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President of the Jogye Order issues the official statement on June 4 to mark World Environment Day, in a pledge to overcome climate crisis and achieve carbon neutrality

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Writer Jogye Date08 Jun 2021 Read433 Comment0

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(Picture) Most Ven. Wonhaeng addressing the crowd on the Buddha’s Birthday in 2021. He pledged the Jogye Order’s commitment to the goal of carbon neutrality and the sanctity of life in his statement published on June 4. The president of the Jogye Order of Korean Buddhism has been consistently emphasizing the importance of environmental issues to all Buddhists, epitomized by his new year’s press conference and his speech commemorating the Buddha’s Birthday in B.E 2565.

 

 

As climate change is emerging as one of the biggest global-scale concerns, Most Ven. Wonhaneg, the president of the Jogye Order of Korean Buddhism has committed the Order’s full support to overcome climate crisis and achieve carbon neutrality by issuing an official statement to mark World Environment Day on June 5.

 

 

The statement, titled “The Pledge to Cardon Neutrality and the Sanctity of Life” and published on June 4, is the first of its kind to be issued by Most Ven. Wonhaeng on the subject of the environment in his capacity as the president of the Jogye Order, although he has been consistently emphasizing the importance of environmental issues to all Buddhists, epitomized by his new year’s press conference and his speech commemorating the Buddha’s Birthday in B.E 2565.

 

 

In his statement, Most Ven. Wonhaeng reflected on the error of humanity’s way of greedily seeking only material prosperity and conveniences as the main cause of the current climate crisis and pointed out that the only plausible solution lies in fundamentally changing the ways of life the society as a whole has been pursuing. He also unveiled 10-year action plans to be implemented by all Buddhists to accomplish the environmental goals as outlined in the statement.

 

 

Most Ven. Wonhaeng introduced the four strategic directions underlying the action plans, namely, △ radical shift in our way of life △ virtuous cycle △ sustainability △ civic participation, and he pledged that “the Jogye Order will do its best to discuss and support any viable options and activities explored and pursued by other religions and civic groups as well as the Buddhist communities as long as they are in line with these key principles. It is past time to get our heads together and join forces to survive this global crisis, and none would be excluded in this forum, whether they be Buddhist temples, Christian Churches, private businesses, schools, NGOs, or government agencies.”

 

 

He said in the statement, “global warming has become a matter of utmost urgency and should take precedence over everything else. We do not have much time left to overcome this crisis. I urge all the citizens of Korea reflect on the flawed way of life that has pushed us into this desperate corner and start working on changing it. I pledge that the Jogye Order, representing the Buddhist community will be with you every step of the way.”

 

 

The following is the full text of the statement by Most Ven. Wonhaeng.

 

 

The Pledge to Cardon Neutrality and the Sanctity of Life

The official statement by the Jogye Order of Korean Buddhism marking World Environment Day on June 5

 


The COVID-19 pandemic is terrorizing humanity everywhere. Since the beginning of the 21st century, the world has been repeatedly exposed to widespread, virulent outbreaks of epidemics, which are closely related to climate change that threatens the survival of future generations. Unless the world is united as one and does its utmost to radically correct the course it is heading now, our continued existence itself is jeopardized, and humans as a species are in danger of extinction. The next 10 years are our last chance to avert the disaster and limit global warming to 1.5℃.

 

The current climate crisis is caused by humanity’s greed. We have turned blind eyes to reality, failing to see how much we rely on nature to survive and prosper. In willful ignorance, we have been ruthlessly exploiting other living beings on earth to ensure our safety and convenience and relentlessly depleting its natural resources to satisfy our selfish desires, causing deadly contamination of air, soil, and water.

 

Unless we learn how to restrain our unbridled desire for material riches, there will be no fundamentally solving the climate crisis. It should be obvious that human beings cannot maintain a healthy life once the air we breathe, the water we drink, and the soil upon which our sustenance is harvested are polluted. What hurts the earth will damage us; what heals mother nature will restore humans too.

 

The current climate crisis is calling for radical and comprehensive revisioning of each individual’s as well as the society’s way of life, reimagining the objectives we have pursued as our life goals. Instead of seeking linear growth and a hierarchical race to the top, we must find ways to acknowledge interdependence and co-exist in a harmonious and virtuous cycle. It is time to turn our backs to uncurbed mass production and consumer economy and make sustainability our chief economic principle. The Environmental Committee of the Jogye Order has established 10-year action plans to be implemented by all Buddhists to accomplish the environmental goals as outlined in this statement, and the four strategic directions underlying the action plans, namely, △ radical shift in our way of life △ virtuous cycle △ sustainability △ civic participation.

 

The Jogye Order of Korean Buddhism will do its best to discuss and support any viable options and activities explored and pursued by other religions and civic groups as well as the Buddhist communities as long as they are in line with these key principles. It is past time to get our heads together and join forces to survive this global crisis through carbon neutrality, and none would be excluded in this forum, whether they be Buddhist temples, Christian Churches, private businesses, schools, NGOs, or government agencies. We hope that in the course of seeking the goal of carbon neutrality, what has started in the individual’s minds and hearts will be turned into solid actions, which will eventually lead to society-wide changes.

 

Global warming has become a matter of utmost urgency and should take precedence over everything else. The Korean government has announced a variety of measures and made several landmark declarations, but there are continuing concerns that the Korean society as a whole still puts financial gains before the environmental protection and the needs of the present population before those of future generations. The government, both its administrative and legislative branches, the energy-intensive industry, and major conglomerates should get together to discuss the introduction of the carbon tax and its implications as well as other policies to end the global climate crisis.

 

The key tenet of Buddhism is that nothing in this universe can exist independently. Every living being is interconnected and dependent upon each other for survival in the vast Indra’s Net, which constitutes the very fabrics of human existence, society, and the universe.

 

We do not have much time left to overcome this crisis.

 

I urge all the citizens of Korea reflect on the flawed way of life that has pushed us into this desperate corner and start working on changing it.

I pledge that the Jogye Order, representing the Buddhist community, will be with you every step of the way.

 

June 4, 2021
Wonhaeng, President
The Jogye Order of Korean Buddhism

 

Source: The Buddhist Daily

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