Vertical and Horizontal Ecological Systems and Sustainable Existence and Development for Human Beings
Word count: 3200
- The Oriental Interpretation of Ecological Wisdom Systems – The Vertical Ecological Chain
When the word “ecology” is mentioned, most people think of “environment”; the “ecological environment” around us. I’d like to extend the definition to the “state of life”. When we look at the “state of life” from the perspective of the entirety of the universe, and combine it with the entirety of the traditional Chinese culture, it wouldn’t be hard for us to find a vertical ecological chain, which includes the states of life of the universe, nature, energy, society, and humanity. The state of life of the universe is beyond the three-dimensional world, and it is connected with our heart.
Many years ago, when I was engaged in environmental protection, my expertise was in solar power. I found that if we advocated for environmental protection along with economic growth, the former would be the excuse for the latter, and it would be difficult to achieve the target of environmental protection. Indeed, for many years now, although environmental protection has been a key concept around the world, our environment has nonetheless been repeatedly damaged.
Therefore, I proposed a simple concept, “spiritual environmental protection”, that is, the state of life of the universe. From the fourth to the Nth dimensions (N approaches infinity), in the “integration of multicultural systems”, there is a collection of all the information of all the knowledge we’ve acquired internally. In Buddhism, this is called the Alaya Consciousness. The information that exists internally within us projects all the various levels of the states of life. At the same time, the description of the Nth-dimensional universe is a description within the entire universe. This is why I name it the state of life of the universe.
When the state of life of the universe is projected into our three-dimensional world, we call it the state of life of nature. Projected images appear in the three-dimensional world due to the relatively balanced interference of energies. This is the reason that we can see all the different things in our world – natural and healthy balance of energies and the diseases and natural disasters. The state of life of nature is connected to all things.
We should pay attention to one thing above all in the state of life of nature–that is, the state of life of energy. Human beings living on our planet need to use resources stored in the earth to sustain our lives. The biggest and most important resource that comes from the earth, and that supports life, is energy. However, when examining the ultimate source of energy on earth, we understand that all energy comes from the sun, which then gets converted into all sorts of energies on earth. The state of life of energy is a direct reflection of how we, human beings, make use of the resources on earth. If this state of life is damaged, there is imbalance on the earth, leading to natural disasters.
Then, there is the state of life of society, which is the harmonious relationship of the energies of social interactions. When studying the state of life of nature and energy, we need to also consider the influence of this state of life of society, as it too, contributes to the state of life of the entire universe. Let me give you an example. In the past, when we were trying to restore the natural ecological system of a mountain area, we might have taken some drastic measures, such as sealing off entire areas, and moving all the native residents out after providing them with subsidies. But in doing so, we might have ignored something critical. Those native residents in the mountain areas had been living in the mountains for generations, and their lives were closely connected with everything in the mountains. When they were moved away, they might have gotten a subsidy in money. But after they used up the money, they started to become burdens for the local government as they had lost their ability to live self-sustainably, as they had in the mountains. When they become the target of poverty alleviation, they also become one of the elements of social instability and imbalance. Therefore, when studying real-life ecological systems, we must also consider the balance of the state of life of society. Otherwise, our entire energy system could also be damaged.
Now, let’s turn to the state of life of humanity. The exchanges and clashes among all cultures are all important exchanges of energies. In the past thousands of years, different cultures appeared in different locations and in different ethnic groups. With the development and expansion of information and migration, more frictions and clashes appeared. These were due to the strong, independent elements in the cultures that could not tolerate the similarly natured elements in other cultures. We have learned of many such cultural clashes throughout history. Therefore, the state of life of humanity, of culture, is another important part in energy relations, and must not be ignored.
These five states of life–the universe, nature, energy, society, and humanity–form a vertical ecological chain from which we could conclude that the entire universe is of one entity. An imbalance in any of these five states would affect the entire chain, the entire system. We could also come to realize that the state of life is actually Dao, which is everywhere at any time.
Take, for example, the state of life of civilization. The state of life of civilization is De. At the very beginning of an important classic scripture, the Great Learning, it says, “The way of the Great Learning is to illustrate illustrious virtue.” “Illustrious virtue” is the Dao. To illustrate virtue is to improve and lift the level of dimension, and the illustration is the civilization. What is the definition of civilization? It is the level of consciousness of human beings. And the expression of the state of life of civilization is De. In Dao De Jing, it says, “When Dao is lost, there is De left.” The departure from the Nth-dimension (N approaches infinity) enters (N-1)th dimension. From there to the fourth-dimension, all are descriptions of De.
What is the responsibility one should assume under a certain state of life? By responsibility I mean a restriction that is commonly agreed upon, but is not regulated by law or precepts. In other words, it could be understood as the “heavenly law”. Whenever the word “law” is mentioned, most people think of restrictions. However, heavenly law restrictions are pledged and undertaken by all members and entities of a society for the protection, and love, of that society.
