Creative Education International Network:A Dialogue to Open Human Potential


General Meeting – 2010, Volume VIII, Issue 1

Posted in Newsletter

2010 Plans and Focus; Voices of Soka Educators On How We Can Live our Vow

Our new CEINwiki was a great place to hold our General Meeting. It is easy to access and gives CEIN a dynamic way to discuss how to reach our students and help them take responsibility for the future. We are featuring some of these great teaching ideas in two formats. First are some examples by teachers. Second is an actual class being conducted by Dave Koranda at the University of Oregon, using Sensei’s disarmament proposal. We also discussed our 2011 CEIN trip to Brazil and have scheduled it for August 2011. We are overflowing with teaching ideas on dialogue and disarmament so you can find a complete list of these treasures on the front page of our wiki: at

Dialogue and Disarmament:


Chinese students study Daisaku Ikeda and his philosophy at universities. I’m going to start now, by promoting his thoughts on peace in the classroom.
I work with adult people from all over the world, many from war-zones like Afghanistan, Iraq, Somalia, and Sudan etc. The task is to help them to integrate into Dutch society. There are many aspects I don’t like, for example to force our values upon them, while not taking account of their values. But I anyway try to turn it around. One of the subjects is to teach them opposites in our language, like happy/unhappy or heaven/earth, hundreds of them. I just add one word to the list: ‘war’ and … a big silence. How come they don’t know the word ‘peace’? Through this I learnt that they simply never learn about peace. War came to them and they are victims or sometimes perpetrators, but they did not realize that peace is also the result of action. From there I ask them to start a dialogue with their neighbours and to relate their experiences to the other students.
In fact SGI young people already starting to take over the baton and I have to put my ichinen in this. They want to hold the exhibition on abolishing A-weapons and they asked the seniors to support. As a teacher I want to take the decision to learn by action. I have learnt from you to be the change I want to see in others.


I must thank you all for this great education and growth to us in Sub-Sahara Africa. My school had elections to elect their prefects and one of the tasks of the Social Prefect is to form a Nuclear Disarmament Club. In this club students will learn what it is all about and form discussion groups starting from their families at home and then the community around them. They will give their parents the chance to share their home discussion with others and then bring back home their contributions from school.
I believe that a Soka educator is someone concerned with the happiness of everyone around him/her. He/She is able to promote harmony anywhere he goes, since he/she knows that every human being is potentially a Buddha. A Soka educator also understands that an actual dialogue means the path to human revolution itself; such a dialogue of truth comprises three fundamental questions: 1. With the dialogue I can polish my life and learn how to understand the other. 2. The dialogue of truth is based on chanting Nam-myoho-renge-kyo for the other’s happiness. 3. It is necessary to listen to the other, without any trace of arrogance of wanting to impose my point of view, or having a greater knowledge than the others; all you have to do it is reach contact, to understand how to touch this person’s heart.


