2020 Jan 08

Dharma Master Hsin Tao speaks at the Winter School 2020

Applications of technology ought to always have proactively benign bearings on the ecology. Every doctrine should concretely contribute to the improvement of the environment.

Distinguished guests, dear faculty members, students: a warm greeting to you all.

Today marks the beginning of Spring 2020 and the Winter School of the University for Life & Peace celebrates its 2nd Commencement ceremony here in Yangon for a consecutive year. We are gratefully blessed by the Buddha, and we are thankful for the merits granted by the Shwedagon Pagoda. We also thank you all for taking long trips to join us on this collective mission.

At the beginning of today's occasion, allow us to express our deepest sorrow and pain for the billions of lives of all forms lost in the wildfires in Australia, with more still struggling to survive the inferno. Impact zone of the still untamed fire has already tallied up to an area the size of Denmark, or 45 Hong Kong combined and is equivalent to the Amazon wildfires of last year - only 4 to 5 times bigger. What is there for us to do?!

This is practically a tug-of-war for time to rescue the ecology of the Earth. An increasing number of warning signs with an escalating magnitude all point to the fact that climate change is already a tangible threat to humanity and a human right crisis as well. Humankind may still have a chance to survive and the time is of the essence as opportunities are bygone once lost. Our decision to handle and harness crises must be fast and firm, with all of us dedicating our utmost best under the guidance of spirituality.

From this perspective, it becomes obvious why the Winter School 2020 theme is critically relevant - 'Healing the Earth: A Transformative Action between Ecology & Technology'. The emphasis is that applications of technology ought to always have proactively benign bearings on the ecology. Every doctrine should concretely contribute to the improvement of the environment. All walks of life must mobilize all resources to galvanize action-taking and all consumptions shall not add to the burdens of ecology.

We are most appreciative that we have the solid support of all participating professors from the world's top-notch universities, and that the student body consists of elites with a strong sense of responsibility and mission. Ecology has also gained attention from the National Myanmar University at Yangon and the Pali University, prompting them to dispatch their respective elites for participation. Winter School 2020 has thus earned high esteem all around, and we hope it will accomplish all pre-set goals to display our readiness to face up to the challenges and our action in taking the initiative to dissolve dilemmas. The program runs but a fortnight, yet I trust that our collective effort will be fruit-bearing. A quality-intensive education and a consensus high in density will most certainly bring about energies to turn things around.

We have a wide-ranging blueprint for development in Myanmar: a research institute in Yangon, a land lot designated for the future University in the Bago Region, and an education system from elementary school to college in Naung Mon. We perceive it to be a model of education that seamlessly integrates spirituality and technology. We aim to achieve living examples of how best to harmonize the impact of modernization in a tradition-heavy country that unwaveringly honors the inheritance of Buddhism. In parallel, it is hoped that solutions will be identified and provided for a world of consumerism that hypes up trends and lifestyles that impact ecology negatively.

Our professional teams share a common vision and determination. We hereby extend a sincere invitation to everyone to join our healing action to "Love the Earth / Love Peace", no matter when and how. We welcome you to join us in elevating human civilizations, in injecting wisdom and compassion as the genes of peace towards the efficacy of an inter-reliant symbiosis to reach further than originally projected and ultimately alter our life community and the fate of the Earth.

Last but not least I would like to point out to your attention that Venerable Sitagu Sayadaw just took a flight to specifically join us today. His very presence is a great encouragement for Winter School 2020, and his participation further enhances our link to, and interactions with, both Buddhism and the world for an even better vision for ecology and world peace. We welcome him whole-heartedly.

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