|Hotei 布袋 - Japanese god of contentment and happiness. |
Carries a large cloth bag that never empties,
and uses it to feed the poor.
"Enlightenment, or true happiness, is not a transcendental state. It is a condition of broad wisdom, boundless energy, and good fortune wherein we each shape our own destiny, find fulfillment in daily activities, and come to understand our ultimate purpose in life." - Josei Toda
Josei Toda (1900 - 1958) was a Japanese educator and peace activist.
When he was 19 years old he met his mentor, Tsunesaburo Makiguchi (1871-1944), who was also an educator. Makiguchi was working on a theory of teaching that was in contrast to methods used in Japan at the time.
His educational practice placed priority on the happiness of the children, and sought to inspire in them the desire to be curious, to study and to learn.
Conventional education's goal was to produce obedient subjects of the state.
In 1930 Toda and Makiguchi founded the educational organization Soka Kyoiku Gakkai in order to spread their message of peace, happiness, and personal autonomy.
In 1943 they were imprisoned by militarist authorities embroiled in WW II. The two educator activists were seen as threats to the state, and were accused of "thought crimes".
Makiguchi died in prison, while Toda was released shortly before the end of the war, to carry on supporting the goals envisioned by his mentor.
The education society Mr. Toda co-founded, continues to this day. It is now known as Soka Gakkai, and its work is international in scope.
The society's goal is still one of empowering ordinary people to become peaceful, self-reliant individuals.