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Buddhist Mountains | Mountain of Five Peaks | Sacred Mountain of Emei Shan | ARC's work with sacred mountains - in Chinese | Two major eco-agreements from Chinese Buddhists

Two major eco-agreements from Chinese Buddhists

In April 2006 a groundbreaking Buddhist conference in China issued two major agreements encouraging Buddhists to take practical steps to protect the environment.

One of these is a manifesto – called the Putuoshan Manifesto after the mountain on which the Boddhisatva Guanyin is said to live. Based on the theme of universal peace, the manifesto addresses the environmental crisis directly. It also acknowledges that Buddhists should take individual and group responsibility for a harmonious society.

In addition, a second agreement was reached between Buddhist leaders, emphasising the importance of environmental protection and advocating bringing Buddhist teaching and ecological issues together to achieve a harmonious world.

Background to the agreements

Organisers of the First World Buddhist Forum decided to place the environment high on the agenda for their April 2006 meeting. This followed on partly from their attendance at the Northern Buddhist Alliance meeting in Mongolia the previous year – organised by ARC and the Mongolian Buddhist communities and funded by the World Bank and the Netherlands Government – .

The forum, with its theme that “A harmonious world begins in the mind” was co-hosted by the Buddhist Association of China and the Chinese Association of Religious and Cultural Exchange.

ARC's speech inspires many

ARC’s keynote speech was presented by Dr He Xiaoxin, our project manager for China. It focused on the issues of:

• Protecting people from illusion;
• Protecting species;
• Ecological use of land, sacred mountains, energy etc.
• Creating educational projects.

The full text is available on this website in English and Chinese.

The presentation focused less on theory than on action, raising issues on how Buddhists can get involved in practical and educational projects for conservation for our natural world.

Dr Xiaoxin reported: “The most extraordinary thing is that after delivering my speech, while I was still sitting onstage listening to other people, a very old venerable monk came to the stage with his walking stick. At first I was confused why this master should be walking towards me -this is very unusual in China as nobody is allowed to walk onto a stage during such a conference - and then I heard him say how wonderful ARC's speech had been. Because it was so sudden I forgot to ask his name but just thanked him deeply for his encouragement.”

So important was ARC's involvement that not only were we asked to make the keynote speech on the environment, and to guide their thinking on this part of the programme, but they were also inspired to invite our founder Prince Philip to write a letter of encouragement to the Forum. In the letter he welcomed the enormous step that the Buddhists were making in their environmental thinking, and he also offered ARC’s support in helping Buddhist communities to turn significant teachings into profound actions.

The First World Buddhist Forum was held from 13th to 16th April 2006 in Hangzhou, near Shanghai. There were more than 1,000 delegates of whom some 500 came from outside Mainland China, meaning that this was the biggest conference on Buddhism in China since the communists came to power in 1949.


The First World Buddhist Forum website.

Buddhism on Line - the biggest website on Buddhism in China.

ARC’s speech in Chinese.

ARC’s speech in English.

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Related information

May 8 2006:
Buddhists in China issue two major environment agreements
A groundbreaking Buddhist conference in China has issued two major agreements encouraging Buddhists to take practical steps to improve and protect the environment. Many found ARC's presentation inspiring.
Asia projects
ARC is working in India, China, Cambodia, Mongolia and elsewhere, helping local faith communities protect their environment
Buddhist Faith Statement
A formal statement of Buddhist beliefs about creation and ecology: "The trees are like our mother and father, they feed us, nourish us, and provide us with everything"