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Three Daoist pilgrim cities join the Green Pilgrimage Network

May 13, 2014:

NEWS: May 12, 2014: ARC's Martin Palmer met China's Vice Minister for religions (SARA), Jiang Jianyong in April 2014. The Chinese government promises to continue supporting ARC's work with the Daoist community in China.



Three Daoist pilgrim cities joined the Green Pilgrimage Network last month, at a Daoist ecological meeting in the remote city of Ziyang in the Qinling mountains. The cities are:
  • Ziyang itself, in Shaanxi Province, which is known as the place where the ancient Daoist Master Zhang Ziyang wrote the scripture Wu Zhen Pian. Today, it is one of the water reservoirs for north of China. There are therefore no polluting industries allowed in Ziyang and GDP is not calculated in the official economic assessment. More information
  • Maoshan in Jiangsu Province, which is one of the most famous Taoist Sacred Mountains, and which once hosted more than 900 temples and today receives over a million visitors each year with all the ecological challenges that includes. They have already taken key environmental precautions, including protecting trees (by building around them rather than removing them), banning private cars from the site, promoting solar street lamps, using recyclable materials. More Information
  • Houzhenzi is the home of the Daoist Sacred Mountain Taibaishan. It hosts a national forest park, and is also the water reservoir for the entire Xi'an region. Like Ziyang, polluting industries are already banned. More Information
They join Louguan city near the important Louguantai temple in Shaanxi. Louguan was the first GPN member in China: it is a city of some 500,000 residents where solar panels, bio-fuel, parks, eco-education and renewable energy usage are all being used and introduced as part of the city’s policy of ecologically careful expansion and development.

The meeting was organized by the China Taoist Association, in association with ARC and the State Administration for Religious Affairs (SARA). Topics included wildlife, carbon-reduction, health preservation and what has become known as “civilized worshiping” which is about how visits to the temple can be ecologically thoughtful, including using just three sticks of incense rather than the huge quantities that has become a trend in temples throughout China in recent years.

Background

An inaugural workshop on Daoism and Environment was held in 2006 attended by a number of local monks and academics at Taibeishan in Shaanxi. It led to a second workshop in 2007 at which the Qinling Declaration was created. In 2011 a third workshop at MaoShan brought dozens of leading Daoists together from all over China on this issue.

This was the fourth ecological Daoist Temple Education workshop, attended by Daoist monks and nuns as well as academics, government officials and overseas supporters. By now there was no need for debate about whether Daoism was an environmental religion: the discussion centred about how it could actively work to help China keep its environment in harmony.

Speakers

    Speakers included:
  • Zhao Jianzheng from SARA who talked particularly about the destruction of habitat being the most important factor threatening the endangered wildlife species;
  • Yang Li Zhi, the Vice Chairman of Shiyan's political Consultative Committee who emphasized the importance of ecological education through temples;
  • (Daoist) Master Yuan Zhihong, vice secretary general of CDA, who called on people to make an effort to clean the environment taking small steps and big steps including building of harmonious temples and “civilized” (ie moderate) incense burning being such good examples.
  • Allerd Sticker of EMF the Valley Foundation talked about the history of the first Daoist Ecological Temple, at Taibeishan, which he helped sponsor, and announced the launch of Sacred Mountains, a book dedicated to the recent history of environmental work by Daoists in China.
  • Martin Palmer, secretary General of ARC talking about Daoism and the protection of endangered wildlife species, as well as announcing the three new members of the GPN network, and how the Daoist eight year plan should in fact be at least an 80-year plan.
  • Master He Xin Ping, chairman of Xi'an Yang Taoist Association talked about herbal TCM being a Daoist tradition and that it is an obligation of the Daoist Community to find herbal alternatives to the animal ingredients of TCM.
  • Master Yang talked about the greening experience of the Daoist communities at Maoshan.

Coverage by the China Academy

The China Academy of Social Sciences published an in-depth article on the fourth Ecological Temple Education Seminar, titled How to use traditional Culture to build an ecological civilization: a dialogue between Academic and Daoist Communities. To view click here

Links

Green Pilgrimage Network

EMF

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