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Daisaku Ikeda, head of worldwide Japanese Buddhist group Soka Gakkai, dies at 95

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TOKYO — Daisaku Ikeda, who headed Soka Gakkai, a Japanese Buddhist group, that features famed musician Herbie Hancock and different celebrities in its fold, has died at 95, the Japanese non secular group mentioned Saturday.

Ikeda died on Nov. 15 at his residence in Tokyo, “from pure causes,” the group mentioned in a press release, with out giving particulars.

Alongside along with his two predecessors, Ikeda is credited with reviving Nichiren Buddhism within the trendy age, making it extra accessible for present-day practitioners by emphasizing a philosophy of goodness, respect for others and being joyful and at peace.

Soka Gakkai has been arrange in 192 international locations, drawing greater than 8 million member households in Japan and practically 3 million individuals outdoors Japan, in line with the group.

An educator, photographer and poet, Ikeda performed a key position in spreading the teachings overseas, founding Soka Gakkai Worldwide in 1975.

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He met Josei Toda, the second president of Soka Gokkai, through the Nineteen Fifties when Ikeda was simply 19. Ikeda embraced the teachings and Toda as his mentor.

In contrast to some religions that emphasize the significance of struggling, Ikeda underscored the Positive, talking typically of happiness.

“By serving to different individuals change into joyful, we too change into joyful,” was an thought he typically expressed. To Ikeda, happiness was about “being true to your self,” which, he believed, allowed happiness to develop in an infinite manner.

Ikeda was born in Tokyo, on Jan. 2, 1928, to a household of seaweed farmers. The horror of struggle he witnessed as a teen affected him deeply and the expertise is believed to have made him vow to dedicate his life to peace.

The fundamental Buddhist observe for Soka Gakkai members is chanting parts of the sutra, or teachings of Buddha, and sharing the message with others to allow them to meet challenges and overcome issues, in line with the group.

Ikeda was tapped because the third president of Soka Gakkai in 1960. He led “the lay Buddhist motion” towards progress within the trendy age, particularly in worldwide circles.

He based a college system based mostly on the faith and its values, to foster particular person potential and train the significance of peace and contributing to society. It runs from kindergarten via graduate research and features a college in Tokyo and California.

In addition to famed jazz pianist Hancock, saxophonist and composer Wayne Shorter and drummer Kenwood Dennard have transformed to Soka Gakkai.

“Although the roots of jazz come from the African American expertise, my feeling has at all times been that jazz actually developed from a noble facet of the human spirit widespread to all individuals, the power to answer the worst of circumstances and to create one thing of nice worth, or as Buddhism says, to show poison into medication,” Hancock mentioned in a e-book about jazz and Buddhism, co-authored with Shorter and Ikeda.

Different well-known Western actors, writers and sports activities stars have expressed curiosity in Soka Gakkai, together with Hollywood film stars Orlando Bloom and Kate Bosworth, in addition to the late singer Tina Turner.

Ikeda typically talked about being conscious of the inevitability of loss of life in on a regular basis life, saying: “We start to hunt the everlasting and change into decided to take advantage of useful use of every second of life.”

Ikeda is survived by his spouse Kaneko and his sons, Hiromasa and Takahiro.

A personal funeral has already been held with shut household. The date of a public commemorative service will probably be introduced later, Soka Gakkai mentioned in its assertion.


Yuri Kageyama is on X, previously Twitter https://twitter.com/yurikageyama

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