Dharma Master Hsin Tao on Spirituality for Water Adaptation

Submitted by Ase Johannessen | published 19th Nov 2021 | last updated 5th Jan 2023
Lake and monk


Thank you Mr. Henk, the organizer, for your invitation, and for the organization’s long-term support for the earth's ecology. I am very happy to have this opportunity to share the concept of ecology with everyone here.

We are talking about the vision of adapting to climate change from the perspective of Buddhism. Buddhism is returning to the original spiritual nature, realizing that all things have the same root and the same life entity, therefore transcending the material phenomena of the world, and then we can send out compassion and great love from our inherent spirituality. According to the Huayan (Avatamsaka) Sutra, "One embodying Everything without any barriers, One without any difference from Everything, mutually luminating and reflecting, an infinite Indra life network, so therefore spirituality and ecology are inseparable.

What is the source of the problem? Some people would say that the creator created this world. At the beginning, the world was beautiful and the human heart was pure and good. Now,the earth is no longer healthy and humankind is not able to take in the nutrients needed.

But who is the Creator? He is the motivation (thoughts) in each of us. The human heart has left purity and moved towards the five poisonous desires of: greed, hatred, ignorance, pride, and suspicion. We do all kinds of evil deeds, destroying the structure of the earth, subverting the ecological balance, resulting in climate change, causing the formation of various disasters of land, water, fire and wind. In just a few hundred years, humankind has destroyed the originally harmonious, complex and cyclic ecosystem of the earth.

We must find the real source of the problem and find the Creator. Only when the Creator is awakened can the crisis of human existence be resolved. That is to say, we must understand that the entire Earth is an organism; all elements are interlocked, interdependent and coexisting, connecting to form a complete system. Therefore, by recognizing the reality of life is  "all beings is one life entity", one can actively protect the sustainability of the ecology. This is the spirit of Buddhism that is “Unconditional Love and Universal Compassion”.

All awakening must start with education! The "University of Life and Peace" we are now planning is a global education platform that promotes "Spiritual Ecology”. "Spirituality" transcends the material world. "Spiritual ecology" is the discovery that "everything has spirituality.” From a spiritual perspective, we see that everything is equal and that we are in partnership with each other. Therefore, we cannot hold on to a "people-oriented" way of thinking as a basis for survival, attempt to control the world, plunder the earth's resources and the rights of survival of other life. But instead an “All- oriented" mindset, understanding that each species has its function and role in the ecological cycle. We must respect the value of existence in all, embracing and giving each other's living space, sharing what each other need with unconditional love, and coexisting together to establish a harmonious, sustainable and resilient cycle.

Seeing that all components of ecology are interconnected, coordinated and essential from spirituality, human beings, the earth, and all species form a common living body that live together in harmony. We co-exist together in biodiversity inter-dependently. So when we give compassion, nature will be beautiful, but at the same time, when we treat it with evil thoughts, nature will inevitably retaliate. This is the law of cause and effect in Buddhism. Like the source of our life, water; it is a key element that nourishes all things, moisturizes the earth, and stabilizes the climate. It also has the mission of connecting these bio-diversified lives. All religions regard water as a sacred existence, which can purify our body, mind, and soul. It is the source of all lives. only when people respect it can they receive holy nourishment and protection.

Buddha told us to save water,  protect trees, and prohibit pollution of water sources, all of which are ecological conservation actions of water purification, water conservation, and water protection. The recent floods and droughts all over the world have caused major disasters at unpredictable speed and scope. This is the ultimate warning of the deterioration of the ecological cycle and the crisis of human survival in the future. Looking at water governance from the spiritual ecology will be an important topic and opportunity.

Spiritual ecology expresses that, "Spirituality is Ecology, and Ecology is Spirituality." Through the platform of university education, we will integrate "spiritual ecology" into various professional fields, achieving cross-cooperation, and generate actions based on spiritual awakening and knowledge. Spirituality which is similar across religions, is like water, irrigating a multi-connected and mutually dependent and benefiting ecology, guiding us to love the earth together.

From the perspective of Spiritual Ecology, humankind will be aware and muster self-discipline to change their current way of life, putting aside desires and weapons, stopping all plundering and wars. And through the collective desire to love the earth, allow the earth to breathe and be nourished. Let us invite you to join us in establishing this university made for the earth and all lives.

I wish the webinar success. Let us walk together on the road of awakening to love the earth, make the earth safe and sustainable. Thank you, my earth-loving friends for hosting this event.

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