  • My new class is photography and I’m thinking about how to wrap my mind about teaching images from the perspective of peace. There are so many other issues to deal with that, disarmament seems way out there, and yet, I know it’s all connected. I just need to find the connections.
  • Get ideas from the SGI Quarterly – the short articles are great
  • Work with the SGI youth.
  • I teach with the attitude as Ikeda says, “Universities exist for the sake of those who never have the opportunity to attend them.”
  • Create projects such as featuring food locally and globally. Have students write a personal statement about their experience to go with the photo display – send the whole thing to a food NGO.
  • Create collaboration in the classroom then help each student create collaboration in his or her own neighborhoods or family.
  • My Chinese student and I are learning that Chinese and Americans have been collaborating for many years. Thoreau read Confucian (and Buddhist) teachings and deepened his understanding of nature because of them and his book Walden Pond is one of the effects. Now China is beginning to fix environmental degradation because of the influence of American environmental movement.
  • “Reaching the heart of my students” has been the purpose for teaching art. By teaching students to connect their hands, minds, and heart, they manifest their humanism. Ohio Art Education Association had that as their theme a few years back for their conference. It IS VITAL that it continues and you’d be surprise how it gets rocked in standardized education. This year’s NAEA (National Art Ed. Assoc.) meeting’s theme is about “Injustice” and my friend has set up a forum; a panel discussion and I’m one to be on this panel. So all this discussion, here is potential for me to use. In this way, we can keep the conversation going.
  • In 2003 my weapon was to use my teaching of the visual arts (I was K-5), to fight against war. At the time I was doing my Masters and using my art room as my lab for collecting data. I used a principle from The Earth Charter and developed a question which asked: “Can students through learning, doing, and implementing art practices change behavior?” At the time, my students (in 5th grade) were demonstrating gang-like behavior on the playground. Through developing my lessons to address this concern, I saw a change in that behavior. And the more diverse the group the better the outcome. In this way, it might be reasoned that standardization works against peace.
  • A Soka Educator is someone who can walk the walk of the Bodhisattva Never Disparaging in words, action, and deeds and definitely leads by example. A Soka Educator shines the light on darkness and makes all things brighter because of it.
  • Sensei stated “…I believe in you.’ That comment epitomized Soka education and Sensei’s attitude toward each student. Makes me think more deeply about each student and their greater potential. Infusing happiness upon individuals and helping them see their “true self”. Teaching them to live with compassion for self & others. Enabling people to see the world is within them.
  • I think that to “teach like a Buddha” is to teach with compassion. Then we can find different ways to connect and help them to engage in the learning process.
  • Educate more girls in the world. How mothers have the ability to rear their families without as much poverty will create less angry terrorist bombers or crazy heads of state.
  • Curiosity for Strategists J 457 – Real Time Teaching Disarmament – Dave Koranda, Advertising, Senior Instructor, University of Oregon School of Journalism and Communication. (This ND section of the class began during our General Meeting)
This is a class I developed which the University of Oregon let me invent. The purpose of the class is to provide advertising and communications students a much broader cultural context than they have in their professional classes. It is intended to help them develop a strong sense of curiosity about the world and life and help them transfer that process to strategic thinking and planning. I don’t think there was one student in the class who had thought about nuclear weapons or had ever considered any ways to get rid of them.
I explained a little about Sensei, what he has done for education, and the nuclear abolition proposal. I gave them a sheet with the questions: Are nuclear weapons really necessary? Why do we need to keep them? What justifies our own (US) stockpiles of nuclear weapons when we make an issue of not allowing other states possession of them? Does humanity really have no other choice but to live under the threat of nuclear weapons?
The students were grouped in threes and were asked discuss these points from the stand point of what might be positive, what might be negative and what is simply interesting about these questions about nuclear weapons. The students seemed to mirror many of the ideas that we often hear; how can we not keep from having nuclear weapons when people like the leader of North Korea insist of having them etc. I asked them to then meet again after thinking about the questions on their own.
They did come up with new and actionable things. Almost all of them felt that it would be almost impossible to get rid of the weapons. They felt that the threat of them is a deterrent, but interestingly they believed that the world and all of its people would be better off without the weapons. One group suggested that the major nuclear weapon countries hold a contest to shoot all of them at a target placed in the direction of the sun. There would be a prize for the highest score. One group wanted to draw the world’s attention to the wording in Japan’s Article 9 and the fact that something similar has already been agreed on by the members of the U.N. but has not been enforced.
I used the class as a chance to discuss how important dialogue is and how mistrust can be overcome. For the first time most of them became hopeful that eliminating the weapons was possible. I also challenged them to work on ad campaigns to get rid of nuclear weapons when they have a chance to work on pro bono work for the Ad Council as many ad agencies do.
The CREATIVE EDUCATION INTERNATIONAL NETWORK is a volunteer project created to inspire educators who are implementing Value Creating Education in different ways. Through deepening our own understanding and compassion, we are determined to lay the foundation and construction of a United Nations of Education and so open the potential of all people. To be added to the mailing list or removed from it, or to receive back issues, please contact Stephanie Tansey at

chaig @ March 29, 2010

Fall Forum, Volume VII, Issue 4

Posted in: Newsletter
Creative Education International Network
A Dialogue to Open Human Potential
Forum IX: Building Global Solidarity Toward Nuclear Abolition;
SGI President Ikeda’s 5 Part Plan and Soka Education.

