Seoul Draft of the World Life Charter was revealed
International Conference before ‘New Silk Road for Life & No-Nukes’
by Lee Sang-hoon (ex-Professor of Suwon University)
In the afternoon of April 20, ‘International Conference for the 2017 Seoul Draft of the World Charter on Life’ was held at World Culture Open W-stage located at Angukdong in Seoul. Two dozens of scholars and religious leaders attended the international conference which was co-hosted by Woljeongsa and ‘New Silk Road for Life & No-Nukes’ and organized by Earth & Life Forum. At the conference, nine members of Earth & Life Forum proclaimed ‘Seoul Draft of the World Charter on Life’. Though the Seoul Draft was not reported by the major press, the significance of the Life Charter may surpass U.N. Charter which was declared at San Fransisco in 1945.
In greeting message, Kim Young-ho (ex. Minister of Industry & Resources) who is one of the four co-representatives of New Silk Road said “In order to overcome the global crisis, three international agreements such as Climate Change Convention and Biodiversity Convention and Agreement on Prevention of Desertification have been proposed. But three international agreements have substantial weaknesses. The weakness of Biodiversity Convention is based on the fact that the plants and forests are regarded only as resources, and life value of all the living organisms is neglected. It is absolutely necessary for the mankind to transform three international agreements into the life-concept. The Life Charter will initiate the new movement for the life-concept.” In opening message, Cho Hee-yeon who is Superintendent of Soul Metropolitan Office of Education, said “The schools in Germany have curriculum to teach the concept of Life-Respect and No-Nukes in various ways. I will do my best to let schools in Seoul do the same as the German schools. One good way for the new concept is to install solar panels at the rooftop of school buildings.
Dr. Sulak Sivaraksa, a prominent Thailand Buddhists activist, said “The teachings of Buddha is similar to the teachings of other religions such as Hinduism, Islam, and Christianism. The aim of each religion is to lead the people to become better human being, and serve other people. I think that the religious leaders should teach and provide life-education which will slow down the climate change, and help to overcome the global crisis.”
Rev. Park Chang-gyon introduced the Pope’s Constitution “Praise be to you, my Lord (Laudao Si)”. He said “The global crisis is a problem that has already been raised in various churches and previous Popes. The Pope called on us to find relationship between the poor and the vulnerability of the Earth, a conviction that everything in the world is connected, the intrinsic value of all creature, the human implications of the ecosystem, the critical responsibility of international politics and domestic politics and the proposal for the new way of life. And the Pope offered to talk with us to solve the global crisis.”
Lee Sang-hoon (retired professor of Suwon University) said “The Seoul Draft of World Life Charter is a short document. However, it took 5 years for us to make the draft. The midwife of the World Life Charter is the Association of Buddhism Ethics which was established in May 2012. The Seoul Draft was first proposed by professor Yoon Yong-taek and Jung Min-gul, at ‘2016 Woljeongsa International Conference’ which was held on October 14, 2016. The theme of the Woljeongsa Conference was ”Toward Life-Sanctitiy Beyond Life-Diversity.“ On the basis of Woljeongsa Draft, Seoul Draft was discussed and revised through 8 meetings of following participants: Kim Yongbok (former President of Hanil Seminary Univ.), Beopeung Sunim (Buddhist Institute for Social Policy), Lee Gong-hyeon (Director of Eundeok Cultural Center), Cho Eun-hwa (Pastor of Hyangrin Church), Kim Yong-hwi (President of Hanul Solidarity of Cheondogyo), Woo Hee-chong (Seoul National University), Yoon Yong-taek (Jeju National Unversity), Lee Sang-hoon (ex. the University of Suwon), Shin Hak-lim (the Press).
Beopeung Sunim, one of the participants, expressed his comment on the Seoul Draft. by saying that “Seoul Draft of the World Life Charter is not a completed version so far. The content of the draft should be refined in the context of historical awareness and philosophical foundation. And, the charter should be presented in plain and easy words so that everyone in the world may understand the charter.”
