History of the SGI

Uploaded by SGIVideosOnline on 08.05.2011

The founder and first president of this lay Buddhist organization was
Tsunesaburo Makiguchi, a Japanese educator
dedicated to reforming the repressive and nationalistic education system.
Makiguchi advocated a more humanistic approach to learning,
encouraging children to lead creative, fulfilled lives
and make a positive contribution to society.
In Nichiren's Buddhism he discovered a philosophy that both reflected
and revitalized his thinking,
and in 1930 he founded the Soka Gakkai – the Society for the Creation of Value.
When the Second World War broke out, the military authorities imposed oppressive
laws upon the Japanese people. All dissent was ruthlessly suppressed.
Makiguchi was imprisoned for opposing the policies of the militarist government.
He died in prison in 1944. Imprisoned alongside Makiguchi
was his fellow educator and closest supporter, Josei Toda.
Released from prison in 1945, Toda worked tirelessly to reconstruct the
Soka Gakkai organization into a broad– based, grassroots Buddhist movement
that offered a message of hope and empowerment
in the devastation, poverty and despair of postwar Japan.
With Toda as second president the organization rapidly expanded.
He encouraged its members to take up the challenge of "human revolution"
a process of self–mastery whereby a positive change in the inner life of
an individual is reflected in their external environment,
and ultimately in society itself.
Toda was determined to see an end to war.
In 1957 he made an impassioned appeal for the abolition of nuclear weapons
which he believed were a manifestation of the darkest aspects of the human heart.
Achieving world peace became a fundamental aim of the organization.
Constantly at Toda's side was a young man named Daisaku Ikeda, who wholeheartedly
devoted himself to supporting the growth and development of the Soka Gakkai.
In 1960, two years after Toda's death, Ikeda became its third president.
This was the era of the Cold War.
Global tensions were high and the threat of nuclear devastation hung over humanity.
Ikeda believed that the Lotus Sutra's message of the dignity of all life
could contribute to the advancement of world peace.
On the island of Guam in 1975, he helped establish a new, global organization – SGI.
Ikeda has also promoted dialogue between people of different countries, cultures and
belief–systems, as a fundamental step towards building world peace.
As leader of the lay Buddhist movement, he has continued to meet with leading
activists and thinkers from around the world.
The resulting dialogues and publications, which encompass
politics, culture, philosophy and science, explore life and the universe
and seek solutions to the problems that confront our rapidly changing world.
Ikeda has also founded peace–research, educational and cultural institutions
with a view to promoting greater mutual understanding between nations.
Since its formation, SGI has developed into an international movement
with 12 million members in 190 countries and territories around the world.
Each SGI organization shares the same philosophy and basic practice but has the
freedom to operate independently within the customs and laws of its own country.
Respecting and celebrating individual and cultural differences
is the lifeblood of SGI.