Global Issues and Our Common Humanity
Buddhism, which started 2500 years ago, arose in response to the problem of human suffering and embraces the common humanity of all people.
Today, the Soka Gokkai International, the international organization of Nichiren Buddhists, the SGI, exists in 192 countries and is dedicated to the same ideals as Shakyamuni Buddha. Its primary mission is to relieve suffering in the world through giving each person a way to overcome life problems and become successful and happy in life through making positive, active contributions to society.
In accordance with the humanistic beliefs of Buddhism, the SGI is also involved with many different kinds of projects to encourage people to make a connection to worldwide issues such as world peace, disarmament and environmental sustainability which relieve suffering and affect people all over the globe.
Towards a Vision of World Peace
The SGI believes that the UN has potential to effect positive change in the world even though it is not perfect. Towards the vision of world peace, the current president of the SGI, Daisaku Ikeda, has put forward annual peace proposals to the UN for twenty years. Elements of these have been reflected in UN initiatives such as the World Program for Human Rights and Education. The SGI has put on petition drives to abolish nuclear weapons, bringing millions of signatures of ordinary people. As an affiliated non-governmental organization with the UN, the SGI has developed educational campaigns on human rights, peace and disarmament.
Towards the Elimination of Violence
In response to the Colombine shootings in Colorado, SGI’s Youth Peace Committee developed the Victory over Violence campaign, to help young people identify and counteract root causes of violence in their lives. Cultural festivals and outreach programs have been adopted by schools and communities, and the Victory over Violence program has now spread overseas.
A Vision of Sustainable Development
In the Amazon there is an urgent need for reforestation and sustainable development. Towards that vision, the SGI has established the Amazon Conservation Center to encourage both reforestation and sustainable development. In support of this an educational initiative called Seeds of Change, “How Each Person Can Make a Difference” was developed.
In support of the Earth Charter Movement which is working to establish and sustainable and peaceful world, a proposal, by SGI representatives for a decade of education on sustainable development, gained international support and was adopted by the UN general assembly in 2002.
To Relieve Human Suffering
In attempts to relieve suffering in the world, the SGI has put together numerous relief programs for war refugees and for victims of natural and climatic disasters such as tsunamis and earthquakes.