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Environmental Protection and Humanistic Buddhism, Lecture by: Larry Ward
June 7, 2015

Larry’s perspective on why Humanistic Buddhism is so beneficial to the protection of environment. In his study of social process, there are three major processes that are interrelated to each other’s. These three processes are Economic, Politics and Culture. Professor Larry Ward thinks we are in a crisis because economic process has dominated the social process. He gave an example of traveling up north not too long ago, where he saw extreme poverty of homeless people and expensive shop with 10 dollars coffee around the corner. Due to the domination of economic process, the political process tries to accommodate the economic process no matter if is good or bad. The political process affects or influences the decision making process of cultural. Culture process has to do with education and the meaning of life.

Larry sited a hypothesis from a will know Sociologist on “Two Modes of Existence”. The two modes are “Having” and “Being”. “Having” is influence or affected by economy and “Being” is the human being experience. The problem we have now a day is how we view another person. We view the individual as what he or she “Have”. What we have can be counted and described but when it comes down to being or human being, our name doesn’t describe our humanist. The human experience is living experience not quantifiable. The Danger we are in is the mode of “Having”. We think the more we “HAVE” the more human we are.

Between the two systems of “Mode of Existence” versus “Social Process”, what does it mean to be human? How do we create a more simplistic lifestyle and not equate “Having” as a more human being. This is where Buddhism can contribute to this subject. It’s imperative to start off with “Right View”. This allows us to contemplate. The teaching of Buddha on “Impermanence of all phenomena” has shown the fall of all Political system throughout history. Our mind can confuse us. This is why we need to change our consciousness. How do we change our mind? This is where Buddhism excels. Understanding Right View; includes mindfulness and concentration. The answer to changing the mind is “Nero-Plasticity”. “Meditation” helps or improves communication of the right and left hemisphere of our brain. The back of our brain is not much different than the reptile brain such as lizard, and crocodile. This allows us to take action when in danger. Our front part of the brain is where we develop our thinking and analysis ability. Meditation practices free us from the reptile’s brain. The “Identity making process” is shifted from having to being.

At the end of the Talk, Dr. Ward advised every one of the audience have to visit Fo Guang Shan for at least one time. And they can learn a lot in the temple.