China Daoist Ecology Protection Eight Year Plan
||From ancient times, Chinese Daoism has always put a great emphasis on Dao following nature.
China Daoist Ecology Protection
Eight Year Plan
The continuing social and technological progress of recent years has brought a great deal of convenience to our lives while at the same time causing a deterioration of the natural environment and climate. This has cast a great shadow over the future of humanity.
From ancient times, Chinese Daoism has always put a great emphasis on Dao following nature. It pays a great attention to the harmony and balance of heaven, earth and humanity, and the balance between Yin and Yang. Humanity should obey nature’s rules, maintain the balance of our ecological system and protect the species that live beside us. This unique wisdom will be a powerful and effective weapon for us to battle the environment problems we are facing. Today, Daoism stands in the frontline of our times: it wishes to guide people through the obstacles of environmental problems through their own Daoist beliefs, and it wishes to rekindle the fire of our old wisdom to bring us new inspiration and hope.
It is for the reasons cited above that we have decided to draw up an Eight Year Plan, stretching from 2010 to 2017, which will enable us to protect the environment more effectively. Beginnning from 2010, we will start working on the six suggested areas of action listed below:
First, maximising the ecological benefit achieved from our Daoist assets
We will store and repair religious and environment-related facilities on land owned and used by Daoist temples. From 2010 to 2012 we will draw up an overall action plan and from 2013 to 2017 we will promote the experiences we have learned across the country. The environmental facilities include: ritual facilities, education facilities, living facilities, recycling facilities and environment-related media facilities.
||Temples will be encouraged to limit the use of incense sticks to help reduce pollution.
b. Travel and Pilgrimage
We call for a healthier and more environmentally friendly style of travel and pilgrimage. The reforms and improvements on pilgrimage styles have already started in Daoist temples and on Daoist mountains. It mainly focuses on the “three stick incense burning” – in which temples strongly promote a new tradition of burning just three sticks of incense instead of the previous many sticks - in order to reduce pollution caused by burning incense, candles, papers and fireworks on Daoist premises. From 2010 to 2012 we will carry out pilot projects (selecting one to two temples from each of the major regions) and from 2013 to 2017 we will promote and pass on the experiences we learned from these projects to temples across the country.
We will also call for a better use of the forest resources around Daoist temples. We will create special meditation sites in the forests – in order to help visitors understand nature and natural systems better during their times of relaxation and entertainment. We have already opened up such places in a few temples. From 2012 onwards we will promote this practice in the grounds of suitable Daoist temples.
c.) Healthcare and Health practices
We will work to rediscover some of the ancient health-promoting practices within Daoism, and we will continue to open up life-nourishing, health-promoting places both within and outside Daoist temples. We will provide food therapy, medicine therapy and healthcare programs in Daoist temples and hold talks on healthcare, taichi, chi gong and other exercises and practices. Currently we are experimenting on the best way to carry out these projects. From 2010 to 2012 we will promote the experiences we have already learned in some of the Daoist temples around China and from 2013 to 2017 we will promote this in suitable temples across the country.
d. Ethical, Social and Ecological Industries and Investment
We will graduately build industries and enterprises that are related to - and accord with - Daoist principles. For example, the Mao Shan Daoist Life Nourishing Company is currently enjoying a test run. We are planning to open other Daoist Life Nourishing schools, as well as nursing homes and health care centres in suitable temples across the country. Ecological concepts will be integrated into the management of running of these places. We are planning to open up pilot projects from 2010 to 2012, and from 2013 to 2017 we will begin to promote this practice with due caution.
Secondly, provide ecological education for a wide range of people, especially the young
2） a. Education projects
In terms of facilities, we will require Daoist temples to put up or provide ecological education materials in their libraries and reading rooms.
In terms of concept, we will make it a practice to hold a Daoist ecology protection forum on a regular basis. We will also hold regular ecology protection talks in temples and give out printed materials.
Our ecology education project started from just one province, but it has already spread to 50 temples nationwide. In 2012, we are hoping to build 200 or more Daoist temples.
b. Environment management
We will build better standards and regulations on ecology protection. Currently, all Daoist temples have made environment-related regulations, but they are not yet ideal. From 2010 onwards, we will graduately make more systematic regulations and by 2017 we hope all Daoist temples will have complete and systematic ecology regulations in place.
c.Youth League and Camping
We will run summer camps to attract young people and students from China and abroad to pay attention to Daoist temple ecology. We will carry out a pilot project in 2010, and from 2013 onwards we will graduately promote this practice across the country.
d. Ecology Sister Temples
The Maoshan Daoist temple in Jiangsu Province, and the Zhongnan Mountain Gu Lou Temples in Shanxi Province have recently become twinned temples. They can participate in each other’s religious affairs and exchange personnel and information. From 2010 onwards, we will promote this practice in certain areas. However, these twinned temples should share some common ground in order for this to work.
