Buddhism is one of the world’s oldest religions.  At its core are the quests to understand life and to help people overcome their basic suffering.




Shakyamuni, or Siddhartha Guatama, was the founder of Buddhism.  He lived some 2500 years ago as royalty in India.

During the final eight years of his life, he expounded his ultimate teachings, which were later compiled as the Lotus Sutra.



Following Shakyamuni's passing, various schools of Buddhism spread throughout Asia. The Lotus Sutra gained particular prominence as it spread through Central Asia into China, the Korean Peninsula and Japan.

The Lotus Sutra is unique among the teachings of Buddhism because it affirms that the attainment of enlightenment is possible for all people without distinction of race, gender, social standing or education.

Buddhism, as epitomized in the Lotus Sutra, is a powerful, life-affirming, egalitarian and humanistic teaching.






It was Nichiren Daishonin in Japan, however, who took the final all-important step to transform profound theory into a simple practice.

He brought it out of the realm of theoretical contemplation into an actual experiential practice when he first chanted Nam-myoho-renge-kyo (Devotion to the Mystic Law)

He thereby enabled ordinary people to reveal their highest state of life in the midst of day-to-day realities.



By declaring that embracing this law had the power to allow all individuals to attain enlightenment, the Daishonin disturbed the ruling class of politicians and priests who adhered to other forms of Buddhism.

He subsequently dedicated his life to sharing his realization, despite facing numerous persecutions for preaching what was considered a subversive doctrine.

Nonetheless, he gained a loyal following of believers. He especially embraced ordinary people from all walks of life.

For the next six centuries, the Daishonin's Buddhism was maintained by a relatively small religious group until the early part of the twentieth century.



Tsunesaburo Makiguchi


Early in the 1900s, an educator in Japan, Tsunesaburo Makiguchi was passionately dedicated to the reform of the Japanese educational system, which emphasized rote learning over critical independent thinking.



After studying Nichiren Daishonin’s teachings, he realized that they could provide the philosophical underpinnings for the value-creating education that had been his lifetime goal.

In 1930 Makiguchi, along with a young teacher Josei Toda, founded the Soka Kyoiku Gakkai, or “Value Creation Education Society’” as a laypersons’ organization.


Soka Gakkai


After the post-World War II constitution brought freedom of religion to Japan, his followers were able to disseminate Nichiren Daishonin’s Buddhism freely.



Under Mr. Toda’s leadership, the Soka Gakkai rapidly grew to more than 750,000 households by the time of his death in 1958.




Daisaku Ikeda


Succeeded by his disciple, Daisaku Ikeda, Nichiren Buddhism has spread to more than 190 countries, becoming a world religion.

Personally, Mr. Ikeda has engaged in dialogues with international academics and intellectuals…



…exchanging ideas on how to create world peace and better understandings among people, and many other topics.

He has received numerous awards and recognition from universities and nations around the world for his efforts to promote peace.

Applying the spirit of Buddhism to modern times, he has also founded several institutions dedicated to peace and intercultural dialogue.


Soka Education


Education has been of central concern to the Soka Gakkai since its inception.




From preschool to post-graduate, the Soka system undertakes education designed to stimulate wisdom and engagement within society.



Many ideas set forth by Mr. Makiguchi and Mr. Toda have been brought to fruition through the Soka School System.

On May 3, 2001, Soka University of America opened as a full-fledged liberal arts college in Southern California.








The SGI believes that the development of peace, culture and education are essential to building a better world.

The SGI has sponsored public information programs that aim to promote awareness of the issues of war and peace and the feasibility of peaceful alternatives.



The only way for people to live together in peace is for many individuals to awaken to the need for an inner revolution.

Taking up this challenge, the SGI, under Mr. Ikeda's leadership, has been working tirelessly to create the conditions for a peaceful world.

Nichiren Daishonin's Buddhism is truly a religion that crosses all boundaries, with a diversity rarely seen in other institutions.



For one happy person's influence on his or her environment will have a profound and lasting effect.

Today, the SGI (Soka Gakkai International) believes that the development of peace, culture and education are essential to building a better world.

For one happy person's influence on his or her environment will have a profound and lasting effect.


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