"We are all about Actions with Loving the Earth" LJM mobilizes for Beach Clean-up for 3 Years running
Sparing no efforts on his part in promoting the ‘Loving the Earth, Loving Peace’ ideal long-term to help safeguard the ecology of land and ocean, Dharma Master Hsin Tao as the Founding Abbot of Ling Jiou Mountain Buddhist Society (LJM) says that the future of the Earth is also mankind's future. It is therefore our conviction that a seemingly insignificant action in cleaning up a short stretch of the beach will contribute to the Earth's self-healing mechanism as long as we keep at it over time without failing.
Dharma Master Hsin Tao thinks highly of the clean-up of mountains, waters, and one's mind. With his birthday approaching in October, Venerable Master Hsin Tao says that if we insist on celebrating the occasion, there is no better way than go clean up the mountains and the waters and take actions for ‘Loving the Earth’ where our mouths are. For the sandy coast at Fu Lung and the holy mountainous environment of LJM, Dharma Master Hsin Tao has since long been dedicating relentless efforts. In fact, Dharma Master Hsin Tao initiated the ‘Clean Earth’ environmental movement in Fu Lung as early as in 1997.
The LJM campaign runs on the slogan of ‘Join our beach-cleaning for an hour a month’ and in the course of 3 years, it has grown from a meager kick-off with just 6 participants to a sizable community action that draws a crowd of more than a hundred people three or four times every month for the voluntary mission, achieving a head-count of 3,568 participants collecting a total weight of rubbish at 9,266Kg over a span of 3 years.
Rubbish everywhere, choking the Oceans
LJM officially committed itself to care-giving for the beach passway where the Shih Ding Creek flows into the sea at Gong Liao, and for the Wa Tzu Beach next to the Dong Xing Temple at Fu Lung in August 2017 and September 2018 respectively. The commitment pledges monthly clean-up action of an hour between 3 to 4 o'clock P.M. on the 2nd Saturday for the sites on an alternating monthly schedule. The commitment has been renewed for both sites for an extension of 3 more years. LJM is of the view that awareness of ecology is part and parcel of a lifestyle, while great compassion helps safeguard our true hearts. The extension of the LJM coastal clean-up suggests that our future action will stack up from beach-cleaning to deep-cleansing of the beach sand as a way to concretely manifest the ‘Loving the Earth’ ideal of Dharma Master Hsin Tao while embodying a part of the collective geo-memory of the Fu Lung area as it upgrades to a coastal paradise.
People have begun to subscribe to the knowledge that nothing happens when nothing is done, and changes happen when actions are taken. Environmental protection as a duty, therefore, falls on everyone's shoulders, and small deeds gather up magnitude to make the world a better place. There is no official guideline for Taiwan's coast as an island, but it is common knowledge that the time is of the essence. Statistics of international studies have put disposable tableware and plastic rubbish as the two top culprits for the oceans’ deteriorating ecology. Photos of rubbish dumped into the oceans and sea turtles dying from plastic straws blocking their nostrils have sent shock waves throughout the world.
Beach-cleaning everywhere has clearly shown that choking the oceans draws backfires as evidenced by the rubbish we find along the beach, washed up or already half-buried in the sand. Anyone would be amazed at what the collected rubbish includes - packing foams, plastic items ranging from bottles, buckets, bags, to straws and other stuff like shoes, fishnet, containers, etc. Broken glasses, bottle caps, even BBQ grills, are often found after visitors’ outing on the beach. Thus our beach-cleaning has migrated from simple waste-collection along the beach to really digging up rubbish from under the beach surface.
Quality Time with the Kids for a Field-Day with Beach-cleaning
In the course of three years running and with our efforts in doing our share for the beach, we began to see hermit crabs return among other positive signs. We have also amassed 400 people to join our action. We planted cosmos flowers along the beach walkway of the Shih Ding Creek. We combined Chan meditation with beach-cleaning for kids and their accompanying parents on Earth Day this year. It is putting words into deeds for hands-on in lessons of compassion and of ecology. And people walk away with lingering memories of the sight how kids literally enjoyed a good sweat-out in the sun on the beach - not playing, but collecting rubbish to help keep the beach clean.