This Fall Forum we read Sensei’s Nuclear Abolition Proposal and then focused on how building global solidarity fits into the way we teach. We based our discussion around Sensei’s Five Part Plan, mostly working on Point 5, which is how to support a global will to abolish nuclear weapons.
In his proposal, Sensei writes ‘If nuclear weapons epitomize the forces that would divide and destroy the world, they can only be overcome by the solidarity of ordinary citizens,”… because this solidarity will transform hope into the energy to create a new era.
The Five Part Plan for the next five years proposes that:
1. The five declared nuclear-weapon states announce their commitment to a shared vision of a world without nuclear weapons at the NPT conference next year and to initiate steps toward that commitment.
2. The United Nations establish a panel of experts on nuclear abolition and collaborative relations with civil society be strengthened. In 2010 Japan will host an international conference on nuclear disarmament and Sensei hopes they collaborate with Norway and the U.K. as they have put forth a similar vision of nuclear disarmament.
3. Heads of state remove obstacles toward the elimination of nuclear weapons.
4. Countries reduce the role of nuclear weapons as a security strategy.
5. The world’s people manifest clearly their expression that nuclear weapons are prohibited by the year 2015 and that this is a universal norm.
Here are some of the highlights and practical applications:
There is a sense an urgency in Sensei’s proposal. “The five proposals I have presented here are all from Makiguchi’s concept of humanitarian competition”…humanitarian competition means…’by benefiting others, we benefit ourselves’ as a means of overcoming conflict among nations.”
Pres. Toda saw that Pres. Ikeda learned to make the impossible possible. It was Pres. Toda’s faith in the young Ikeda – as well as Toda’s ability to share faith in the Gohonzon, the Gosho and the words of the Lotus Sutra – that gave the young Ikeda the will to struggle what seemed to be his fate – to die young -and instead fulfill his mission. Using that as a model, when we fight for the happiness of our students, then they also can be inspired and learn the spirit of benefiting oneself by benefiting others.
Young students also have a strong sense of justice, but this transforms into a cynical or “I don’t care” attitude as they come to believe they are powerless in the face of the conditions apparent in society. As far as challenging the world of animality and anger in both our own lives and those of our students – the desire to annihilate those who stand in the way of our objectives – this is a particularly solid obstacle.
“So a teacher who lives the principles of poison to medicine and the darker the night, the nearer the dawn, is essential to our goal of nuclear disarmament.” How much sense that makes! That’s how we can communicate to our students, family and community… Our students (and children) are so disappointed by what they hear and see (so expediently, I might add thanks to media warp speed attention!).”

Applications for Teaching:

