Winter School 2021 of LJM University for Life & Peace Opens; Elite Participants from 15 Countries to Brainstorm Strategies for the Ecology
The third Winter School of Ling Jiou Mountain's (LJM) future University for Life & Peace (ULP) was officiated on January 22, with more than 60 people for faculty and the student body from Germany, the USA and China participating in the opening of the online program. With ‘Decision-making’ for its theme, Winter School 2021 as a digital offering conducts its lectures, group discussions, and other academic activities online that focus on how to achieve and implement decisions amidst ecological crises the world is faced with.
On the online inaugural occasion, LJM Founding Abbot, Dharma Master Hsin Tao, extended personal greetings to all faculty members present one by one while welcoming students from all over the world. The Master pointed out that Winter School 2021 still manages to virtually materialize as a platform to exhaust discussions on sustainability for Man and Nature, given the still rampant COVID-19, is in itself a rare merit that connects us all in our shared mission. Confronted with increasingly more critical and dire conditions of the ecology, the program's timely theme on ‘Decision-Making: How to Achieve and Implement Countermeasures against Critical and Dire Conditions of the Ecology’ becomes ever so more meaningful.
The Venerable Master further said that ‘it ought to be our consensus that the Earth is our home and everything on earth, from animals, plants, to all forms of being, are indeed interdependent in our diversified symbiosis and that co-existence is a life community that relies on inter-reliance for sustainability.’ The inter-relationship between spirituality and the ecology is the core value of the latter. Spirituality is ecology and vice versa. All forms of being are there for a reason, be that a function or a mission. Such interdependence brings about harmony, while the co-existence creates prosperity. Equality reigns supreme, we must thus respect one another, tolerate all differences, and love all lives. We all belong as part and parcel of one singular spirituality and we are all connected, with our inter-connections to be cherished, rather than abused, suppressed, or even destroyed. Only when we embrace such a root cause for its awakening strengths and connect the dots across all walks of life and domains, will our thinking spread out to cover the full spectrum of the ecological system in harmony.
Professor Dr. Michael von Brueck, Advisor-at-large in charge of the ULP's International Advisory Board, was quoted as saying that the future University came into being as an answer to the ecology's crises. Humankind created the crises and in reverse ought to resolve them. He holds Dharma Master Hsin Tao in high esteem for his lifelong dedication to the ecology and the cause of sustainability, and he quotes Master Hsin Tao's long-term ideology campaign of ‘Loving the Earth’ as the keyword for his philosophy of a Spiritual Ecology and as ‘an overcoming of the anthropocentrism’ that respects the fact that all sentient beings have their way of life and their right to exist.
Dharma Master Xien Yueh, Chief Executive in charge of the ULP, said that there are 57 formally registered students of the third Winter School, that doubled in size in comparison to its two predecessors. The growth in the size of the student body despite COVID-19 is ascribed to the belief that people agree that Planet Earth urgently needs solutions to its ecological issues. Among them, 20 students come from an environmental engineering background, which in itself makes a strong statement that the ULP and its Winter School provide a much-needed platform as a catalyst to connect professionals who genuinely care in a shared endeavor for sustainability.
Master Xien Yueh further said that Winter Schools 2019 and 2020 focused on their themes of ‘Transformation’ and ‘Healing’ respectively, whereas Winter School 2021 will concentrate on ‘Decision-making’ and it is hopeful that the online program with its carefully crafted syllabus that covers a comprehensive range of ecology-centric subject matters will help create an environment that encourages 360-degree thinking, in order that participants become even more broad-minded in their vision. It was noted that in the business community the world over, ‘symbiosis-thinking’ is trending that concretely materializes environment-friendly principles of ‘reduce-recycle-reuse’, which may ultimately lead to a win-win for the Earth and the ecology.
Professor Ernst Poppel of the Ludwig Maximilians University of Munich gave a talk on ‘Humans Are Born to Decide: from the Viewpoint of a Neurology Scientist’ and illustrated how decision-making functions, how emotions impact the procedures, and how to steer away from the myth that decisions must be swift and linear for the cause-and-effect factor. The lecture was well-received with enthusiastic feedback from the students and questions included how to strike a balance when weighing all aspects in the process of decision-making, how to enhance and improve the decision-making efficiency for college students.
The two-hour online program witnessed very active participation on the part of the students, who wished the bell would not ring and the session would just go on. Dharma Master Hsin Tao offered to lead the congregation for a practice of Chan meditation to calm the mind and recollect calm and composure to mark the closing of the Opening program of Winter School 2021. More sparkles from consequent programs are expected. Stay tuned.