Environmental and Spiritual Preservation
Buddha’s Light International Association President Master Hsing Yung
In a keynote speech given at FoGuangShan Monastery on October 2, 2010 by BLIA President Master Hsing-Yun, he outlines steps taken by the organization in addressing the direct correlation between the organization’s avocation of the practice of Humanistic Buddhism and environmental preservation, and emphasizes the importance of conscientious lifestyle behaviors to ameliorate environmental problems in the 21st-century.
At a Devotees Gathering in 1992 at Fo Guang Shan, the following twelve guidelines were offered to benefit not only one’s society but also one’s physical environment: (1) Speak quietly – do not disturb others; (2) Keep the ground clean – do not litter; (3) Keep the air clean – do not smoke or pollute; (4) Respect oneself and others – do not commit any violence; (5) Be polite – do not intrude on others; (6) Smile – do not face others with an angry expression; (7) Speak kindly – do not utter abusive words; (8) Follow the rules – do not seek exemptions or privileges; (9) Mind your actions – do not violate rules of ethics; (10) Consume consciously – do not waste; (11) Be grounded – do not live aimlessly, and (12) Practice kindness – do not create malice.
Environmental preservation is the foundation of BLIA’s works, and can be observed in the organization’s dedication toward providing disaster relief and toward long-term projects. In the early 1990s, in order to raise funds for University of the West, BLIA members took the initiative to collect waste before separating and selling them, slowly accumulating funds to build a campus. It was the first university to meet environmental impact assessment standards in the country. Furthermore, BLIA chapters around the world have planted over five million trees and have conducted clean-ups of riverbanks, beaches, oceans, and parks, as part of echoing the campaign for environmental preservation.
Events were held to raise awareness on environmental preservation: the 5th Meeting of the Fourth Board of Directors by BLIA World Headquarters, where motions passed to combat global warming; the International Vegetarian & Organic Food Festival, organized by BLIA, Chunghwa, and Merit Times Daily Newspaper; the “International Forum on Ecological Awareness: How Nations Take Stewardship of the Commons”, where eight hundred participants gathered to discuss how to aid the environment, to implement the saving of energy, and to reduce carbon dioxide emissions.
President Master Hsing-Yun acknowledges the continuous process of environmental preservation, and that, as members of the global village, it is a campaign that is beyond race and crosses borders. Congruous to BLIA’s work on promoting education, he reinforces the idea that education is the root of the maintenance of the public environment. In addition, one can practice environmental preservation by fostering environmentally friendly habits, such as turning off lights, unplugging unused appliances, walking or taking public transport when possible, and reducing the use of paper products as well as recycling at both home and work. As an organization conscious of its directive, BLIA has worked for the past twenty years to raise awareness and to take action to preserve the environment, and will remain dedicated to its responsibility in the future.