The Photography of Daisaku Ikeda

Daisaku Ikeda as Photographer

On many occasions we have featured words from SGI President Daisaku Ikeda. Along with leading the Soka Gakkai International, he is a(n)

  • Buddhist scholar and philosopher
  • Author of over 50 books of history, poetry, and dialogues with world leaders, noted scholars and others
  • Recipient of over 300 honorary degrees from colleges and universities around the world
  • Proponent of peace and culture through conferences, establishment of centers and more
  • Educator–including having created primary, secondary and college level schools
  • “Amateur” photographer

If you look at a sample of his photography, you will wonder at the self-description as an amateur photographer. Here are words from the official Daisaku Ikeda website maintained by the SGI.

“This moment will never come again. It comes, it goes, all in an instant, a life-moment. Because we know how precious that instant is, we press the shutter. Photography is an art born of a passionate love of humanity.” 


Daisaku Ikeda is an avid amateur photographer with a particular knack for finding beauty and uniqueness in ordinary scenes. He began taking photographs in the 1970s while recuperating from illness, after a friend presented him with a camera and suggested it would be a good change of pace. A series of his photographs has toured some 30 countries in an exhibition titled “Dialogue with Nature.” 


Ikeda has written: “I am not and never have been a professional photographer and, due to my busy schedule, I end up taking many of my photos while traveling from one appointment to another; sometimes I stop the car for just enough time to take a photo.” 


Photography is probably the most accessible and democratic popular art form, he says. He describes it as a spiritual struggle, a challenge of capturing the eternal in the momentary. Photographs “mirror the inner depths of a photographer’s life.” The essays from the series “This Beautiful Earth” presented here offer insight into the poetic and philosophical sensibility of Ikeda’s photography. 



Shizuoka Prefecture, Japan, December 1994


San Francisco, March 1993
Tokyo, April 2008

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