Tsunesaburo Makiguchi
Value-Creating Education

Rather than provide knowledge itself, we must encourage the joy and excitement that arise from learning.

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Tsunesaburo Makiguchi
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The Outline of the System of Value-Creating Pedagogy

As my research into The System of Value-Creating Pedagogy advanced and I was preparing to publish the first volume, I was moved by chance to research the Lotus Sutra, and my attitude to religion underwent a profound transformation. Although born into a family of adherents of the Zen sect of Buddhism and raised in one belonging to a Lotus Sutra school, I lacked any sentiment of faith. In the years of my youth, when I was struggling in the effort to study and learn, the teachers and friends whom I most loved and respected were for the most part Christians, but I never reached the point of actually taking faith. After coming to Tokyo as an adult, I found that Confucian virtues alone could not relieve feelings of intolerable anxiety and so I again did Zen meditation, listened to the teachings of Christianity, learned the methods of deep breathing and looked into other religious teachings. While I developed some feelings of faith for these, I never entered deeply into any of them. ... In none of them could I sense the power that could either overturn my scientific and philosophical orientation, or harmonize with it. [1935]1

But when I encountered the Lotus Sutra, I was astonished to discover that it in no way contradicted the scientific and philosophical principles which form the basis for our daily lives, and that it differed fundamentally from all religious and moral practices which I had studied to date. And just as I found myself moved by this discovery, I experienced a number of inexplicable phenomena in my daily life, which accorded precisely with the teachings of the Lotus Sutra. When I eventually made the firm determination to adopt this faith, I was able to affirm, in the actualities of daily life, the truth of the words of Nichiren Daishonin: "When the skies are clear, the ground is illuminated. Similarly, when one knows the Lotus Sutra, one understands the meaning of all worldly affairs." And with a joy that is beyond the power of words to express, I completely renewed the basis of the life I had led for almost 60 years. The sense of unease, of groping my way in the dark, was entirely dissipated; my lifelong tendency to withdraw into thought disappeared; my sense of purpose in life steadily expanded in scope and ambition, and I was freed from all fears; I became possessed with the irresistible and bold desire to effect the reform of national education with as much haste as was humanly possible. [1935]2

Put simply, I consider it an unsurpassed honor to be able to state definitively that the essential core of the Lotus Sutra underlies and is the basis for the intellectual system of the pedagogy of value-creation. I have gained the level of confidence where I can say, not only to Japan but to the entire world, that unless it is based on this method and principle the genuine improvement of educational practice will be impossible. ... As I developed some faith and understanding in the Lotus Sutra, I was astonished to discover, quite unexpectedly, that it accorded with the progressive development within my own thinking of which I had not been consciously aware. As my faith and understanding continued to advance, I came to understand that whereas the essence of the Lotus Sutra is fundamental to the entire body of principles governing the processes of daily life, the rational educational methods proposed in my value-creating pedagogy are partial and peripheral. [1935]3