Polly Higgins, an eco-lawyer from Scotland, said through internet-communication that “international community should prepare a judiciary system to cope with eco-cide which is prevalent all over the world.” Kimura Koichi who serves as a pastor of International Christ Church at Hukuoka in Japan said “ex. Premier Koizumi leads the Japanese anti-nuke movement.” Somboon Chungprampree (Thailand Buddhist and eco-activist) proposed to have another international conference on the theme of ‘Life and No-nuke’, in Octover 2017 at Bangkok, Tailand. Lim Young-seok (professor of Kangwon National University) proposed that the problems of bio-engineering should be included in World Life Charter.
Professor Mozafari who is an Islamic scholar and is teaching at Busan University of Foreign Studies, introduced several Koran verses related with the creation of mankind and management of the Earth, and duty & responsibility of mankind. Especially he said “I hope to see such conference on life and no-nuke to be held in Islamic state.
The reporter tried interviews with important members of the Silk Road for Life and No-Nukes. The director of the steering committee said “Six years have passed after the nuclear accident at Hukushima, Japan. What did the renowned international organization, U,N. do to solve the nuclear disaster? Nothing! Absolutely nothing! The U.N. is a conglomerate of powerful states and exposed it’s weakness. By human efforts, the nuclear weapons can be constrained to some extent. However, the nuclear power plants are uncontrollable. Unexpected earthquake may trigger a disastrous nuclear accident which may put every human and life into annihilation. Moreover, the nuclear waste is unsolvable trouble-maker for next generations. The leaders from diverse religions must come together, and help to monitor & control the 450 nuclear power plants in the world.”
Kim Yong-bok, ex. President of Hanil Seminary University, expressed his opinion as fullows. “The Republic of Korea has destroyed the life-value in the past. In the process of 4 Rivers Project, numerous fishes in the rivers were killed. On the pretext of AI(avious influenza) and Foot-and-mouth Disease, mass-killing of domestic animals were carried out. Korean people should repent of killing animals in the past. However, I would like to emphasize that many religions co-exist peacefully in Korea. Religious leaders recognize and respect the difference of other religion, and there is no religious conflict in Korea. It is very meaningful that life & no-nuke movement for the world starts in Korea where there is no religious war.”
Professor Lee Won-young who walked 1,500 km from temple to temple for 3 years in the past, revealed the ambitious plan of Silk Road for Life & No-Nukes. He said “Pearls are not valuable until they are strung together. I am going to walk 11,000 km for 2 years. During the Silk Road pilgrimage, I will meet and talk with religious leaders about the Seoul Draft of the World Life Charter. I think that additional conferences in Bangkok and Teheran are necessary for worldwide proliferation of the dignity of life and anti-nuclear movement. I will start Life & No-Nukes pilgrimage on 3 May 2017 (Buddha’s Birthday), and finish my pilgrimage on 21 April 2019, Easter. In the Silk Road pilgrimage, I will pay tribute to Dalai Lama, and Pope. I would like to listen to and respect the sayings of religious leaders regarding Life & No-Nukes movement.
World Charter on Life: Seoul Draft (the 1st) – Toward a Nuke-Free World – Preamble
Let us discern the condition of our beautiful and wonderful life-planet Earth.
The Earth is a wonderful planet inhabited by all living beings including humans. Humankind is unique in that human beings developed culture and civilization. The last 30 billion year history of the Earth is a continuing cyclical process of life coming into existence and dying in increasingly diverse forms and in infinite numbers. But now not only the Earth itself, but also various living beings are pushed toward the sixth great extinction because of human greed. Today, living beings and their ecological systems face an unprecedented crisis, mainly because of the mechanistic way of thinking about nature, blind faith in science and technology, wars, and anthropocentric thinking. The climate change due to global warming, radioactive contamination by nuclear accidents and pollution of air, water and soil are all getting worse. The harmonious order that is essential for all living beings and ecosystems is collapsing. We are facing the worst possible crisis, the sixth great extinction, caused by humankind.
Let us recognize the interdependency of humankind with all life.
All living beings form a web of life, interdependent and interrelated with each other. All life follows the cyclical order in nature. All living beings help each other in the process of appearance and disappearance on the Earth. All living beings including humans maintain close interaction with the environment. No organism or inorganic substance can exist when it is isolated from the environment. All living beings sustain their life by following the cyclical order of nature. All living organisms on the Earth form a web of life and are closely interrelated in destiny, which makes all life wonderful and beautiful.
