In line with Buddhist beliefs of peaceful and harmonious coexistence, delegates attending the first World Buddhist Forum that opened on Thursday in Hangzhou, Zhejiang Province, have called on all peoples to work towards harmony between man and nature.
"There is no greater threat today to the long-term security of life on this planet than the twin problems of climate change and environmental degradation. It is necessary for us to create a harmonious environment between human beings and the nature," said Master Wei Zhi, a Buddhist leader from Singapore.
"Many living creatures have become or are threatened with extinction. Forests that took thousands of years to grow are being destroyed indiscriminately for raw materials and to clear land for farming. The air is polluted and the water is contaminated. As the earth's population continues to expand and the demand for food and materials continues to grow, so too does the immense pressure on the environment."
According to Master Wei Zhi, devotees in Singapore are encouraged not to use disposable dishware, and not to burn too much joss paper or incense sticks when visiting temples. "We are doing our best to contribute to environmental protection."
"I am glad to find that the environment in Hangzhou City has improved greatly," Master Jing Yao from Taiwan said.
When asked how Buddhism could contribute to environmental protection, Master Jing Yao told China.org.cn that Buddhism, above all, teaches one to first purify the spirit in order to control one's desires.
According to Master Jing Yao, greed is a natural condition. Human beings tend to want to take as much as they can from the earth and from others to satisfy their immediate wants without consideration for the future. However, Buddhism teaches followers how to control their behavior with their minds.
The first World Buddhist Forum, which is organized by both the Buddhist Association of China (BAC) and the China Religious Culture Communication Association (CRCCA), was opened on Thursday morning in Hangzhou City, capital of east China's Zhejiang Province. About 1,250 delegates including key Buddhist figures, famous scholars and government officials from 34 countries are attending the forum.