Eight Year Plan
||Dr Xiaoxin He and Venerable Jue Xing, Vice President, Buddhist Association, China collect their certificates from HRH The Prince Philip and HE Mr Ban Ki-moon.
In November 2009 the Shanghai Buddhists launched their Eight Year Plan to protect the living planet. Amongst more than 30 faith plans they celebrated the launch at Windsor Castle in the presence of HRH The Prince Philip, founder of ARC, and UN Secretary General Mr Ban Ki-moon who, during his speech, reminded the faith representatives that "You can, and do, inspire people to change".
Following from its own teaching, Buddhism believes that the only way to begin changing our existing environment, is to change our inner mind. But how can people’s minds be open to change when they are already lost in the pursuit of high-consumption lifestyles? How can such people’s spiritual realm and sense of social responsibility be enhanced? The Shanghai Buddhists believe that this is the shared responsibility of the world's Religions and have therefore made their own eco-commitment.
Their Eight Year Plan consists of:
- Promoting ecological thinking hidden within teachings; holding regular environmental lectures and seminars; running Zen “Mind Meditation Camps” including teaching about mindfulness to Nature etc.
- Recommending that Buddhist-owned restaurants do not serve meat from wild animals, and are promoting that followers eat a more vegetarian diet, to protect the environment.
- The non-polluting incense programme to promote offering locally grown flowers instead of burning incense sticks to pay respect to Buddha. This would not only reduce air pollution but also prettify the monastery’s environment.
- Greening the monasteries in China: Increasing the “green” elements in the monastery; adopting Green design; encouraging monks, nuns and monastery staff to save energy; reducing pollution; recycling and improving household goods.
- Protecting rivers by extending their involvement in the 'Mother River Care Project' to protect the Suzhou, the mother river of Shanghai. This involves regular clean- ups.
- The monasteries holding 'Releasing Lives' ceremonies. This is not just about releasing animals and birds from captivity but also helps awaken the Buddhist sense of compassion to educate believers to respect all sentient beings, and stop cruelty to the natural world.
- Working with media outlets to spread knowledge about the environment and encourage support for their environmental activities.
- Celebrating the environment by highlighting one Buddhist festival day as an environment day for the monasteries.
...and much, much more!
On May 20th 2010 the Mongolian Buddhists announced the first draft of their own Long Term Plan to protect the environment.
Also spanning eight years, the plan will include promoting the use of traditional construction practices for monasteries, providing solar energy to monastic communities, raising public awareness on forest fires, educating young monks and members of the lay community on environmental practices, reducing waste, and looking for the ancient ecological teachings that can be found in the ancient sutras which were hidden during the 60 years of communist rule last century.
Read more about the Mongolian Plan here
Full list of 31 faith plans
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