Renewing Our Faith In Humanity
SGI President Daisaku Ikeda wrote the following in response to the tragedy of Sept. 11.
In the aftermath of the terrible shock of the tragic events on Sept. 11, I extend my deepest sympathies to all those affected. From the bottom of my heart, I pray for the victims, and I pray that their families may find inner strength, healing and, eventually, renewed happiness.
It is impossible not to be outraged at the senseless loss of so many lives. And yet it is not the numbers that make this tragedy so horrific. Every single person lost was irreplaceable and immensely preciousa much loved sister, father, son, mother or friend. Each individuals life contained infinite possibilities waiting to be realized. In the most terrible manner imaginable, we have been reminded of the immense value of human life.
In all its teachings, Buddhism stresses how sacred and precious life especially human lifeis. One scripture reads: "A single day of life is worth more than all the treasures of the universe." Terrorism, which so cruelly robs people of life, can never be excused or justified by any reason or cause. It is an absolute evil. And when such acts are committed in the name of religion, it demonstrates the utter spiritual bankruptcy of the perpetrators.
As human beings sharing a common home, we have all been impacted by this terrible deed. In the words of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., "Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere." We must unite across differences of nationality and faith in order to create a world free of injustice, violence and terror. I call for a just and equitable international tribunal to be established to try those responsible for acts of terrorism and other crimes against humanity.
But the struggle against terrorism requires more than short-term international cooperation. It requires a profound reexamination of the nature of human civilization. For much of our history, humanity has been trapped in vicious cycles of hatred and reprisal. We must redouble our efforts to break this cycle and transform distrust into trust. I believe that this is the most effective and fundamental antidote to terrorism and its repugnant worship of violence.
It is the function of evil to divide; to alienate people from each other and divide one country from another. The universe, this world and our own lives, are the stage for a ceaseless struggle between hatred and compassion, the destructive and constructive aspects of life. We must never let up, confronting evil at every turn.
This attack was an ultimate manifestation of evil and shows us the vilest depths to which human nature can sink. In the end, the evil over which we must triumph is the impulse toward hatred and destruction that resides in us all.
Unless we can achieve a fundamental transformation within our own lives, so that we are able to perceive our intimate connection with all our fellow human beings and feel their sufferings as our own, we will never be free of conflict and war. In this sense, I feel that a "hard power" approach, one that relies on military might, will not lead to a long-term, fundamental resolution.
I believe that dialogue holds the key to any lasting solution. Now, more than ever, we must reach out in a further effort to understand each other and engage in genuine dialogue. Words spoken from the heart have the power to change a persons life. They can even melt the icy walls of mistrust that separate peoples and nations. We must expand our efforts to promote dialogue between and among civilizations.
I am utterly convinced that we were not born into this world to hate and destroy each other. We must restore and renew our faith in humanity and in each other. We must never lose sight of the fact that we can still make the 21st century an era free from the flames of war and violencean era in which all people may live in peace. To this end, we must strive to make a profound reverence for life the prevailing spirit of our times and our planet. I believe that this is the greatest and most enduring way to honor the memory of the victims of this enormous tragedy.
Sept 13 - In response to the apparent terrorist attacks on the cities of New York and Washington, D.C., SGI President Ikeda sent a letter expressing his deepest condolences to U.S. President George W. Bush on September 12. In the letter, Mr. Ikeda said he was praying for the repose of those who lost their lives in this tragic incident, and conveyed his conviction that the sublime spirit of the U.S. to uphold the ideal of freedom will endure for all eternity, no matter how great an ordeal the country faces. Mr. Ikeda further expressed his hope that under the decisive leadership of President Bush, the American people would surmount their present adversity. In addition, Mr. Ikeda sent a message to the members of SGI-USA conveying his sympathy to the people of the U.S. He also urged the members to work hand in hand in realizing peace in the United States and throughout the world.
Tokyo, September 12, 2001
The Honorable George W. Bush
The White House
Washington, D.C., 20500
Dear Mr. President,
On behalf of the twelve million members of the Soka Gakkai
International around the world, I offer my deepest sympathies for and
condolences to the victims of the unconscionable tragedies that
struck New York, Washington, D.C. and Pennsylvania on
September 11. Our thoughts and prayers go out to you, the victims,
their family and friends, and to all the people of the United States
in this time of national mourning and anguish.
It is my firm belief that, even as you face tragedy of this magnitude,
the noble spirit of freedom cherished by your great nation remains
undiminished and eternal. I am sincerely praying that the people of
America, under your capable leadership, will be able to overcome
these extraordinary hardships with all possible speed.
With my profound sympathies,