Spirituality and the Environment: A Slide Show

PureInsight | March 31, 2003

[1st slide] Spirituality and the Environment

Falun Dafa

[2nd slide] Outline

A brief introduction of Falun Gong

Environmental issues

Our solution

[3rd slide] Falun Gong (Falun Dafa)

Falun: Law Wheel
A Miniature of the Universe
Gong: Practice
Dafa: Great Law, Great Way

Falun Dafa is a traditional Chinese Self Cultivation practice. It requires practitioners to look inside for the source of any conflicts or problems encountered in everyday life and to refine their hearts and minds towards Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance. Through cultivating Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance, practitioners come to a deeply personal understanding of the preciousness of all life and the supernatural nature of the universe.

Falun Gong has five sets of exercises including meditation. The movements are elegant, smooth, peaceful, simple, and easy to do. These exercises are effective and beneficial for mental and physical well-being and are designed to fit into busy lifestyles.

[4th slide] The Founder of Falun Gong: Mr. Li Hongzhi

Falun Gong was first introduced to the public by Mr. Li Hongzhi in May, 1992 in China. It is based upon ancient Chinese culture, and it has helped over 100 million people worldwide improve their health, purify their minds and uplift their spirits. The core book of Falun Gong, called Zhuan Falun, has been translated into 17 languages.

[5th slide] Over 100 Million Practitioners Worldwide

Falun Dafa, also known as Falun Gong, is the fastest growing spiritual practice in the world. The practice is peaceful and apolitical with a major following in China and a growing number in more than 30 countries worldwide.

[6th slide] All Walks of Life, Ages and Cultures

[7th slide] Over 600 Awards and Proclamations Worldwide

[8th slide] Humans and the Environment

What's the relationship between human beings and our environment?

Westerners are told in Genesis of the Christian Bible, that in the beginning God created the heavens and earth. Chinese are told the legend that Pangu brought order out of chaos by chiseling things from nothing, and chiseled the first earth. Both legends tell us clearly that heaven and earth were created specifically for human beings. Creation included the mountains, brooks, woods, the grasslands, towns, cities, birds and animals.

There were thousands of birds and hundreds of animals in the mountains, thousands of fish swimming in the water, and there was plenty of food on earth to feed everyone. All was created solely for human beings' enjoyment, survival, and improvement.

Humans are granted the opportunity to be the master of the earth. In return, humans must adhere to certain moral standards, because privilege comes with responsibilities. If human beings disregard the universal principles and the laws that have created life, ignore moral values, commit bad deeds and fail to follow moral standards, reckoning will follow. Thus, human existence is thus threatened and earth will no longer shelter them.

[9th slide] Historical Lessons

If human beings do not follow the heavenly principles, what happens?

About 4000 BCE, the Sumerians moved into Mesopotamia and supplanted the Semites and Ubaidians. The Sumerians were highly civilized and so built a thriving civilization. The Sumerians invented the earliest known hieroglyphic form of writing and developed a number system. They were rich and their lifestyle was luxurious and decadent.

The Sumerians developed sophisticated irrigation systems. Such techniques increase groundwater salinization, water pollution and soil erosion over time. Consequently, the Sumerians found that food supplies became scarcer. The reason for that was the salt that had built up in the soil of the agricultural lands, which eventually reached poisonous levels for plants. The crop yields decreased progressively and many of agricultural fields became infertile.

The Sumerians had to develop new farmlands to compensate for the reductions in yield of the crops on their farms. One method they employed was deforestation. As time went on, forests on the Mesopotamian plain disappeared. Over time they exhausted all the available land. Yet the population continued to grow. Historical records indicate that the agricultural system collapsed in 1800 B.C. Thus, the once great civilization became history.

[10th slide] Global warming
Modern days it seems we have more problems. One example is global warming.

The Earth is getting warmer, and humans bear some blame. It's easy to see how global warming could flood cities and ruin harvests. More recently, researchers raised the alarm that a balmier planet could also assist the spread of infectious disease by providing a more suitable climate for parasites and spreading the range of tropical pathogens. That could include crop diseases which, combined with substantial climate shifts, might cause famine. Effects could be even more dramatic.

Left Pic: The climate of Greenland has warmed nearly two degrees since 1979. The left image from September 1996 and the middle image from 1978, measure the scattering of microwaves from the land and ice. The difference between the two is at the right. Red and yellow show where most of the snowmelt has occurred.

Two pictures on the right show the melting of a chunk of ice in Antarctic. Ice shelves keep glaciers from flowing into the ocean. If many fall apart, sea levels could rise by several yards.

[11th slide] Ecosystem collapse

To meet the demands of the growing population, we are clearing land for housing and agriculture, replacing diverse wild plants with just a few varieties of crops, transporting plants and animals, and introducing new chemicals into the environment. At least 30,000 species vanish every year from human activity, which means we are living in the midst of one of the greatest mass extinctions in Earth's history.

[12th slide] Biotech disaster

While we are extinguishing natural species, we're also creating new ones through genetic engineering. Genetically modified crops can be hardier, tastier, and more nutritious. Engineered microbes might ease our health problems. And gene therapy offers an elusive promise of fixing fundamental defects in our DNA. Then there are the possible downsides. Although there is no evidence indicating genetically modified foods are unsafe, there are signs that the genes from modified plants can leak out and find their way into other species. Engineered crops might also foster insecticide resistance. Longtime skeptics like Jeremy Rifkin worry that the resulting super weeds and super pests could further destabilize the stressed global ecosystem. Altered microbes might prove to be unexpectedly difficult to control.

