About the Author

DAISAKU IKEDA is president of the Soka Gakkai International (SGI), one of the fastest growing and most dynamic Buddhist renewal movements in the world today. With 12 million members in 186 countries, the SGI promotes education, international cultural exchange and the establishment of world peace. The SGI philosophy is based on the teachings of Nichiren, a thirteenth century Japanese Buddhist teacher and reformer who, based on the Lotus Sutra, taught the sanctity of human life above all else.

As the inspirational leader for millions, Daisaku Ikeda has worked to spread the peaceful and compassionate teachings of Buddhism throughout the world over his more than 50 years of practicing Nichiren Buddhism and 40 years of worldwide leadership of the Soka Gakkai. At age 19, he took faith in the teachings of Nichiren and went on to succeed his mentor, Josei Toda, as the Soka Gakkai president in 1960.

A peace activist, Mr. Ikeda has traveled to more than 50 countries conducting dialogue with political and intellectual leaders, applying his strong belief that international understanding and the realization of peace begins with people-to-people contacts. Among the hundreds of honors and commendations given him around the world, he received the United Nations Peace Award in 1983.

Mr. Ikeda is also the founder of numerous cultural and educational institutes throughout the world, including the Soka Schools system in Japan, Malaysia, Singapore and Hong Kong, as well as Soka University, whose newest branch opened in May 2001 in Aliso Viejo, California. He has received more than 100 honorary doctorates from universities throughout the world.

He has written more than 200 books in Japan, many of which have been translated into several foreign languages, including The Way of Youth; For the Sake of Peace; Soka Education; The Living Buddha; Unlocking the Mysteries of Birth and Death; Choose Life (a dialogue with Arnold Toynbee) and A Lifelong Quest for Peace (a dialogue with Linus Pauling). He's also the author of numerous children's books and books of poetry.

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