1. Perceive what each person needs, and help them self-educate themselves into human beings who are concerned and dedicated to the security of all living beings and the planet.
2. ”Our role as humanist (educators) is to express infinite benevolence for our students in order to draw from within them the power of infinite wisdom.”
3. a.Itai Doshin: We can share with students the difference in effect between many unique people coming together to create something powerfully important and what happens when many people all have different minds and can’t connect to each other so no value is created. (Itai Doshin and Dotai Isshin)
b. Itai Doshin: I encourage a lot of “sameness” activities in our classroom environment. One example is our “culture in a bag” activity. Each student brings a “special” bag to class (it can be a recycling bag to an antique bag given by a grandmother or great grandmother etc.). This bag must come with (3) items in it; something that represents the students past, present and future. What transpires with this daylong activity as it unfolds, is the “sameness” of every students “gift” to themselves and therefore the classroom family. They share these items as part of who they are, where they came from and perhaps even where they will go from here! Those listening are taken on the presenters journey, a special journey that they are privileged to go on with them!
c. Create a festival of humanism to show what ordinary people can do separately and together.
d. Itai Doshin: Makiguchi says there are three kinds of living beings. Dependent Life is one where a person intends only to receive. Life Exchange, where most adults are, where a person will do for others in exchange for something in return. Contributory Life is when we intend on giving without expecting anything in return. In The Cherry Tree, the child reached this third stage by taking care of the cherry tree. This is a way to lead students to the mind of a Buddha and give rise to wanting to create Itai Doshin.
4. Ichinen Sanzen: We can share the Buddhist principle that there exists in each of us an unlimited power or capacity and a change in the deepest levels of an individual’s consciousness and commitment can affect the world.
5. Makiguchi In Action/Brazil – use MIA methods to encourage and develop courage in teachers and so create a community service agenda in the classroom to help others see the value of their lives.
6. Interconnectedness of Life: Create a measurable way to build the right kind of relation between parents, teachers and parents and teachers, school-family-community to increase the sense of power and self-confidence in working together, showing the connection between all mutually reinforcing and creating an environment positive to value creation for students to grow healthily.
7. a. Living a Contributive Life: Bring students into their neighborhood community so they get to know the various people who live in that community as well into “community development and planning.” Bring students out to the County events as often as possible ie: satellite offices to give testimony on what they would like to see within their very own community. My students attended “open” forums to hear discussions on county plans, considerations and community input. Then discuss about how they are the driver of this generation and the future and how they can to participate in the development and planning of that future! Students learn how they do matter and their opinions count!
b. Living a Contributive Life: We need to let our students know that decisions are being made now that will affect each student’s future, and all future generations. Help them attend city council meetings, study the city’s comprehensive plan and learn all about the workings of government and the courts. Also explore the ecosystems of the surrounding environment, and learn ways to help the city revitalize the natural environment.
8. Disarmament Education: Sensei often uses the stories of accomplished individuals to introduce these concepts (for instance, Madame Curie whose study of radioactive elements foundational to further discoveries of the energy contained in the atom.) and teach disarmament by studying the lives of those men and women who contributed first indirectly through the unfolding of knowledge about chemistry and atomic structure, and directly with the application of that knowledge to the technology of nuclear weapons; and those same people who have led the abolition movement. Also read literature such as HG Well’s 1914 novel, The World Set Free, predicting atomic bombs, atomic war and world government; and engage students on how to live a contributory life by learning about scientists such as Niels Bohr who realized that his understanding of complementarity in quantum theory could be transferred to the dilemma of nuclear weapons: that the capacity of these weapons to deliver massive, worldwide destruction opens the door to a qualitative change in the human spirit and human relations, and the end of war as an option.
9. Teacher as Model: Write to your government officials and share this effort with your students without suggesting that they do the same. Just let them know that you think it is important. You can include the questions that Sensei suggests leaders of the world ask themselves in regard to nuclear weapons.
10. Dialogue Education: Stage a dialogue using contemporary developments such as the nuclear free zone established in Mexico City for many countries in South and Central America, and the Caribbean, President Obama’s speech on disarmament, or the recent “A World Free of Nuclear Weapons” by George P. Shultz and three other former Secretaries of State including Henry Kissinger.


If ever there ever was a modern parallel to the parable of the burning house, nuclear weapons provides one. Human beings are busy playing and bickering among themselves, ignoring the fiery threat of nuclear weapons that is enveloping the entire world.
Waking people up and enticing them out of the burning house, is what building global solidarity toward nuclear abolition in the next five years is about.
In his 2002 Peace Proposal, Daisaku Ikeda exhorts us to achieve “self-mastery–the ‘conquest’ of the inner realm in order to uproot hatred and (quoting Shakyamuni) kill the will to kill. I think this should be the basis for all our Buddhist activity for peace.
Abolishing nuclear weapons, in itself, will not bring about a peaceful world. The only way to change this situation, is by a radical transformation in the mindset of all humankind – so that our first priority is working together to make our planet peaceful and sustainable, a place where all forms of life flourish and can display the dignified aspects they inherently possess. Consequently the aims of education must be to teach how to value, preserve and cultivate the community of life. We can do this by developing the same art of dialogue as Sensei, to reach win-win solutions and prevent conflicts from becoming confrontational. In this way we can create the new era with our Sensei, and a society where dialogue artists are a majority and non-violence the norm.