Master Hsin Tao calls for returning to spirituality at London interfaith summit on climate justice

Master Hsin Tao calls for returning to spirituality at London interfaith summit on climate justiceThe Elijah Interfaith Institute, a UNESCO-sponsored non-profit organization, gathered world religious leaders in London during November 9 and 13 for a conference on Climate Justice and Repentance. An interfaith proclamation on climate was announced on November 13. Master Hsin Tao, Founding Abbot of the Ling Jiou Mountain Buddhist Society (LJM), was invited to join the event. The Master graced with a pre-recorded video featuring Buddhist rituals of repentance and prayers for blessing, advocating a return to spirituality to safeguard the Earth’s ecology with love and compassion.

The summit on climate justice and repentance was held at the Rambam Sephardi Synagogue in London, where conferees voiced their concern over global major issues ranging from the extreme climate to energy crisis. The gathering concurred the 27th United Nations Climate Change conference (COP 27) in Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt, with more than 90 heads of state and an estimated 35,000 representatives, or delegates, of 190 countries expected to attend.

The interfaith conference was initiated and hosted by Jewish Rabbi Alon Goshen-Gottstein. Religious representatives to the conference included Jewish Rabbi Arthur Green from Boston, Jewish Rabbi Jonathan Wittenberg from London, the 104th Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams, Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf from New York, Bishop in the Anglican Church of Australia Philip Huggins from Melbourne, Buddhist Monk and Zen Master Jinwol Lee from South Korea, and Dr. Maria Reis Habito, who represented Master Hsin Tao in her capacity as the Director of International Affairs of the Museum of World Religions (MWR).

Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, the spiritual leader of the Greek Orthodox, remarked that to label abuse of natural resources as sin is not only a shock tactic, but it finds a unison in the Bible’s values. We should appreciate that all lives are unique and that the world’s resources should be shared amongst everyone.

Archbishop Tapio Juhani Luoma of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Finland cited real-life examples from his country to show that how individuals live and their living patterns can grow to create the butterfly effect. He expressed the hope to see that the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) unveiled by the United Nations in 2015 to end poverty, protect the planet, and ensure that by 2030 all people enjoy peace and prosperity would be reached on a twin basis of selflessness and containment.

Bhai Sahib Bhai Mohinder Singh from Birmingham, UK, made the appeal to treat Nature with love and awe, and not with abuse in denial of natural backlashes. Chidanand Saraswati, a temple initiator for Hindu Jainism in Pittsburgh, USA, performed mantra chanting for repentance and purification in his mother tongue.

It is commonly shared that community and religious leaders play a pivotal role on issues of climate change and climate justice to exercise impact on the profound changes from within. All meaningful changes in people’s attitude must begin with a change of their mind, and that’s where religion functions as a mind-changing catalyst. The 5-day conference progressed on tackling 10 climate and repentance topics for group discussions, with the last day reserved for all present faiths to celebrate their respective ritual of repentance before joining in to deliver the interfaith proclamation on climate.

Master Hsin Tao honored his invitation to the event by sharing his contribution via a pre-recorded video that he performed the Buddhist ritual of repentance in the presence of Buddha and chanting of a prayer for blessings for the Earth. The accompanying narration stressed that Earth-scorching warfare must be curbed. The Master further called out to fellow religious leaders at the conference to voice out support for the Earth and he hopes for religious solidarity for all to become protectors of eco-sustainability.

Master Hsin Tao remarked that there is only one Planet Earth and it is the only space that affords our very existence. It falls upon world leaders of religion to lead people away from hatred and greed and stop inflicting further damage onto the Earth. The power of religion should be employed to salvage mankind’s mental purity to enable reflections on how best to reverse the way the Earth is treated. Humans, the Master urged, should apply our innate love and compassion to love all sentient beings and safeguard global ecology, mitigating all conflicts and returning to the inborn spirituality. The universe was created by the sentient beings, each of whose existence should be valued and accommodated, said Master Hsin Tao, who reiterated that with the love to all sentient beings we shall embrace peace of mind, which can ultimately lead to a peaceful and sustainable Earth.

The Elijah Interfaith Conference on Climate Justice & Repentance