Human Revolution—What Is it and How Can it Change the World?
By Jack Mason
“A great human revolution in just a single individual will help achieve a change in the destiny of a nation and, further, will enable a change in the destiny of humankind.” So says Daisaku Ikeda, President of the Soka Gakkai International (SGI) the largest Buddhist organization in the world. To make this more understandable—and add a little humor to lighten the conceptual load, let’s make this a dialogue.
Bill: I don’t get it. How is my human revolution going to change the destiny of the nation and even the entire human race?
Jack: Just look around you, all the people fighting and hating one another. What do they all have in common?
Bill: Well, I suppose one thing is they’re all angry.
Jack: So why do you suppose they’re so angry? Do you think they might be looking at others as the cause of their problems?
Bill: Sure—like my jerk of a boss that gives me grief all time. Or the people who get rich doing stuff I could be doing if I just had a chance.
Jack: Right, and the illegal immigrants. Those politicians that do everything for the special interests but nothing for you and me.
Bill: Yes, that’s it, absolutely!
Jack: But if you were really doing your best at work, wouldn’t your boss treat you better?
Bill: Well, maybe.
Jack: Is it really up to the government to make your life better? Can it make you happy or better off?
Bill: I don’t know, but they do seem to make it worse some of the time.
Jack: OK, you may have a point there, but then you were born here and choose to live here. Maybe you didn’t even vote for those politicians you don’t like, but enough of your neighbors did for them to get elected—why do you think that is?
Bill: Because they’re crazy, stupid or a combination of the two?
Jack: So, maybe some of them are, but that’s not the main reason. They just figure they don’t have charge of their own lives; they think those people they vote for will make it all work out for the best for them. Like getting rid of the illegal immigrants, cutting taxes while increasing benefits.
Bill: OK, so where does the human revolution come in then?
Jack: It’s not something that happens overnight but over time, a change in our perspective makes a big difference. Greg Martin, a national senior leader of the SGI and publisher of Living Buddhism and the World Tribune, often says “let others bring the donuts, you bring the Buddha to work.”
Bill: Well, I kind of like donuts, as long as somebody brings them. But how do we do bring the Buddha to work and what about that big difference?
Jack: We accept responsibility for our own lives. We practice Buddhism to create our own happiness. We treat others with dignity and respect. Other people are neither the problem nor the solution—even though it may seem like they are. When we challenge ourselves to be better at work, at home, at school or in our neighborhood it makes a difference.
Bill: Yeah, but how? How does my behavior change the world?
Jack: You have heard the expression, “Think globally, act locally,” right?
Bill: Yeah, I think I have seen it on some people’s bumpers. So, what does that mean?
Jack: It means we chant for world peace, for Kosen Rufu—the worldwide propagation of Nam-myoho-renge-kyo for a change in the destiny of everyone. That’s the global part. But unless we work at the United Nations or some multi-national corporation we don’t interact with everyone around the world. We only engage our coworkers, our family and friends and so on. So it’s with those local people that we live the life of a Bodhisattva—treating them with compassion. By activating our Buddha nature we are able to make revolutionary change in our character. We become a positive influence wherever we are. Just imagine if the world were filled with people like that. That’s how we make that encouragement from President Ikeda come true.