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Soka Gakkai: Studies in Contemporary Religion
by Karel Dobbelaere
Signature Books, 2001
Paper: 978-1-56085-153-0 | eISBN: 978-1-56085-368-8
Library of Congress Classification BQ8415.4.D6313 2001
Dewey Decimal Classification 294.3928

 Why is Soka Gakkai one of the fastest-growing religions in the world today? Founded in post-World War II Japan, this Buddhist movement claims upwards of 15 million members, including more than a half million in North and South America. It sponsors two universities in the United States.

Professor Dobbelaere points to several reasons for its growth. Soka Gakkai emphasizes inner peace rather than rules of behavior or hierarchical allegiance. Sociologists describe it as “trans-modern,” meaning that it blends ancient and contemporary sensitivities such as Buddhist mysticism, science, art and music, a concern for the environment, and social activism.

Initially there was a reliance on aggressive proselyting, later replaced with a more moderate encouragement to share with friends. The movement now engages other faiths in cultural and intellectual exchanges and in pursuit of common ethical objectives. This adaptability and sincere concern for its membership and for society as a whole bode well for its future success.

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