Young Cross-Strait Scholars Meet in Hong Kong to Participate in Academic Seminar on “Buddhist Environmental Protection and Protecting the Spiritual Environment”

【Information provided by DDU School of Life and Values】The Centre for the Study of Humanistic Buddhism at the Chinese University of Hong Kong held the 6th Academic Seminar for Young Buddhist Scholars from July 28 to July 30 at the Chinese University of Hong Kong with the topic of “Buddhist Environmental Protection and Protecting the Spiritual Environment.” Chen Pingkun, assistant researcher from the School of Life and Living at Dharma Drum University participated and presented a paper entitled “The Spirit of Chan Buddhism in Protecting the Spiritual Environment as Advocated by Master Sheng Yen of Dharma Drum Mountain,” to promote Dharma Drum Mountain's Protecting the Spiritual Environment movement and its spirit.

This seminar invited 26 young scholars from China, Taiwan, and Hong Kong to explore the possible resources and concrete measures Buddhism can contribute regarding the issues of environmental protection, offering young scholars an exchange of ideas and a dialogue in the area of Humanistic Buddhism. 

During the meeting three lectures were given, respectively on environment protection, Protecting the Spiritual Environment, and Internet resources for Buddhist study, providing introductions, reflections and suggestions for the relevant topics.

With different angles and perspectives, the 26 papers presented touched on the philosophy and resources Tibetan Buddhism has to offer on environment protection, the possible contribution of the Tiantai school’s teachings to protection of the spiritual environment, as well as the significant results of endeavors by modern religious figures including Master Sheng Yen, Master Hsing Yun and Master Thich Nhat Hanh in advocating environment protection and protection of the spiritual environment.

In Dr. Chen’s paper he developed ideas from several perspectives, including the theoretical basis of Protecting the Spiritual Environment as found in the sutras, Buddhist reflections on and solutions to spiritual issues, and Dharma Drum Mountain’s efforts to carry on and develop these efforts. In addition, he investigated Master Sheng Yen’s contribution to the Protecting the Spiritual Environment campaign with his teachings on wisdom and compassion as two methods of practice, and discussed Dharma Drum Mountain’s ideal of Protecting the Spiritual Environment and its implications for Chan practice and education, to identify its spirit as inherited from Chinese Chan Buddhism.