Lokesh Chandra is a renowned scholar of Tibetan, Mongolian and Sino-Japanese Buddhism. He has served as a Member of Parliament, been the Vice-President of the Indian Council for Cultural Relations, and Chairman of the Indian Council of Historical Research. He is presently Director, International Academy of Indian Culture. He has to his credit over 400 works and text editions, among them classics like Tibetan-Sanskrit Dictionary, Materials for History of Tibetan Literature, Buddhist konography of Tibet, and Dictionary of Buddhist Iconography. He was awarded the Padma Bhushan in 2006.
Daisaku Ikeda is a Buddhist philosopher, peace-builder, educator, author and poet. He is the third president of the Soka Gakkai lay Buddhist organisation and the founding president of the Soka Gakkai International (SG!). He has devoted himself to wide-ranging efforts for peace and has founded several cultural and educational institutions such as the Soka schools and universities, Institute of Oriental Philosophy, Min-On Concert Association, Tokyo Fuji Art Museum, Toda Institute for Global Peace and Policy Research and Boston Research Center for the 2Ist Century. Dr Ikeda is the recipient of numerous honorary doctorates and awards including the United Nations Peace Award. He has published more than 50 dialogues with leading world thinkers.
In this dialogue are small pebbles from the icy torrents of time, as they have smoothened in classical lands like India, Hellas, China and Japan. In India pilgrims find their way to the high Himalayas when snows thaw and spring gives way to summer, to seek treasures of black pebbles rolling down the icy torrents of River Gandaki, adorned with circular markings. They are for worship in home and temple. Here are our pebbles seeking consciousness that pervades the universe with its invisible presence. We have to re-sanctify the dormant sense of humanity in men and women, so that they are nourished by the thousands of streams of water, grains, fruits, clouds, rain, cows and what not: all that fertilisers life. The universe is linked together its a seamless web. The whole of life has to be balanced and disciplined in personal and social morality and selflessness. The future man will have to declare like Mahatma Gandhi: "My life is my message."
Human beings will one day find their noble destiny in the 'not two' (fuji), where the illusions of strife and tumult are resolved in sharing and harmony. The splendours of nature like sakura 'cherry-blossoms', inspire us to look within, to feel ourselves as part of a whole. The sakura of art and poetry are the internal dimension. True spirituality cannot find expression without reference to this spirit of nature. It is the underlying consciousness of society. The deep love of the Daisensei for nature is grounded in itself, cloaking every shape. The several volumes of Rendezvous with Nature by Daisaku Ikeda enshrine his imperishable vision, and ask the question "the future: upon what weft is it woven?" It is the articulation of the flow of life, the meeting point between pure vibration and form.
Humans have to sing and safeguard all this universe: animate or inanimate, stationary or moving, and wrap a robe that protects against the devouring blaze of materiality. In such an ambience, we seek a chariot to roam the heavens without reins, with the mind, with thought. We delve into the depths of time that carries the treasures of destiny and the mysterious energy to open out the future in its fullness. President Ikeda has moved from country to country in quest of a path that is a weave of variants, ever fresh, ever flourishing, ever integrating the Me, the We, and the beyond: gate gate paragate parasarhgate bodhi svaha.
The present dialogue centers around the historic evolution of the role of time and thought, nature and culture, heritage and spirituality, ecology and human welfare. Time has left permanent impressions in stones and scriptures, words and minds. It is up to us to team values from the heritage. Our own being is working within. External culture will desiccate without the internal dimensions of the Spirit, without the underlying consciousness of life beyond selfishness. Mahatma Gandhi stressed that we will not have true independence until we have discovered the power of self-rule within ourselves. The simplest life will be the most profound.
In India every prayer ends with: Our santih, santih, santih. The first is peace with nature, the second is peace between humans, their society and peoples, and the third is peace within ourselves.
The twenty-first century, we all hope, will be an era of peace and coexistence. But in an age that is said to lack any dominating philosophy, where should we look for the guidelines that will ensure that that happens, Dr Lokesh Chandra is a prominent intellectual leader of India, a country with a long history of spiritual questing, and he and I set out on a journey, searching the accumulated wisdom of the Orient to see if we could find an answer to that question.
The vast mountain ranges of Eastern philosophy, dating back many centuries into the past, bask M the bright sunshine of the universe, towering heights in the history of humankind. From these majestic peaks, clear cold streams rush forth to form a great river that flows through the changes of time. And along the way, vast fertile plains are opened up, rich creations of the life spirit, brought into being through the peaceful coexistence of living beings. These, which enrich peoples' lives, which give them unlimited vigour and serve as their guidelines - these deep-flowing waterways of the spirit are what we know as humanistic thought.
Dr Lokesh Chandra, for whom I have unbounded respect, has, as I have indicated, consented to join with me in this journey in dialogue, in which we have focussed on the theme of the timelessness of human values.
As Dr Chandra, with his keenly perceptive eyes, has pointed out, in the particularly active periods of Eastern history such as those involving religious revolution, intellectual movements, formation of a new philosophy, struggles against powers, and movements for peace, it was these enduring human values that provided the motive power and enabled them to proceed with true effectiveness.
In the present work, we have treated a group Si proponents of humanism whom we have called "fighters for peace and nonviolence", who range from the sages of the Upanishads to the world citizens who are active in the twenty-first century. Among them are Shakyamuni, the "teacher of humankind", who created one of humanity's major religions; the Greek king Milinda and the Buddhist sage Nagasena, who carried on a cultural dialogue concerning Buddhism and Greek thought; and King Asoka, known as "the king of kings", who demonstrated the influence of Buddhist thought in the manner in which he ruled. Persons sudi as these make the spiritual history of ancient India a treasure of the human race.
Buddhism, which appeared in India, spread to other lands via the Silk Road, and Mahayana thought, particularly as embodied in the Lotus Sutra, became among the populace in general a banner for social change and integration. Especially noteworthy in this period was the great translator of the Lotus Sutra and many other Buddhist texts, Kumarajiva.
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Item Code: NAR507 Author: Lokesh Chandra and Daisaku Ikeda Cover: HARDCOVER Edition: 2009 Publisher: Eternal Ganges Press Pvt. Ltd. ISBN: 9788190719124 Language: English Size: 9.30 X 7.00 inch Pages: 302 Other Details: Weight of the Book: 0.6 Kg