Dharma Master Hsin Tao Advocates Global Ecological Ethics at Parliament of the World’s Religions

Dharma Master Hsin Tao Advocates Global Ecological Ethics at Parliament of the World’s ReligionsAs the week-long 7th Parliament of the World’s Religions (PoWR) progressed to its latter half yesterday (Nov 5), Dharma Master Hsin Tao, founding abbot of the Ling Jiou Mountain Buddhist Society, and founder of the Museum of World Religions, delivered a speech at the evening plenary on reconciliation to express his concern on the current ecological crisis. Master Hsin Tao issued an urgent call for interfaith collaboration in promoting a global ecological ethics and a joint movement on Loving Earth, Loving Peace, so that the work of achieving harmony between all life forms and a resolution of the environmental crisis could be carried out steadfastly and peacefully.

A long-time supporter and partner of the PoWR, Master Hsin Tao is leading a team of volunteers from the Musuem of World Religions (MoWR) to the conference for the fifth consecutive time. He delivered a closing prayer for world peace at the Parliament’s opening ceremony in the evening of Thursday (Nov 1). In his opening statement at the panel on Spiritual Ecology organized by the MoWR on Friday (Nov 4), he advocated for confronting the problem of extreme weather and other environmental crisis from the perspective of Spiritual Ecology. He was also invited to speak at yesterday’s (Nov 5) evening plenary on reconciliation.

Master Hsin Tao said that global warming, climate change, disruptions to the seasonal cycle, and recurring natural disasters will lead to the extinction of species as genetic memories are repeatedly thrown into disarray. Building on the Parliament’s emphasis on global ethics over the past 25 years, he put forward a plan of action based on a global ecological ethics. He appealed to all to begin by forming interconnections through love, and to return to harmony between human beings and the earth by putting principles of ecological ethics into practice. He highlighted a return to spirituality as the pathway towards healing for the earth, calling on all to draw on the wisdom of indigenous people on ecological harmony. He also introduced his ongoing project on a University for Life and Peace as a step towards discovering the root causes of the environmental crisis and on developing concrete strategies to their resolution.

He exhorted all to transcend religious and professional borders to work towards the common goal of saving the planet by changing hearts and minds through the power of harmonious resonance. He also prayed for sustaining the planet, and for reconciliation among all species towards achieving a mutually beneficial coexistence.

Speaking to the conference’s main theme on climate change and the current ecological crisis, an issue of grave concern to the many religious leaders attending the Parliament, Master Hsin Tao’s words struck a chord with many conference participants.

Yesterday (Nov 5) at noon, Master Hsin Tao also spoke at the panel on Making Friends Across Religions. Panel chair Rabbi Alon Goshen-Gottstein hailed Master Hsin Tao’s plan of action as inspirational, calling as it did on interfaith friendships to give rise to further collaborative action.

Master Hsin Tao was also invited to lead a guided meditation session yesterday (Nov 5) in the early morning. In a room filled to capacity, Master Hsin Tao expounded on samatha (concentration) and vipassanā (reflective insight) as the two pillars of meditation, sharing the Chan story of Mahakasyapa smiling as the Buddha held up a flower as demonstrating a moment of insight. Many participants stood in line to raise questions. The Master’s answers were frequently punctuated by nods of understanding and bursts of laughter from the audience. An elderly, partially-blind man told the Master that he felt as if he were sitting in the clouds, and could now clearly see the way he was going. Other participants spoke of feeling relaxed, clear-headed, peaceful, and of feeling the Master’s compassion.