Inner Dimensions of Climate Change: urging youths to lead a change from the mind

Inner Dimensions of Climate Change: urging youths to lead a change from the mind

Co-organized by Dharma Drum Mountain Buddhist Association, the Global Peace Initiative for Women, and the Earth Charter, the Inner Dimensions of Climate Change (IDCC) conference took place at the headquarters of United Nations Economics and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific in Bangkok, Thailand, from November 11-16. Launched in 2016, IDCC is a series of global dialogues particularly for young ecologists. After five previous regional gatherings in different nations, the final gathering invited some 50 emerging leaders and spiritual mentors in the fields of ecology, education, environmental protection, and social movement to join the meeting, with a participation of around 300 local prominent professionals in different fields of expertise. Venerables Chang Ji (常濟法師) and Guo Chan (果禪法師) attended the conference on behalf of the DDM Sangha.

Ven. Chang Ji hosted the opening ceremony, and Mozaharul Alam, the Regional Coordinator of Climate Change Programme for Asia and the Pacific Office of UN Environment Programme, in his opening remarks appealed to all to reflect on climate change, which is not just a problem to be faced in the future, but one that is already confronting us, as a consequence of human development.

After days of intensive discussion and exchange of ideas, several essential questions were proposed and put together. At this crucial point for addressing climate change, will humanity choose to work together or divide over different positions? And, what will a cohesive society free of class division look like?

Under the guideline of coping climate change by returning to our inner dimensions, participants agreed that every individual’s sense of belonging and value system need to be recognized and cherished, rather than being ignored and marginalized; through communication of language, thoughts, concepts, and experiences, attentive listening gives people spiritual space, and it should extend to how we hear the voices of all sentient beings. We must learn to sympathize, respect and understand different countries and their people, looking beyond appearances to appreciate their internal values. Only by discarding our egoistic self-centeredness, starting from our mind, and sincerely listening can we truly bring about transformation, thereby reshaping our society into one that is cohesive and free of class division.

Some participants shared how they were experiencing seemingly endless anxiety in the face of a collapsing environment while fighting against dominant culture in society. Despite feeling mental exhaustion, insufficiency, and rage in this regard, they nevertheless aspired to let go anger, abandon the grabbing mentality, and reconnect to their inner self, by embracing gratitude and renewing their outlook for the future, thanks to the encouraging and supportive ambience at the conference. Finally, Ven. Chang Ji urged all the attendees to become leaders to make a difference and inspire the general public to devote to this cause.

Text: Venerable Guo Chan; Venerable Chang Ji
Translation: Chang, Cheng-Yu (張振郁)
Editing: DDM Australian Editorial Team; Chang, Chia-Cheng (張家誠)

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