harvard Street, Cambridge, Massachusetts 02138
Phone: (617) 491.1090 Fax: (617) 491.1169

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