Human ignorance is threatening the dignity of life.
Human beings are unique and excellent in terms of body condition and intellectual capability. All humans are born with dignity, and therefore should not suffer infringement of their basic rights. Humankind exists as a civilized entity. People should help each other and console each other with passion and love. Unfortunately, however, most people evaluate others by such standards as race, nationality, ideology, religion, culture, property, education, and habitat. People discriminate against and abuse those with different standards. In addition, polarization among states and among peoples in each nation has worsened because of neo-liberalism and concentration of wealth. Increasing numbers of weak and poor persons are being driven to death. They are suffering more pain,
and their basic rights are under threat in most countries of the world. The high levels of social polarization and inequality indicate that humankind is not free of barbarism. This polarization and injustice may lead to a crisis for humans and other living beings. Therefore, social polarization should be reformed.
The Earth is in crisis due to human greed and nuclear proliferation.
Human desire, curiosity, and the pursuit of convenience and wealth have worked as the driving forces of the scientific and technological developments. However, improper applications of science and technology resulted in the destruction of other living beings and their ecological systems. Human greed is the main cause of oppression of the weak, and of the destruction of nature. Humankind is wasting precious natural resources and generating massive wastes. Global warming and climate change, micro dusts, water shortages, forest destruction, desertification, and marine pollution are increasing to dangerous levels. The proliferation of nuclear power plants and nuclear weapons around the world, especially, does not end in a threat to global peace but heralds an apocalypse just around the corner, for all living beings including humans and the global community. While nuclear weapons are an immediate threat that may lead to the total extinction of the current generation, nuclear power plants may bring about a catastrophe for both current and coming generations. Humankind must stop the destruction of the environment and the exploitation of natural resources. Humankind must abandon nuclear power plants and ban the proliferation of nuclear weapons.
Let us protect the sustainable life community through our individual and collective efforts.
The crisis facing living beings and their ecological systems is tantamount to a crisis for humankind. When humankind realizes the interdependency of people and other living organisms, the sustainability of the Earth is ensured. When species perish from the Earth one by one, the biodiversity is degraded, and the damage will return to humans, who belong to the same web of life. The disturbance and destruction of the life web will bring about the extinction of humankind and all other living beings on the Earth. The current generation has the responsibility to respect all living beings, and to preserve and hand down the sustainable Earth to the coming generation. The beautiful habitat of all living beings can exist forever through individual efforts to protect the natural ecosystems of the Earth in every country.
The world’s superpowers must seek a great paradigm shift.
No human organization has been invested with the right to monopolize or occupy the Earth exclusively. All living beings are entitled not to have their right to life violated. The Earth is the ‘common heritage of all organic and non-organic life forms.’ Therefore, now is the time for the world’s superpowers to reflect upon their past histories, particularly their destructive actions against the Earth. The world’s superpowers must seek a great transformation in their paradigms and ways of thinking, in order to help all living beings maintain the ecosystem in coexistence. The world’s superpowers must understand the limits of the Earth and
its resources. The world’s superpowers must realize the interdependency of all living beings. The world’s superpowers must lead humankind toward harmonious coexistence between the people and the other living beings on the Earth.
Let’s organize a global mechanism to guard the Earth’s ecosystem.
A ‘fundamental political and economic revolution’ is necessary for all humans living on the earth to create a model for a new relationship with the ecological system. We propose a globally networked and standing organization based on the natural order and human moderation. The new organization will guard humankind and all living beings on the Earth. In order to curb the greed of humans and the expansionism of capitalists, the new organization should transcend national sovereignty and work on the global level. All states and central/local governments, public organizations, business enterprises, religious organizations, and citizens’ groups should join hands in establishing a new global organization. The united efforts of all people living on the Earth will overcome the global crisis.
We appeal to all citizens across the globe to take part in founding a new organization following the principle of cycling of all living being. We propose that all the citizens of the Earth adopt a World Charter on Life, and join us in saving the Earth and ourselves.
original article: http://www.mediatoday.co.kr/?mod=news&act=articleView&idxno=136401