Message From The Executive Director
Dear Friends,

Like all of our fellow global citizens, we staff of the Ikeda Center are doing all we can to avoid spreading the contagion of COVID-19 and are grateful for the brave souls fighting on the front lines against this global pandemic. Also, as we hope and pray for an early end to the outbreak, we are digging deeper within our own hearts to find an even stronger aspiration toward a shared future of respect for the dignity of life.

One source of inspiration for us is a recent message from Center founder Daisaku Ikeda, entitled “Become Pioneers of a Better Age.” In his message, he recalls the conviction of one of his first dialogue partners, British historian Arnold Toynbee, that “those living in an age of crisis” – certainly this refers to all of us right now – “must become pioneers of a better age, striving to find positive solutions” rather than being paralyzed by panic or hopelessness. In so doing, we will turn the age into one of achievement. The “achievement” Dr. Toynbee refers to, for us at the Ikeda Center, means building a culture of peace through learning and dialogue. This is nothing but an extraordinary effort of co-creation in which anyone anywhere can become a protagonist.

To help inspire strength, wisdom, and optimism, we have turned to the plentiful resources on our website representing many years of Center effort. In this issue of our e-newsletter, you will find particular talks and essays we have selected with our Ikeda Center community in mind. We will be so happy if you find even just a word or phrase you can take to heart during this unprecedented time.

With warmest regards and sincere wishes for your good health,

Ginny Benson
Executive Director
Hopeful Resources During These Times
Given the current situation we are facing, we may be finding it difficult to maintain hope. We thought you might find some inspiration in the article  Seven Dimensions of Daisaku Ikeda’s Philosophy of Hope. These dimensions are drawn from his 2017 compilation of essays,"Hope is a Decision." 

For us, one passage in particular from Hope captures the essence of Ikeda's vision: " Sometimes, it may be hard to see where—or how—to begin. But we cannot be paralyzed by despair... Rather than passively accepting things as they are, we must embark on the challenge of creating a new reality. It is in this effort that true, undying hope is to be found.”
While we hope all of us are taking measures to practice physical distancing at this time, we cannot help but miss the sense of community that comes from being physically together. But, what, exactly are we missing? Some fascinating ideas on this topic are found in this article featuring diverse community builders responding to the question: “What is community and why is it important?” We are grateful for online platforms that allow us to continue meeting virtually with our communities!
In this video ▶️ , Dr. Sarah Wider of Colgate University reflects on Emerson’s concepts of "likeness" and "sympathy." Likeness refers to our capacity to recognize the true potential of others. Perhaps it is nearly inevitable during this difficult time that we perceive our connectedness. However, says Wider, it is sympathy that enables us to “bring likeness from passive recognition to acts of participation.”
In discussing which events we might feature here, we immediately though of our August 2019 Dialogue Nights. That energetic gathering of young Bostonians was devoted to exploring the meaning of friendship and its power to help us meet and overcome life’s challenges—small and large and in between. We hope you enjoy this recap of the event and remember to connect (virtually) with your friends!
Finally, let’s revisit a profound idea from Daisaku Ikeda's message to the Center commemorating the 2009 publication of "Creating Waldens: An East-West Conversation on the American Renaissance." In his message, he recalled how the book, a series of dialogues with scholars Ronald Bosco and Joel Myerson, began to take shape in the dark days following 9/11. Despite it being a time of what he called "pervading helplessness," Mr. Ikeda chose to renew his own pledge to “...make dialogue my point of departure, believing in its power above all.”
Inspiration From Center Founder
In the quote above from "Hope Is A Decision," Mr. Ikeda inspires us to challenge our feelings of powerlessness and believe in the power of our lives. Let's not lose hope and also exercise the utmost precaution during this time!

Look out for more inspirational quotes and other great content on our Instagram page @ikedacenter!

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