Taiwan to confer the 322nd Honorary Awards to President Ikeda! Taiwan's 11th for President Ikeda! - February 2012
Since President Ikeda inaugurated as the third President of Soka Gakkai, Dr. Ikeda has been conferred with Honorary awards from various institutions worldwide in recognition of his peace efforts for humanity. Dr. Ikeda was first conferred Honorary Doctorate from Moscow State University, Russia (USSR) in 1975. Till date, Dr. Ikeda has received 322 Honorary awards including the recent confirmed 322nd Honorary Professor award to be conferred in 2012 from Taipei College of Maritime Technology, Taiwan. Dr. Ikeda can be said to have received the most Honorary awards in the whole world.
The institutions that confer the awards to a Buddhist peace advocate of Japanese descent stretch across almost all the continents. These include countries such as China, Taiwan, Malaysia, Korea, Indonesia, Laos, Cambodia, Australia, United States, Argentina, South Africa, and United Kingdom.
Now let’s look at the tiny red dot country in Asia continent – Singapore, a metropolitan city and country. Nichiren Buddhism has already shown its presence in Singapore in the late 60’s. Interestingly, Singapore is not one of the countries whose institution conferred such Honorary award to Dr. Ikeda. One important pointer to note is that Dr. Ikeda does not need these awards. Each time he receives an award from external organization, Dr. Ikeda would say he humbly accepts the award on behalf of his members and it is the members who have fought and won for their mentor. This is how great Dr. Ikeda is, to always place people and the members first. We can also see a strong connection of Dr. Ikeda and the people demonstrating the principle of the Mentor and Disciple spirit. Having a country or an institution to confer such an award to Dr. Ikeda can itself be seen as an actual proof on how the disciples have fought to want do something for the Mentor. At a deeper level, it is this spirit that counts.
What suggests a true disciple?
In a dialogue “New Horizon In Eastern Humanism”, Dr. Ikeda with Dr. Tu Weiming of Harvard University, a leading scholar of Chinese philosophy, the subject of the four great teachers of humanity—Shakyamuni, Confucius, Socrates, and Jesus was discussed. All four were subjected to fierce criticism and persecution by their contemporaries. Their lives were a series of adversities.
Great people are not immediately recognized—it just doesn’t happen that way. And those who gain easy recognition are usually not genuinely great. Shakyamuni was subjected to the nine great ordeals. He incurred the jealousy and resentment of evildoers and his life was threatened. Confucius wandered in exile for 14 years. Socrates and Jesus were condemned to death as criminals.
Why, then, in spite of this, are these figures revered by the people of later times? Because their disciples tenaciously fought for and promoted their teachings. That was one of the conclusions Dr. Tu and Dr. Ikeda arrived at in the discussion. Mr. Toda fought tirelessly for his mentor Mr. Makiguchi and promoted his ideas. Dr. Ikeda did the same for his mentor, Mr. Toda. This is what it means to be a true disciple.
What matters are not titles or position, but rather having a fighting spirit and taking action. Those who possess these qualities are truly admirable. The honor of dedicating one’s life to the path of mentor and disciple shines forever. This is the essence of the Daishonin’s Buddhism and the Mystic Law. (59th Soka Gakkai Headquarters Leaders Meeting, May 3, 2006)
Will the true disciples of Dr. Ikeda in Singapore stand up and promote our Mentor’s ideas? Nothing is coincidental in Buddhism. It is indeed ironical that the Honorary Doctorate presented to Dr. Ikeda, November 2000 in Singapore was conferred by University of Sydney. When will the top leaders of local organization who claim to be true disciples actualize this goal of conferring the first award from Singapore to Dr. Ikeda?