Lately, Bharat Soka Gakkai has joined hands with United Nation to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals, with its end date coinciding with Soka Gakkai’s centennial in 2030. At the heart of the 17 SDGs is a collective pledge by Nations of the world to alleviate humanity’s suffering and work to create a better world where no one is left behind.
This pledge of the UN captures the dream of Second Soka Gakkai President Josei Toda, who had once declared “I wish to rid the world of all misery”. As a direct disciple of Josei Toda and as an ardent supporter of the UN, realizing the SDGs is also a cherished dream of the third Soka Gakkai President Daisaku Ikeda.
In one of his interviews, President Ikeda has mentioned “The members of the SGI have been cooperating with the UN to raise awareness on issues relating to environment and to promote an ethic of global citizenship. Our stance is not that of bystanders, watching to see whether the UN will succeed or fail. Rather, we want to focus on developing a deeper sense of responsibility through our Youth, as they are the architects and change makers of sustainable global societies.
Young people have a central role to play in achieving sustainable, inclusive and stable societies by 2030. Not only because it is their future at stake but also because the promise of youth – their passion, idealism and spirit of challenge, is essential for delivering the promise of ‘leaving no one behind’ in this process.
Youth and the sustainable development resonates closely with Soka Gakkai’s theme for 2022, which is ‘The Year of Youth and Dynamic Progress’. Young people are the hope of the world; hence nurturing them and building a solidarity of awakened and empowered is our shared responsibility. President Ikeda shared, I am deeply confident that as long as there is solidarity among youth, there is no impasse we cannot surmount.”
To realise the SDGs, we need to involve youth in all stages of change-making as equal partners, and not just as token participants, and create the necessary conditions for their full and active participation.
Expanding the SDG’s vocabulary is Equality and Equity, as the Buddhist principle of cherry, peach, plum and damson expounds that despite our uniqueness and diversity as human beings, we all are equally worthy and capable of leading a life of dignity and value creation and develop sustainable human behaviour, understanding of our inter-connectedness and the spirit of leaving no one behind.
Since the beginning of 2021, Bharat Soka Gakkai has been organizing a virtual exhibition titled ‘Seeds of Hope & Action (SOHA): Making the SDGs a Reality’ every month in various schools and colleges of India, with the aim to spread awareness about sustainability to the young students of the country, encouraging them to overcome feelings of powerlessness, and highlight the fact that a single individual can initiate positive change.
President Ikeda said: “The decade from … to… will be crucial. We must be even more determined to show victorious proof of our own human revolution, to transform all great evil into great good and to effect a powerful change in the destiny of all humankind.” Adding further he said , If we do not rise to the challenge now, then when? If we do not fight today, then when? Life is a struggle against the limited time we have on earth. What will have been the purpose of our life if we do not fulfil our mission? If we abandon our dream, no matter how we try to justify ourselves, there will be little left in the end but emptiness and regret.”
Deeply anchoring ourselves on this guiding principle taught by our 3 founding Presidents, and solidly uniting with each other, Bharat Soka Gakkai is determined to open the way to realizing SDGs by 2030 and adorn the 100th anniversary of Soka Gakkai and create a world where no one is left behind.