PureInsight | October 23, 2010
[PureInsight.org] After sharing with a friend the article, “A Contemplation on Our Civilization: The Environment1,” they asked me the following questions:
“How can a ‘modern,’ global civilization return to those practices and still stay globalized? For example, computers and airplanes are two things that we use to stay connected to people around the world. Without them, globalization would be tough. However, we require a lot of ‘non-natural’ products to create and support them—at least that is how it is currently. An easier question would be: how can people living in this ‘modern world’ implement and use the ideas of ‘natural’ products in our everyday lives? How do we minimize the amount of non-natural products we use, especially when our society and culture depend on them?”
Below is my understanding on those matters.
Contemplation on the meaning of life is essential in understanding how to go back to one's true self and how to live in harmony with nature. When a revolution happens in the human mind and a man understands that what he is seeking can't be found externally, but rather internally, many attachments will naturally fall off. Modern man is used to thinking in terms of globalization, but is globalization necessary? In the past, people lived in their environment—the place where they were born—for most of their lives and did not feel deprived. At most, they met with their neighbours. Of course, there were ships too and some travelled, but most people did not. Someone may say, “But with globalization we enjoy the benefit of eating produce that was grown in all parts of the world and have it delivered to our doorstep.” This type of thinking does not take into account that the best food for a human body is locally grown, which is in accordance with the climate of a place. The ancients lived in harmony with nature. They woke up in the morning with the roosters, worked until the setting of the sun, and went back to their families. They did not have television sets or Internet but the relationships between people were more meaningful. Of course, many felt reverence for Gods and actually practiced cultivation. A man should work during the day light and practice cultivation when it gets dark.
Modern man claims to “enjoy” the modern civilization, but relationships between people have only become more tense. There is no limit to human greed. With sexual liberation, people no longer have family ethics and have a harder time trusting and respecting each other. The word “civilization” implies man becoming more cultured, more intelligent, and less primitive. He should learn how to harmonize relationships with fellow men and the surrounding environment. However, is the present “civilized” man really civilized? So many people nowadays will not think twice about harming another for the sake of personal interests; people compete and fight for personal profit, indulge in all kind of perverted behaviour, and even practice homosexuality and abuse drugs.
In addition, globalization brought up the issue of the mixing of the races, which too was not how Gods created men. Before Falun Dafa, because of the mixing of the races, a man could no longer can go back to his original paradise in the Heavens, where his life was originally created.
Scientific tests were performed on monks and nuns, and it was discovered that even though it appears from the outside that a monk lacks the “joys of civilization,” he is happy. People who practice cultivation tend to have fewer illnesses too. Most practitioners of Falun Dafa, in particular, undergo substantial improvements in health, according to scientific tests.
A modern man constantly pursues things externally, be it in terms of knowledge or pleasure, he wants to “experience it all” and “know it all.” But the real meaning of life is found through practicing cultivation to return to one’s original self. From the perspective of higher lives, the everyday person’s “pursuit of knowledge” is actually an attachment. Socrates said: “Know oneself, and you’ll know the whole world.”
The founder of Falun Dafa, Master Li Hongzhi, said:
“Someone has said: ‘Would we have cars and trains if we followed ancient Chinese science? Would we have today’s modernization?’ I would say that you cannot understand another circumstance from the perspective of this environment. There should be a revolution in your thinking. Without television sets, people would have them in their foreheads, and they could watch anything they want to see. They would also have supernormal abilities. Without trains and planes, people would be able to levitate into the air from where they sit, without using an elevator. It would bring about a different state of societal development, and it would not necessarily be confined to this framework. The flying saucers of extraterrestrials can travel back and forth at an inconceivable speed and become large or small. They have taken another alternative method of development, which is another scientific approach.” (Lecture Seven, Zhuan Falun)
Science and technology were brought to human society by aliens and are not part of native human culture. This may sound like a superstition for an ordinary man, but it is the truth. The real culture was always imparted to men by Gods and it took into consideration the purpose of a human life and how to live in harmony with nature. But because of this modern science, men no longer believe in Gods, and thus Gods no longer take care of men, which has resulted in a rapid downslide of moral values.
Master Li said: “Today’s science has been imposed on humankind by alien beings. No people in any historical period or in any civilization ever had science like this—the entire society is involved with it, everyone is getting himself wrapped up in it, and every parent wants to see their children go to college. Never before in history has this happened. Gods arrange how human society develops. For example, in ancient China a god was sent down to invent paper-making, and another god was sent down to invent the compass. They did those things for people. The whole society didn’t need to get involved, nor was a ‘science’ like today’s needed—a science which everyone gets wrapped up in and which has created distorted types of living beings like we have today. This is something that never ever happened before, yet it has now become the reality of today’s society.”
(“Teaching the Fa at the Conference in Singapore”)
What do all people want? All people want to be happy. But most people assume that happiness is achieved by pursuing a comfortable lifestyle, free of hardship. Gods don't think this way, however. They think that humans should quickly repay their debts (karma) and go back to their original places of creation. In search of comfort, people try to invent cures for their illnesses. But what is the reality? In reality, when humanity manages to find a cure for one illness, another surfaces. Nowadays there are many modern illnesses that medicine has never heard of before. Why is that? It is because humans cannot escape repaying karma. In their search for escape from suffering, humans actually just accumulate even more karma and have to suffer even greater to repay it. Gods would not allow humans not to repay their karma. If not through an illness, then it would come through a natural disaster; if not through a disaster, then through a war. The only way to escape the cycle of suffering—the cycle of birth and death—is to practice cultivation.
So, in answering the last part of the question, we have to live and make due with what is in front of us with this present state of human civilization, but we can also change our lives by adopting more natural and environmentally friendly products. Many people are doing it already; they use cotton bags when shopping instead of plastic bags, use natural detergents and cleaners, recycle when possible, and opt for a healthier natural diet. On a larger scale, planting trees and forests is essential, as is it for factories to adopt better recycling systems that are not damaging to the environment. But more important is to realize the meaning of a human life. If we learn to live more compassionate lives, taking into account our relationship with the surrounding environment, which is alive, this already will bring transformation. And when more people live this way, the world will gradually change. Man created a lot of karma and many misfortunes will soon befall him. Transformation lies in the change of the human heart and mind. A man has to take responsibility for his actions.
I'll end this article with Master's Li’s poem from Hong Yin, “Casting off Attachments:”
“Delusion blinds the world’s people,
Each attached to fame and gain,
But honest and kind were the ancients,
Calm and balanced,
fortune and longevity were their lot.”
1The article, “A Contemplation on Our Civilization: The Environment,” can be found at: http://www.pureinsight.org/node/1105