Third, belief, tradition and wisdom.
a. Keeping simple lifestyles.
In Daoist temples we will continue to advocate a simple and energy saving living styles. We will also promote this kind of lifestyles to visitors and pilgrims through Daoist concepts of simplicity and thrift.
Our training will be mainly carried out by separate Daoist temples, supported by training held by the Daoist Associations and the Daoist academies. In 2010 we will start three pilot projects, and from 2012 onwards we will promote this practice across the country.
c. Crisis management
We will carry the Daoist traditions of charity and benevolence forward, and we will also participate in disaster relief and poverty alleviation through two means: material support and providing human compassionate care. When the tsunami in south Asia, the snowstorm in south China and the earthquake in Sichuan happened, Chinese Daoists actively participated in disaster relief. We have also held prayers for the living, and rituals for peace for those who died. We will make these prayers into part of our structure after 2010.
d. Rituals, quotations and prayers
We will integrate ecological concepts into our Daoist rituals. We have already experimented with this in some of the Daoist temples - for instance, in the Purple Cloud temple in Guangdong we have written prayers for the causes of the tsunami in South Asia. From 2010 onwards, we will gradually make standards for this kind of prayers.
We will cooperate with forest and tourist organizations to hold activities that will help protect our sacred mountains. We have already started protection projects on Daoist sacred mountains like Huashan, Taishan, Hengshan, Zhongnanshan, Maoshan, Qingcheng Shan, Wu Dang shan, Luofu shan, Longhu Shan and San Qing Shan etc. From 2010 onwards we hope to cover most of the temples nationwide.
f. Stories and practice
We will collect traditional stories and stories to provide useful lessons for today’s environmental reality. The years 2010 to 2011 will be our collecting period: during this time we will arrange the stories we have collected, and then will print and publish them. From 2012 onwards, Daoist temples from across the country will write their own Daoist ecology story collection.
Fourth, Daily life
a. Daily Life
Daoists should select their daily timetable and their food according to natural principles. Their living style should be environmentally friendly. They should also practice traditional Daoist life nourishing exercises, including tai chi and chi gong.
Environment friendly and energy saving should be the standards for Daoist temples’ energy choices. Daoist temples should also establish structures that will help to reprocess and recycle used items and waste.XXX. We will make standard regulations by 2010 and from 2011 onwards we will promote these experiences.
Travelling by pilgrims
We will call for pilgrims to walk to temples wherever possible. We will do our best to reduce damage and pollution caused by cable cars and other vehicles. We will encourage tourists to either walk or use hybrid cars or electric trams. We will also suggest that related government departments should reduce vehicle use on most Daoist tourist sites by 2017.
Fifth, cooperating with environment-related departments to create our Daoist environmental network
a. By asserting standards, rules and regulations, we hope to attract the attention of environmental departments of different levels of government.
Building the Daoist Ecology Protection Network
In 2006 we established a preliminary Daoist ecology protection network. Now, just two years later, it covers 10 provinces and areas and we hope that by 2010 it will cover most Daoist temples across the country.
Forming connections with international environment organizations
With the help and guidence of Government religious departments, we have established good and effective cooperation with the Alliance of Religions and Conservation (ARC) and two other international environment organizations - EMF and WWF. We also have the support of the UNDP. We are hoping to expand this cooperation from 2010 onwards.
We will emphasise ecological concepts in traditional Daoist festivals, such as the birthday of the Supreme Lord Laozi and other religious festivals. Some provinces have already begun to preach Daoist ecological concepts during Daoist festivals. From 2010 onwards, we will require all temples to emphasize ecology protection during both Daoist festivals and temple fairs.
b. Art and Dance
We will produce Daoist ecology songs and dances, and will use these kind of art forms during temple fairs to help pilgrims and vistors understand the concept of Daoist Ecology. In 2010, we will carry out three pilot projects and from 2012 to 2017 we will promote these practices across the country.
*** Link here for news of the Third Daoist Ecology Forum which opened on 27 October 2008 in Jurong, near Nanjing in Jiangsu Province.
*** Link here to read the Mao Shan Declaration in Chinese and English.
*** Link here for details of Martin Palmer's introductory talk at the Daoist Ecology Forum in Jurong.
*** Link here for details of Martin Palmer's response to the Daoist Ecology Forum in Jurong.
*** Link here for details of UN's representative, Olav Kjorven's speech at the Third Daoist Ecology Forum in Jurong.
*** And link
here to read an article on Daoism and climate change written by Olav Kjorven.
*** Link here to download the Daoist Eight Year Plan in pdf (209KB).
here to download the Mao Shan Declaration in pdf (116KB).
*** Link here for more Daoist eco-news.
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