On May 5th, the mayor of Kensington and Chelsea together with local members of SGI, a lay Buddhist organisation that numbers over 10 million members worldwide, are celebrating the 40th anniversary of the influential meeting and dialogue between renowned Buddhist scholar Dr Ikeda and historian Dr Arnold Toynbee with the unveiling of an inscribed bench in the sun trap garden.
The meeting between the two men resulted in in their best-selling and influential book, Choose Life, which has now been published in twenty-eight languages and is seen as a manual for living a creative and peaceful life by the millions who continue to study it around the world.
During their meeting Dr Toynbee gave Dr Ikeda a personal introduction to many world leaders and influential thinkers whom he knew personally. Dr Ikeda has since had over 1,600 dialogues with many of them, including President Gorbachev, Johan Galtung, Linus Pauling and Zhou Enlai, and has received more than 300 academic awards, including a United Nations peace award.
During May 1972 Dr Ikeda spent much time with Dr Toynbee in his flat, adjacent to Holland Park, and to relax they enjoyed strolling around the park, hence the siting of the bench to commemorate their walks together.
SGI members and guests will be celebrating the event with a small marquee, champagne and homemade cake.
There will be a commemorative exhibition to follow, called `Choose Life – Celebrating the Power of Dialogue’, at the SGI-UK London Ikeda Peace Centre in Wakefield Street, WC1, open to the public from 14-19 May. Please check www.sgi-uk.org for latest details of the exhibition opening times and the schedule of short films, talks, refreshments and opportunities for inspiration and conversation.