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April 19, 2019

Hebrew Edition of Tehranian-Ikeda Dialogue Published

Hebrew edition of the Tehranian-Ikeda dialogue
Hebrew edition of the Tehranian-Ikeda dialogue

TEL AVIV, Israel: Dekel Publishing House released a Hebrew edition of Reflections on the Global Civilization, a dialogue between Daisaku Ikeda and peace scholar Dr. Majid Tehranian.

Born in Iran, Dr. Tehranian taught at various universities including at University of Hawaii. His research focused on political science with a specialization in Middle Eastern and Asia-Pacific affairs. Dr. Tehranian and Mr. Ikeda first met in July 1992, and subsequently in February 1996, following Dr. Tehranian’s appointment as first director of the Toda Institute for Global Peace and Policy Research (later renamed Toda Peace Institute) founded by Mr. Ikeda.

The authors focus on the importance of dialogue in the contemporary world as globalization accelerates at a rapid pace while exploring ways to find common ground across cultures and civilizations. The two authors share their respective world views based on their faith—Islam and Buddhism—as they examine similarities as well as contrasts in a broad range of issues on human security, global citizenship and universal human rights.

Dr. Tehranian and Mr. Ikeda meet in Okinawa in February 2000
Dr. Tehranian and Mr. Ikeda meet to discuss interreligious dialogue for the sake of future peace at the Okinawa Training Center (Onnason, Okinawa, February 2000)

When Dr. Tehranian touched on how the Ottoman Empire embraced tolerant policies that recognized other religious traditions, Mr. Ikeda agreed, saying, “Equality isn’t uniformity” but rather, it means to “recognize differences yet not discriminate because of them.”

Dr. Tehranian lamented the tendency in modern societies to measure people using the same yardstick, referring to so-called “IQ tests” created to measure verbal and mathematical aptitudes but which “resulted in a severe undervaluing of other types of intelligence.” Concurring, Mr. Ikeda commented that such tests cannot measure compassionate actions or the courage to fight against iniquity and injustice, qualities that he believes are among the greatest of human virtues.

“Justice and equality only arise from recognizing human diversity and celebrating its value,” offered Dr. Tehranian, and that a just and equal society realizes that “the full potential of each individual is the precondition for the realization of the potential of all.” Further, that “gender, racial, ethnic or age differences represent a diversity that must be celebrated and respected instead of being used as a basis for discrimination.”

Concurring, Mr. Ikeda rounded off this topic with the Buddhist metaphor of “cherry, plum peach and damson” that endorses individuality and diversity and each person’s “own unique and irreplaceable merit and values.”

The book is also available in other languages, including Japanese, English, French, Persian and Arabic.

[Adapted from an article in the April 19, 2019, issue of the Seikyo Shimbun, Soka Gakkai, Japan]

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