Another milestone of our beach-cleaning efforts was achieved when LJM mobilized followers to join the campaign of ‘Loving the Earth by Tree-planting & Beach-cleaning’ for the Shih Ding Creek of Gong Liao in May 2018, to coincide with the completion of the Maha Karuna-Dharani retreat by LJM as a dedication to helping ‘Change people’s Mind & Keep the Earth safe with Compassion’. A sizable crowd showed up for the tree-planting to help with the Earth's rising temperature due to Climate Change. Media publicity is evidence and proof that it was a successful promotion.
Meanwhile, our beach-cleaning efforts have drawn outside support to add new features such as increasingly younger participation and joint promotions via tie-in mechanism with the business communities. We cooperated with DHL twice last year and both occasions saw more than 100 volunteers chip in to the ‘Voluntary Day’ campaign. Our tie-in with the Fullon Hotel chain in June, July, and August also bundled the Sand Sculpture Festival for tourism promotion alongside our action for the environment. A cumulative total of collected rubbish weighing 696Kg was among the net results besides media publicity and word of mouth to boost our campaign.
The LJM Facebook official site also maintains a fan page dedicated specifically to the ‘Loving the Earth / Loving Peace via Beach-cleaning’ message center as a diversified distribution outlet for beach-cleaning via reduced use of plastics, ecology, and veganism, among other topical issues. The site enjoys a growing number of eye-balls and stickiness, and many fans communities have hit the ‘share’ icon to invite their circle of friends to join. Other private beach-cleaning initiatives have approached LJM for tie-in efforts, with our own LJM follower community growing fast in both numbers and enthusiasm. On the International Coastal Clean-up Day on September 19, 2020, LJM launched its ‘Deep-cleansing Action’ to take its dedication one step further to really clean up the beach by digging up rubbish not just on the surface, but already half-buried in beach sand on the coast. The positive feedback is evidence and proof that it was a new twist of our long-term campaign both well-conceived and well-received.
Positive Feedback from Netizens encourages more to join the LJM
‘Loving the Earth’ Movement via a Chain of Fb-Share Mechanism
"Loving the Earth" begins with our daily life. The 9-point livelihood guidance of "tranquility, compassion, dialogue, veganism, recycling, frugality, reduction of carbon dioxide, conservation of water resources, and go Green’ originated from Dharma Master Hsin Tao’s outlook on life, whereas his ideal of ‘Loving the Earth / Loving Peace’ has become the embodiment of LJM's core value. To minimize the risk of crowd infection of COVID-19, the LJM beach-cleaning campaign has taken up a digital migration for online interactions with LJM’s Facebook fan base. Netizens are invited to join our ‘Loving the Earth by doing good deeds’ campaign by uploading photos with comments onto our Fb fan page titled ‘Loving the Earth / Loving Peace via Beach-cleaning’ to boost the bounce-back mechanism via the ‘Share’ icon. The response has been quite impressive to show how our Fb fans have been taking actions to manifest their conviction of the ‘Loving the Earth’ idea. Their dedication to helping safeguard planet Earth is best reflected in their statement that ‘we can put our feet down and hold together to do our share in cleaning up the Earth even just a tiny bit of it.’
Beach-cleaning is a whole new mechanism to trigger awareness of the environment while helping people realign their lifestyle with the realization that keeping the oceans clean is our collective responsibility. Dharma Master Hsin Tao says that ‘only when the Earth lives on, all beings continue to be and the humankind has a fair chance of survival. To have the Earth flip its karma, it necessitates our mindfulness and positive consciousness. I firmly believe that we are all ready to take responsibilities, fulfill duties, and handle the consequences of our actions. I expect everyone to contribute to flipping the Earth's karma and turn the tidal waves of adversities around.’
To do justice to ecology is to love the Earth, and small deeds accumulate to a powerful magnitude for impact. Dharma Master Hsin Tao says that if we do not change nor do people subscribe to the notion of change, then planet Earth would be like strapped to a time bomb that can go off any time. Once the ecology is disabled, no life forms survive and humankind becomes extinct. Everyone must stop all malignant actions that damage the Earth and harm lives. Instead, we need to identify new wisdom for life in a co-existing symbiosis with ecology.