Ling Jiou Mountain takes its Global Campaign of “Loving the Earth, Loving Peace” to new Heights

2017-11-16
Ling Jiou Mountain takes its Global Campaign of “Loving the Earth, Loving Peace” to new Heights
Committing further to Inter-faith Dialogues, Ling Jiou Mountain takes its Global Campaign of “Loving the Earth, Loving Peace” to new Heights。

The 6th Buddhist-Christian Colloquium was a recent international symposium and a platform where inter-religious representatives gathered to discuss and promote world peace and non-violence. Founding Abbot of the Ling Jiou Mountain(LJM) monasteries and founder of the Museum of World Religions (MWR), Ven. Chan Master Hsin Tao, on the other hand, has been for many years the driving force behind the global campaign of “Loving the Earth, Loving Peace”, whose ideal coincides with the Colloquium’s theme of non-violence. Master Hsin Tao considers Ling Jiou Mountain’s commitment to inter-faith dialogues and the Buddhist Society’s own initiative with the global campaign both as a religious mission and as a mission for our planet. The Master further hopes for the LJM to align with inter-religious power to achieve global non-violence and manifest his teaching that ‘when the heart is at peace, the world is at peace.’

Master Hsin Tao’s ‘Nine Guidelines to live by’ for ‘Loving the Earth’ echo nicely Pope Francis’s environmental viewpoints as stated in the Papal Encyclical “Laudato Si” (‘Praised Be’) to “enter into dialogue with all people about our common home.”

And on the part of “Loving Peace”, the two religious leaders are almost identical in their enthusiasm in inter-faith communications via listening and dialogues. Very popular and highly esteemed in their respective religion, Pope Francis and Master Hsin Tao have both spared no efforts in building bridges of friendship and fraternity to enhance better mutual understanding among different faiths. The similarities of their ideals testify to the time-honored notion that great minds think alike.

LJM commits itself further to inter-religious dialogues to enhance religious harmony

The 6th Buddhist-Christian Colloquium was co-organized by the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue (PCID), the Chinese Regional Bishops’ Conference, the LJM Buddhist Society, and the Museum of World Religions (MWR). Theme for the international symposium was “Buddhists and Christians Walking Togetheron the Path of Nonviolence”. The symposium took place Nov. 13 through 15 on the premises of the LJM Lower Monasteries at the Sheng Shan Temple, and the Closing Ceremony was held at the Museum of World Religions (MWR) on the 16th of November. The four-day event saw delegations of religious representatives and scholars come together to listen and communicate, while reinforcing friendship and fraternity by virtue of the interfaith platform of the Colloquium. New milestones can be said to have been reached for religious harmony as well as for world peace.

Expert on inter-religious dialogue, Rev. Fr. James L. Fredericks pointed out that Pope Francis specifically requests Catholic Christians to join hands with Buddhists in actions in response to the world’s sufferings. The Pope refers to such co-operations as ‘dialogue of fraternity’ to facilitate new ways of solidarity and co-operation, even though staying true of one’s own religious practice. Vantican runs a busy schedule of inter-religious symposia, and Father James led a delegation of Buddhists and Catholics from California to participate in 2015 in one of the ‘Fraternity Dialogues’ at the Pope’s direct invitation.

Father James further said that Master Hsin Tao and the MWR he founded have been organizing 15 Buddhist-Muslim dialogues in 11 countries in more than a decade. The track record suffices to illustrate how dedicated Master Hsin Tao has always been in his commitment to interfaith exchange that has already earned much international recognition. And 2017 saw Master Hsin Tao commit himself further to the course of inter-religious dialogue by co-organizing the 6th Buddhist-Christian Colloquium. Father James firmly believes that the symposium recently concluded in Taiwan will stay close to the Pope’s heart as one of his favorite ‘Fraternity Dialogues’.

Curbing greed and other wrong desires by meditations must begin a peaceful heart

Master Hsin Tao is of the opinion that the safety for the Earth is only then possible, when there are no longer boundaries that separate countries, regions, races, and religions, and when ‘Loving the Earth’ becomes a valid consensus. To face up to the sufferings and conflicts of the world, Master Hsin Tao points to a spiritual awakening to start out from, and to put an end to the greed and other wrong desires lurking in our hearts by practising meditation.

The Master further highlights the ‘nine guidelines to live by’, namely tranquility, altruism, communications, veganism, recycling, frugality, reduction of carbon footprint, save water, and go green. Master Hsin Tao encourages simple lifestyle, supports protection of anchovies from extinction, promotes to restore indigenous plants, to own community work to clean up the beach, to operate organic farms, to promote vegan cooking class, and to build walking trails to reduce carbon footprint. All these are practical and actionable to concretely demonstrate how we ‘Love the Earth’.

For deep rooting in education, the planned future University for Life and Peace is being built in Myanmar

Having already achieved remarkable results with both the Museum of World Religions and the NGO initiative ‘GFLP’ (Global Family for Love and Peace), Master Hsin Tao now has his eyes on the next project, which is to build up the University for Life and Peace in Myanmar. The international institute of education will have a spiritual education in its backbone and with firm footing in the ideal of ‘Loving the Earth’. The University will operate on a fully structured curricular design and a syllabus built for and around ‘a study system for life and peace education’, meaning issues our Earth needs addressed will be exhausted via specific expertise aimed at achieving solutions that are peaceful and sustainable.

The Pope likewise thinks highly of ecology and spiritual practice, and is on same wave lengths with Master Hsin Tao in global views and approaches

Pope Francis sites the Earth as our common home in the Papal Encyclical on Environment, where he goes on to say that the humankind continues to obtain supplies from the Earth, but causes damages to our planet and abuses resources irresponsibly. Many popes before made clear their environmental stances as well. Archbishop of the Orthodox Church also appealed to the public to replace consumption by sacrifice, and to replace waste by spiritual sharing.

Pope Francis discovered to his disappointment that decision-makers usually make a weak response to crises, and the general public are often opinionated and oppose one another. Consequently, dialogue is the only way to find ways. The Pope, too, has offered suggestions for solutions, and issues addressed include: sustainable and integral ecology for our Earth; the need for new dialogues; think highly of the Earth’s future and all life forms; new lifestyle; principles of harmonious co-existence, co-improvement, co-advancement, and co-ownership for different cultures. Most important are his encyclicals on environment protection and education of ecology, as well as on spiritual education.

From the topics covered in the Papal Encyclicals we easily see similarities with Master Hsin Tao’s efforts in promoting ‘actionable guidelines to live by’ for “Loving the Earth”. The 2017 Buddhist-Chirstian Colloquium further sheds light on how the two religious leaders are indeed like-minded in thought-leadership.

The best testimonial and compliment, however, come from Father James who knows both the Pope and Master Hsin Tao well. In particular, the latter’s unsurpassed foresight and achievement in organizing Buddhist-Muslim dialogues in different countries for more than a decade, has already earned much well-deserved esteem and respect the world over. And then there is the great success of the recent 6th Colloquium that even the Pope will hold dear to his heart with much appreciation. Father James made no secret of his great admiration for Master Hsin Tao, and who can blame him?