[13th slide] Environmental toxins

In major cities around the world, the air is thick with diesel particulates, which is now considered a carcinogen. Heavy metals from industrial smokestacks circle the globe, even settling in the pristine snows of Antarctica. Intensive use of pesticides in farming guarantees their runoff into rivers and lakes. In high doses, dioxins can disrupt fetal development and impair reproductive function— and dioxins are everywhere. Your house may contain polyvinyl chloride pipes, wallpaper, and siding, which belch dioxins if they catch fire or are incinerated. There are also the unknown risks to think about. Every year NIH adds to its list of cancer-causing substances— the number is up to 218. Theo Colburn of the World Wildlife Fund argues that dioxins and other, similar chlorine-bearing compounds mimic the effects of human hormones well enough that they could seriously reduce fertility. Many other scientists dispute her evidence, but if she's right, our chemical garbage could ultimately threaten the survival of our species.

[14th slide] Falun Gong Teaching and Environment

When people do not have virtue, natural calamities and

man-made disasters will abound. When the earth does

not have virtue, everything will wither and fall.

-- Mr. Li Hongzhi

Falun Gong stresses self-improvement of mind nature and quality. It is a most direct way to make connection of mind, body and spirit. Falun Gong teaches people to become better people and increase moral standard from inside out. It guides the practitioners towards higher levels and enlightenment. They conduct themselves according to the principle of truth, compassion and tolerance in their daily lives. When a problem occurs, instead of blaming others, Falun Gong practitioners will first look into themselves. "What did I do wrong?" By doing this, the problem will usually be soon resolved. In this way, practitioners improve themselves constantly and from inside out. They try to assimilate to the characteristic of the universe: Truthfulness, Compassion and Forbearance.

In the teaching of Falun Gong virtue is a very important concept, which plays a central role in generation, development, aging and falling apart of everything in this dimension, from the human body, to society, the environment, the universe. If human beings treat the environment with truthfulness, compassion and tolerance, it will be benign to us; if we treat it badly, it will retaliate.

[15th slide] China's Sandstorms

Let's look at China. Chinese believes that it is a heavenly principle that evil acts will bring tribulations, which are the merciful warnings from Heaven.

Over the past fifty years, Chinese authorities have launched numerous nationwide campaigns. After all these campaigns, the moral values and standards of the Chinese have been almost completely destroyed. Interestingly, scientists have discovered the relationship between these campaigns and the frequency of occurrences of sand storms in China.

Using sandstorm data from the Chinese Central Observatory, the top graph shows the total number of sandstorm days each year in Beijing. It provides a snapshot of sandstorm activity for the past 48 years, starting in 1954. The consistency of the data shows the reliability of the changes in frequency and intensity described. We can see that the years having the most days of sandstorms centered in three periods: 1955 to 1959, 1965 to 1975, and 1999 to present, corresponding to three most violent political campaigns – "Against 3 and 5", the cultural revolution and the crackdown on Falun Gong practitioners.

[16th slide] Crackdown on Falun Gong

In 1999, Chinese government started to crack down on Falun Gong practitioners. According to incomplete statistics, within the past three years beginning on July 20, 1999, more than 610 practitioners have been verified as being tortured to death in over 30 provinces, autonomous regions and municipalities. However, according to the government's official internal statistics, the actual number of practitioners who died after being arrested had reached 1,600 by the end of 2001. In addition, there are at least 6,000 Falun Gong practitioners who have been illegally sentenced to prison. Over 100,000 practitioners have been sentenced to forced labor camps. Thousands of practitioners have been committed against their wills to psychiatric hospitals to be tortured with injections that are damaging to the central nervous system. Large groups of Falun Gong practitioners have been forced into local brainwashing classes, where they have been subjected to both physical and mental torture. Many more practitioners have been severely beaten and had large sums of money extorted from them by "law-enforcement" officials.

As a result, year 2002 and 2001 are among the ten years that had the most severe sandstorms in the last 48 years. In the past three years, the sandstorms not only have occurred frequently, but have also been the largest in scale.

[17th slide] Year 2002

The sandstorms in 2002 have been extremely strong. They not only affected China. This picture showed in April 2002, Dust (yellowish-brown) and other aerosols (whitish-gray) blew eastward from the Asian continent to the Pacific Ocean. Finally the dust reached North America. It did not stop there – it passed North America and finally disappeared in mid Atlantic Ocean. It was the largest dust storm in the northern hemisphere since 1979.

[18th slide] Year 2003……

In the first three months of 2003, the Yellow River, which is called the "Mother River" and the "cradle of Chinese civilization" has almost dried up over much of its length. The drying up of the Yellow River is not a new phenomenon, but the periods of drought are becoming more frequent and prolonged. This year could be the worst ever. The amount of water entering the Yellow River is expected to drop to an even lower level than six years ago, when it ran dry for 500km (300 miles). Such a severe drought could spell disaster for millions of people who live along the Yellow River's banks.

The severe drought in Shandong province in China continues. Statistics from the local water resources bureau show that the amount of rain that has fallen since August 2002 has been the least in 50 years. In the first three month of year 2003, the precipitation is only 25mm, which is 75% less than in a normal year.

More than 48 million people and 5 million hectares of arable land have been affected. More than 3 million hectares have been seriously blighted. Most of them actually yielded nothing last year. Chinese authority had to supply more than 9,090 kilograms of grain from government storehouses to help the drought-stricken province's 9 million farmers to get through the winter.

The drought started from 1999, when the crackdown on Falun Gong practitioners began. This is not a coincidence! By February 2003, the number of Falun Gong practitioners persecuted to death in Shandong province was 76. Right now the situation is worsening.

[19th slide] Our Solution

Follow the heavenly principle – truthfulness, compassion and tolerance

Always think of others first

If there is conflict, look inward first

[20th slide] Thanks for your attention!

Add new comment