Liberal Aspects of Nichiren Buddhism

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Having liberal values as a part of its philosophy is one of key reasons I am so drawn to this Buddhist practice. These are talked about in most texts we read, such as the monthly VCs, yearly Peace proposal and mostly the writings of the President of the organization, Dr Daisaku Ikeda.

  1. Secular– President Ikeda wrote a book on Buddhist Islamic dialogue, and revers all religions. The practice allows people to continue practicing their family’s religion as well.
  2. Emphasis on Women empowerment– There is a young women’s division, which is considered the core of the practice. There’s another group made especially for women called Ikeda Kayo Kai which also emphasizes on and acknowledges the strength and role of women in the society.
  3. Stance on nuclear weapons– The President time and again expresses his views against nuclear weapons, especially in the Peace Proposal he submits to the UN every year.
  4. Pro Environmentalism & Sustainable Development- This value too is often brought up in the Peace Proposal that we read, and in the guidances that he writes for the members.
  5. Humanistic Education- The first President of the SGI, Tsunesaburo Makiguchi started off practising with the goal of reforming education, wanting it to focus more on character building and humanistic values.
  6. Being a global citizen- The mentor talks about how we all must think of ourselves as beyond our national identities and engage in dialogue with people from diverse backgrounds. There is a story about him where while filling a form, instead of writing his nationality, he writes “global citizen”.
  7. LGBT rights– The practice in 1995 gave its official stance on LGBT rights, which it is pro and I know many people from the LGBT community who practice joyously and with ease.
  8. Literature References– In many of the  President’s writings, he cites Tolstoy, Gandhi, Goethe- leaders and writers from across the world to demonstrate his point  better. In this sense, what we study is not close minded or only restricted to Buddhists texts, but derives reference from many other sources, thereby also widening our knowledge. Hence, we have various sources of inspiration within the practice who are nowhere related to Buddhism, the Daishonin or Sensei. 

 

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