There is a difference in examining environmental issues from a single perspective and from a holistic perspective, as the holographic perspective comes with heaven and man integrated as one, containing information of the entire universe as well as the connections among all information. Such harmony is the harmony among energies in the entire universe, manifesting the harmony among the entire consciousness, and also the harmony of energies between consciousness and matter. It is the true healthy state of energy of human beings.
Through the above discussions, we can understand the rich contents of the state of life. In other words, we can understand that the state of life is not limited to environmental protection. It includes the society, the culture, humanity, and also the four views as mentioned by President Xi Jinping.
The first of the four views is the “universal view that we believe in: harmony between man and nature”. This means, as mentioned before in the lectures, “heaven and man integrated as one”, and all wisdoms in the universe integrated as one. This means, infinity: infinity, and the result is 1. When our internal wisdom has extended to the Nth dimensional universe (N approaches infinity), and has integrated with the universe as one, such formula would work. Such “one” is the genuine “one,” with “heaven and man integrated as one”, everywhere and at any time. Just like the Dao. Just like God. From this perspective we can say that the “universal view that we believe in: harmony between man and nature” is the true noumenon of the universe.
The second view is the “international view that we value peace and harmony in state-to-state relations.” There are many states, or countries, in the world, with different geography and resources. These states are an integral aspect of the three-dimensional world in which we live, and their overall state of harmony is based on the third–namely the “social view that we uphold the principle of harmony without uniformity”. Such non-uniform harmony is a full balance, and the optimal oscillation of different mentalities, ideologies and coexistences. This, then, leads to the fourth view, “the moral view which cherishes harmony and benevolence in our ethics”. The fourth view is consistent with the universal view, as Dao is the Nth dimension (N approaches infinity), and the moral view is the universal view. Morality is the description of all different levels of energies in the universe. This is the root of the Chinese culture, whose essence is the culture of virtue, the virtue of the entire universal culture, and the holographic universal culture.
In the current space we are living in, and from this perspective, we can see that the leader of China has delivered a full and scientific description of the entire system. If we could understand this point, we would be able to understand that the vertical state of life includes the energy relations in the entire universe.
- The Macro Stages of Human Existence and Development – Primitive Coexistence, Savage Competitive Survival, Civilized Competitive Survival, and Harmonious Coexistence
Let’s take a look at the horizontal development line of the developments of energy, matter and human history. After living beings emerged on our planet, and after human beings came into existence, we went through a couple of very distinct stages.
The first was the Primitive Coexistence stage. During this period, human beings had no need to exploit the earth’s resources. The resources on the earth were sufficient for all. At the same time, human beings were living in a way that was in accordance with the earth, with nature, and with the entire chain of the states of life. That was the reasonable existence of human beings on earth at that time, and there was harmony between man and nature.
With the growth of desires, human beings wanted to access more and more resources, and have more rights. At this time, we entered the second stage, the Savage Competitive Survival stage. At this stage, the weak were at the mercy of the strong, who invaded and looted whatever they wanted–mainly the resources of the weak. Under this pretext, human beings went through a disastrous stage of development, with on-going wars, killing and looting, and all sorts of hatred as a result.
After the two World Wars, most human beings had come to a realization that, if this trend were to be continued, human beings would vanish, long before the earth’s natural use-by date. Nuclear war alone threatens ultimate mass distinction. With this in mind, some people started to put their focus on mitigating the excesses of predatory economic activities. The development of concern for a more balanced world economy was a shift from the looting of resources of the past to a more civilized distribution. This indicated the coming of the third stage–Civilized Competitive Survival stage. With the development of commercial and financial activities, human beings achieved a significant redistribution of resources and wealth. However, one of the most important elements has been neglected–the over-exploitation of the earth’s resources. We have come to realize that we have created a huge conflict between ourselves and the earth. A lot of places on the earth are no longer suitable for use; water and ground sources have become contaminated, as has the very air we breathe. It increasingly seems that, even before the sun dies out, we will have nowhere to reside.
During the stage of development for economic prosperity, we had used all possible talent to drive the progress, and took this as a sign of advancement in human civilization. This was actually a big mistake. From the perspective of universal energy harmony, the only natural energy relationship is one that is healthy and sustainable. As we’ve come to see, the Dao follows nature. And the opposite of nature is “man-made”. What conclusion should we draw from this? We should understand that no matter how well and how complex we make the images of this three-dimensional world, there is not much significance in it. The most significant thing to do is to make the connection with the higher dimensions by breaking through the obstacles between us and the higher-dimensional energies. All developments in science and technology may be a good thing in what they had set out to do, but they will also bring unknown catastrophe to human beings. The ancient Chinese who were full of wisdom had reminded us that advancement in technology is not the best thing, and they understood, from a high-dimensional perspective, that human beings could be the victims of the extreme pursuit of technology.
