What Is "Human Revolution"?

"Human revolution" is a term used by Josei Toda, second president of the Soka Gakkai, to describe the process by which individuals gradually expand their lives, conquer negative and destructive tendencies, and ultimately make the state of Buddhahood their dominant life-condition. The idea of revolution as most people understand it usually refers to a political or economic revolution. Such a revolution imposes new ideas upon people at large, and thereby effects change. The goal of human revolution is very different.

Rather than changing society directly, through improving or reforming social or political systems, the object of change lies deep within the life of each individual. As Josei Toda states: "'The human revolution' I am talking about...refers to the establishment of one's ultimate purpose in life and working toward the perfection of self. We carry out our daily lives according to our own views on life and society. However, 'human revolution' refers to the change that we bring about in the way we view life, society and the world. A fundamental change occurs in the way one has led his or her life up until that point. The 'human revolution' of an individual becomes apparent when he or she establishes an unwavering and absolute conviction in the eternity of life. Rather than focusing on short-term goals which apply only to one's present lifetime, this conviction becomes the basis for the pursuit of loftier goals and greater good, in contrast to one's previous satisfaction with the accomplishment of lesser goals and good."

SGI President Daisaku Ikeda has written a twelve-volume account of Josei Toda’s life and the growth of the Soka Gakkai in postwar Japan titled, The Human Revolution.  Within these stories we find the keys for building lives of genuine happiness. In the foreword to this novel, President Ikeda writes, "A great revolution of character in just a single person will help achieve a change in the destiny of a nation and, further, will cause a change in the destiny of all humankind."