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The Human Revolution is a series published by the World Tribune Press, originally in 1986. The first of two series (afterwards came The New Human Revolution), chronicling the history of the Soka Gakkai International, a lay Buddhist peace organization.
Set in post-war Japan, the story begins with second SGI president Josei Toda’s release from prison and documents the founding of this Buddhist organization, literally called “value creation society.” Toda and his mentor, an educator named Makiguchi, had been imprisoned for their religious beliefs by a militaristic Japanese government. I picked up the book because as a practicing Nichiren Buddhist, I wanted to understand the history of my organization and more importantly, the essence of my faith, through the story of two men who dedicated their life to it.
I think too many young people, myself included, look for the answers to life’s problems sideways — across the internet and the television screen, in their peers, in the contemporary media that is most accessible to them. Thus, begins my exploration of history.
I love the book because of the gripping and honest way it explains the Buddhist concept of a “human revolution” that is, the revolution that must occur within the hearts of every individual who opens up to their innate potential and right to authentic happiness, as the basis for lasting world peace. Ikeda writes, “Nothing is more barbarous than war. Nothing is more cruel.” Most moving is his portrayal of World War II Japan as human, illustrating emotions all readers can relate to. This, I believe, is the purpose of writing — to shine light upon the humanity in every crevice of the earth.