Without this understanding, we might not be able to realize the true situation of our competitive survival–we’d be drinking poison to quench our thirst. The over-exploitation of the earth has seen many overdrafts on the future resources which belong to our children and their children. We see that, in order to stimulate the economy, many different tricks have been applied. For example, the “Double 11” (November 11th) Online Shopping Gala has been promoted to stimulate sales, which, as a result, leads to a lot of impulsive buying and spending. While the increased sales boost helps the manufacturers to stay in business, it also creates a lot of waste, using up limited and precious resources. People who spend their money impulsively seldom have a proper use for the products they buy. The resultant waste is yet another overdraft of the earth’s resources. Such overdrafts are the inevitable result of an economy-oriented development that considers consequences only as an afterthought.
This situation is like the relationship between the front wheels and the rear wheels of a car. The rear wheels will never catch up with the front wheels. The front wheels are the development, and the rear wheels are the environment and responsibilities. What’s worse, the rear wheels will never be able to make up for the damage created by the front wheels. The reason that we see more and more efforts put into environmental protection these days is our recognition of the devastation caused by our front wheel drive. At this present moment, we must change our mentality entirely by changing the nature of the wheels. The front wheels need to be named responsibility, and become the leading force for sustainable development. You may notice that we hear less often the phrase “sustainable development,” as we are now facing a bigger problem–survival crisis.
It is my hope that human beings will be able to enter the fourth stage of development–Harmonious Coexistence among all people, ethnic groups and countries. There should be great harmony among us all. Such harmony would be complete, holographic, and totally natural. It would be the existence of harmony between consciousness energy and material energy. This is the future which we should all aspire to.
III. The Essence of the Wisdom of the State of Life – High-level harmony between consciousness energy and material energy.
High-level harmony between consciousness energy and material energy matches one of the descriptions of communism: abundance in materials and improvement of ideological awareness. In the modern history of the west, there have also been enlightened capitalists promoting great abundance in materials and improvement of ideological awareness. Therefore, enlightened capitalists and communists have chosen the same path in this respect. Buddhists who believe in the Pure Land of Bodhisattva Maitre, and a “pure land on earth”, are also advocating this same high-level harmony between consciousness energy and material energy at this moment of time, at this moment of reality.
The essence of state of life wisdom is to achieve harmony at this moment of time. This creates a big challenge for all of us. The world we are seeing now is a reflection of whether we have harmony within our heart, within our mind. As the Buddhists have said, “all phenomenon is the creation of the mind”, and all are the projected images of our internal perception. When the internal world is in great harmony, the world we see is beautiful and in harmony. However, now, at this very moment of time, are we able to see through the descriptions and find their organizing essence? This organizing essence underlies all existence in the three-dimensional world, all of which is subject to the natural stages of “formation, existence, destruction, emptiness”. Why? Because all the movements of energies in the universe underlie all the forms, which are subject to the four stages described above. This is a description of all things in the three-dimensional world, where time is a constant element. In this world, the initial interferences were rather weak. When the interference is strong, the images would be very sharp and clear. Later the images will become more and more vague, before they disappear eventually.
In fact, all matters in our world must go through the stages of “formation, existence, destruction, emptiness”, with different presentations of destruction and emptiness.
Our natural environment, our social and international environment, are all deteriorating at an accelerating rate, with more and more natural and man-made disasters. Is there any true significance in our discussing environmental protection in this context? Yes. And it’s straightforward. The discussions are indispensable to lifting the level of freedom in consciousness in order to achieve transformation; for the evolution of the energy of all human beings; and for entering into the higher-dimensional space of consciousness. Nonetheless, we need to understand that the destruction of the three-dimensional world is definitely coming, and we need to distinguish between trying our best to grasp hold of every minute and every second of our limited lifespan, and trying to lift our existence, surpassing our limited perception–especially those of the three-dimensional world–and to eliminate our attachment to the material world, departing from commerce-oriented social behaviour, and entering into, by taking responsibility for, the vertical energy relationship. We need to put our life into the high-dimensional energy cycle, a vertical cycle in which we could truly lift ourselves into a higher-dimensional world. If we remain restricted to our three-dimensional world attachment, we will see our own demise in the stages of “formation, existence, destruction, emptiness”. Such ongoing attachment will lead to fear, and a state of living worse than death.
In this lecture, I have talked about the wisdom of the state of life, which includes the environment, our entire outer universe, as well as the internal universe within us. At the same time, it also includes our society and the reality of our world. All these are encompassed by the complete holographic universe, which provides the holographic view of the state of life. This fullest view is what would give us the fullest confidence in the future of human beings.