Spiritual Environmentalism on the
Regeneration of Agriculture in the Era of Climate Change Conference

Starting with the Mind as the Ultimate Solution

To advocate the attitude of gratitude to the earth and respect for all life species, DDM held the first Spiritual Environmentalism on the Regeneration of Agriculture in the Era of Climate Change conference at Chang Yung-Fa Foundation Evergreen International Convention Center on October 26 and 27.

In discussing the crises and opportunities regarding environmental issues and humanity, Venerable Hui Min (惠敏法師), President of Dharma Drum Institute of Liberal Arts, stressed in his opening remarks the severity of climate change, DDM Abbot President Venerable Guo Huei (果暉法師) pointed out the importance of peaceful coexistence between mankind and nature, while Venerable Chang Ji (常濟法師) shared the latest development of the 17 UN Sustainable Development Goals. They all elaborated on the fundamental philosophy of Regeneration of Agriculture in the Era of Climate Change.

Afterwards, three youth farmers shared their successful stories and practices, followed by the Korean HANSALIM (韓莎林) cooperative organization presented their system of agricultural distribution channel based on their belief of “mental civilization”. At the final session, the issue of raising consumers’ awareness and changing their purchasing pattern was discussed. Their contributions instantly drew attention from participants and raised their concerns. In addition, DDM later on organized an experience exchange workshop and a farm visit, which were well received.

Dr. Lur Huu-Sheng (盧虎生院長), dean of National Taiwan University’s College of BioResources and Agriculture, said that the ultimate solution for climate change and its impacts lies in changing human activity, and Protecting the Spiritual Environment is the key to the solution. Venerable Guo Huei later made a keynote speech entitled “Starting with the Mind –Sustainable Development of Earth,” expressed that human activity is linked to climate change and the earth’s ecology, and that starting with the mind of wisdom and compassion, the core value of DDM’s Protecting the Spiritual Environment campaign, would contribute to the solution.

Citing the Four Kinds of Environmentalism movement launched by late Master Sheng Yen, as an example, Venerable Guo Huei proposed developing a scientific and artistic way of agriculture based on the philosophy of protecting the living environment, which centers on the relationships between humans and materials; a form of agriculture featuring mutual help and service based on the philosophy of protecting the social environment, which focuses on human interaction; a type of agriculture that ensures co-existence and mutual prosperity based on the philosophy of protecting the natural environment, with an emphasis on human-nature relationships; and a mode of agriculture that helps purify people’s minds based on the philosophy of protecting the spiritual environment, which urges one to cultivate one’s own mind.

By combining practical experiences and scientific analytical methods, three young farmers—Zhang Haoyan (張顥嚴), Lin Zhe’an (林哲安), and Gong Zhejing (龔哲敬)—put their belief into action, in their specialized fields of tea growing, ecological preservation, and outsourcing farming. With a common conviction of protecting lives, the three of them shared their experience about how their approaches had helped cut down the cost of business operation, significantly enhance the quality of produce, recover the ecology, and, most importantly, bring joy to their lives. They encouraged farmers to rethink the way humans relate to the environment, and establish a global view that reflects the reality.

DDM Vice Abbot Venerable Guo Xiang (果祥法師), also the conference convener, in her closing remarks quoted a Buddhist saying, “be the same way as bees gathering from flowers, only taking the pollen without harming their form or scent,” (如蜂採花,但取其味,不損色香) to remind producers and the public to be mindful of the Buddhist principle of dependent origination, that all phenomena are inseparable, closely connected to each other. The venerable also advised people to learn to reduce their self-centeredness and treat the earth and all beings with more loving-kindness and compassion, in terms of both agricultural production and consumption, as a joint effort to better protect the earth, which we and other creatures rely on for survival.

Chang, Yao-Chong (張曜鐘) / Elenda Huang
Lee, Fan (李東陽);Tseng, Li-Xia (曾麗霞); Lin, Ya-Ying (林雅櫻)
Elenda Huang
DDM Editorial Team; Chang, Chia-Cheng (張家誠)

Extended Readings - Venerable Guo Xiang

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Regeneration of Agriculture in the Era of Climate Change Conference