Daisaku Ikeda, head of world Japanese Buddhist group Soka Gakkai, dies at 95

TOKYO (AP) — Daisaku Ikeda, who headed Soka Gakkai, a Japanese Buddhist group, that features famed musician Herbie Hancock and different celebrities in its fold, has died at 95, the Japanese spiritual group mentioned Saturday.

Ikeda died on Nov. 15 at his dwelling in Tokyo, “from natural causes,” the group mentioned in a press release, with out giving particulars.

Along together with his two predecessors, Ikeda is credited with reviving Nichiren Buddhism within the trendy age, making it extra accessible for present-day practitioners by emphasizing a philosophy of goodness, respect for others and being joyful and at peace.

Soka Gakkai has been arrange in 192 nations, drawing greater than 8 million member households in Japan and almost 3 million individuals outdoors Japan, based on the group.

An educator, photographer and poet, Ikeda performed a key function in spreading the teachings overseas, founding Soka Gakkai International in 1975.

He met Josei Toda, the second president of Soka Gokkai, throughout the Nineteen Fifties when Ikeda was simply 19. Ikeda embraced the teachings and Toda as his mentor.

Unlike some religions that emphasize the significance of struggling, Ikeda underscored the optimistic, talking typically of happiness.

“By helping other people become happy, we too become happy,” was an thought he typically expressed. To Ikeda, happiness was about “being true to yourself,” which, he believed, allowed happiness to develop in an infinite manner.

Ikeda was born in Tokyo, on Jan. 2, 1928, to a household of seaweed farmers. The horror of battle he witnessed as a teen affected him deeply and the expertise is believed to have made him vow to dedicate his life to peace.

The fundamental Buddhist apply for Soka Gakkai members is chanting parts of the sutra, or teachings of Buddha, and sharing the message with others to allow them to meet challenges and overcome issues, based on the group.

Ikeda was tapped because the third president of Soka Gakkai in 1960. He led “the lay Buddhist movement” towards progress within the trendy age, particularly in worldwide circles.

He based a college system based mostly on the faith and its values, to foster particular person potential and train the significance of peace and contributing to society. It runs from kindergarten via graduate research and features a college in Tokyo and California.

Besides famed jazz pianist Hancock, saxophonist and composer Wayne Shorter and drummer Kenwood Dennard have transformed to Soka Gakkai.

“Even though the roots of jazz come from the African American experience, my feeling has always been that jazz really developed from a noble aspect of the human spirit common to all people, the ability to respond to the worst of circumstances and to create something of great value, or as Buddhism says, to turn poison into medicine,” Hancock mentioned in a ebook about jazz and Buddhism, co-authored with Shorter and Ikeda.

Other well-known Western actors, writers and sports activities stars have expressed curiosity in Soka Gakkai, together with Hollywood film stars Orlando Bloom and Kate Bosworth, in addition to the late singer Tina Turner.

Ikeda typically talked about being conscious of the inevitability of dying in on a regular basis life, saying: “We begin to seek the eternal and become determined to make the most valuable use of each moment of life.”

Ikeda is survived by his spouse Kaneko and his sons, Hiromasa and Takahiro.

A non-public funeral has already been held with shut household. The date of a public commemorative service shall be introduced later, Soka Gakkai mentioned in its assertion.

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