30 Year Anniversary of Spiritual Environmental Protection: Interdisciplinary Dialogue for Awakening the World

In 1992, Master Sheng Yen coined the concept of "Spiritual Environmental Protection", revealing a new way of thinking to help mankind overcome crises and obtain happiness. With the 30th anniversary of this great initiative, the Dharma Drum Institute of Liberal Arts held the "2022 Interdisciplinary Dialogue Symposium on Spiritual Environmental Protection " between June 30th and July 1st, inviting nearly 50 scholars from various institutions, with 25 papers published as a result of this event.
Over 200 scholars and audience members attending in person or through online streaming were introduced to the four types of environmental protection advocated by Master Sheng Yen. The abbot Master Guohui explained that environmental protection of the spirit is based in the non-duality of our mind and that of the Buddha; environmental protection of etiquette expresses the non-duality between self and other; environmental protection of life is the non-duality between self and objects; and environmental protection of nature is the unity between the individual and the karmic environment. Spiritual Environmental Protection is the highest wisdom of Buddhism. Dharma Drum Mountain helps modern people understand and apply this principle through the "Fivefold Spiritual Renaissance Campaign" and the "Six Ethics of the Mind".
Spiritual environmental protection is the spiritual enlightenment movement that is urgently needed at present. Xue Fujing, the former president of Taipei University, pointed out in his keynote speech that the countermeasures against the epidemic, stagnant inflation, geopolitics, hybrid wars, food crises, and sudden and irreversible environmental changes are affecting human survival and global security; We are in an era of unprecedented change, and we are losing our ability to predict the direction of history.
Professor Xue Fujing gave examples and analyzed the root causes of these crises. Because they are all driven by people’s minds, when economic growth and technological innovation reach their limit, we must find new awakenings, new visions, and launch a brand-new spiritual enlightenment movement that the world needs, changing our values and understanding and responding to the challenges of this new era with spiritual environmental protection to secure a peaceful future for mankind and all living beings.
This cross-disciplinary dialogue on spiritual environmental protection was divided into three major topics, including the humanities, social sciences, and business management, with a total of 9 sessions. Epidemic, war, long-term care services, sharing economy ... The areas of discussion were all directly relevant to current social issues. These were both the result of individual research and group projects. As an example, professor Chen Dingming lead students to explore business management strategies which combine Buddhism and the principle of filial piety, not only inheriting the spirit of applying what they have learned, but also further promoting industry-university cooperation in the future.
The Dharma Drum Institute of Liberal Arts asserts that Spiritual environmental protection is a precious gift to the world from the founder of Dharma Drum Mountain, Master Sheng Yen, and it is also an antidote to resolve current conflicts and disputes. Following the interdisciplinary seminar on Buddhism and social sciences held in 2019, this year, the institute looks to implement the social care of Chinese Buddhism and the concept of public welfare and altruism through dialogue and exchanges, achieving the long-term goal of combining Buddhism and secular learning.
This seminar’s hosts and reviewers included Qiu Changtai, Jiang Mingxiu, Sun Wei, Guo Chaoshun, Chen Meiling, Lai Zizhen, Yue Jiandong, Yang Bei, Liao Zhaoheng, Ding Xingxiang, Shi Guoguang, Shi Guojing, Zhang Siming, Xu Yonghe, Pang Junheng, Deng Weiren, Lai Xisan, Xie Junkui, and other senior scholars. The event was scheduled to end at noon on July 1st. The Dharma Drum Institute of Liberal Arts invited participants to provide their research results to help share them far and wide through the school journal and the Sheng Yen Research Series to promote the purification of minds and society.
Text: Zhang Yaozhong(張曜鐘)
Photos: Zhang Yaozhong(張曜鐘), Lin Yaying(林雅櫻), Li Chengchong(李承崇)
Video: Lin Yaying(林雅櫻)
Translation: Luke Gibson