March 21, 2009 at 9:03 am #30976
Due to the inability to find any real research material on the subject of Taoist Treatment During the Cultural Revolution, I have had to change the topic of my research paper to: Taoist Ecology. If anyone knows of any books or articles about how Taoism is working with ecological issues in China please let me know. I have found some great stuff so far but would appreciate any suggestions that anyone might have. I find it interesting that when I tried researching for a week on how Taoists were treated during the Cultural Revolution I got nothing, but I look for two hours and find a bunch of journals and articles written on the subject of Taoism’s role in Ecological preservation. Weird?!? Anyway I would appreciate any suggestions as I am running out of research time. Thanks everyone.
Love & Tao
ShenchiMarch 29, 2009 at 12:29 am #30977
I assume your research turned up the harvard conference publication by james miller, et al. on Daoism and Ecology with numerous scholarly papers. That alone should give you more than enough material. Make sure you search under D spelling of Taoism….
mMarch 30, 2009 at 3:01 pm #30979
note: just found this….Michael
TaoismThe Way for Climate Action in China?
Olav Kjorven is Assistant Secretary General and Director of Devolvement Policy at the UN Development Program.
Something unprecedented happened in China in late October. It may not have been as glitzy spectacular as the Olympics in Beijing over the summer. It did not attract heads of state or world celebrities. But it will possibly leave a more lasting imprint on the future of China and indeed the world.
Taoist masters from all over China gathered near the ancient capital of Nanjing to agree on a seven-year plan for climate change action. Anybody with minimal knowledge of China will immediately understand that this is more than a curiosity.
` But the fact that it was the ancient, homegrown Taoist tradition that gathering their most revered teachers to discuss what climate change means for them and their country is more than exotic, whether one looks at it from a religious, an environmental, or a political perspective.
But how can a gathering of Taoists be potentially transformative in a country like China? This is, after all, a country where relentless, carbon-fueled economic expansion and consumerism seem akin to a doctrine and are deeply embedded into the very fabric of society. (In this respect Western societies are not that different, just a but further along eh same path.) Wouldnt you have to be something of a devout Taoist yourself, or a wildly optimistic and credulous climate warrior in order to believe that such a meeting could amount to much?
Possibly, but I am willing to accept the risk. Let me try to explain: First, the Chinese Taoists have been around for thousands of years. They have seen countless dynasties come and go. But the Tao (which translates as the Way) has outlasted them all, proving its resilience and strength. Taoist values and beliefs continue to hold enormous sway in Chinese society.
Secondly, these values and beliefs are now welcomed back into the broader discourse of society, on matters as economic, social, and environmental policy. Taoism is no longer confined to the personal and family levels, and to festivals and rituals. Taoist temples and their master are increasingly addressing politicians and business leaders are all levels about environmental and other challenges. This weeks gathering was actively attended by government officials. IN their statements, they asked the Taoists for help in budding a more environmentally harmonious and sustainable China. They had come to realize that in order to solve current challenges and secure a sustainable future, they indeed needed to mobilize all of society. Today this includes religion, and not just the Taoists.
Third, and what makes this doubly interesting, Taoism probably has more on offer to the environmental cause in todays China than any other major, organized religious. This is a strong statement, but anyone who has read key Taoist master such as Lao Tzu knows to what extant this faith tradition emphasizes environmental stewardship as a sacred duty, something we simply must do in order to preserve our future and the balance of the entire world. Take climate change. The whole problem and challenge can be beautifully captured and explained through the concepts of Yin and Yang. The carbon balance between earth and sky is off kilter. This causes instability and disaster. It is truly significant that the current masters of Taoism in China have started to communicate precisely though this ancient yet new vocabulary.
Fourth, the Taoists are walking the walk. Over the last year or so they have installed solar panels on half o their thousands of temples around China and the job will be complete soon for all their sacred places. They are providing comprehensive guidance on all aspects of environmental and climate stewardship: water and land management, protections of biological diversity, energy efficiency of building, educational curricula, moral teachings, outreach though media and advocacy to business etc. They will use their Seven-Year Plan to make a holistic and systemic contribution to climate responsibility and environmental stewardship in China. The perspective goes beyond seven years. The ambition is to change the course for generations to come. Because the Taoists plan to be around for quite a while longer, continuing their sacred cosmic dance that transcends time and space.
Could this be the kind of stuff that in the end will it the scales in favor of decisive climate action in China and beyond? Well, even if youre half way convinced by the four points above, youd probably still thing thats a tall order to place on the Taoistsand I would agree. The good news, however, is that similar things are now happening in all the 11 major religions in our world today. They are all coming up with multi-year plans for climate action, spanning all dimensions of who they are and what they do. They are greening their management of land, buildings, and finance investments. They are articulating care for creation more strongly and clearly in their teachings and preaching. They are strengthening their climate advocacy towards society at large, but grounded in their own spiritual and moral traditions. By November next year, a few weeks before the crucial Copenhagen climate meeting takes place, these faiths will all present to the world their plans and commitments.
This is not small contributionthese 11 faiths represent in some way or another roughly 80-85 percent of humanity. Perhaps thats enough to bring us to a global, political tipping point. IN the end, it may just be what it is needed to convince the most stubborn and reluctant policy makers that the time to secure humanitys future is now.
Special thanks to Charlotte Sun of the Genesee Valley Daoist Hermitage for sending this along!April 2, 2009 at 6:42 pm #30981
Thank you so much for your help and insight. I did find the Harvard stuff but the other work I was unfamiliar with. I did however find the information about the meeting of Taoists concerneing the climate and the ecological future of China. I have gotten some good reviews on my ruff draft. I turn the paper in this monday coming up. Researching it made me want to change my major from psyche to anthroplogy. Instead I am going to finish out my degree and possibley do my graduate work in anthropology, especially Spiritual Ecology which is how people relate spiritualy to their enviroment. Anyway Michael thanks again, your insight is always helpful, inspiring, and informative. I will let everyone know how the paper goes over; until then
Peace & Tao
ShenchiApril 22, 2009 at 3:32 am #30983
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