The 62nd Annual DPI/NGO Conference
The Wisdom of Balance for Development and Peace:
Creating A Nuclear-Weapon-Free World
Zhang-men-ren of Tai Ji Men
President of Tai Ji Men Qigong Academy
President of Federation of World Peace and Love
President of Dr. Hong Tao Tze Culture and Education Foundation
Honorary Vice-President and member of Advisory Board of
Association of World Citizens UN/NGO/DPI/ECOSOC
September 1, 2009
In the 21st century, the survival of humanity is more inter-connected than ever. Whether it is at work, in family life, or the interactions between races and nations, all can deeply feel this need of inter-connectedness. Everyone has experienced the turmoil of the global financial meltdown and no one was able to escape its effects. From emerging countries to developed ones, each nation is caught up in the extensive complications resulting from the economic and financial crisis. Today, with the threat of a H1N1 outbreak looming, the stage has been set for a serious battle between human and virus. In light of the potential danger, we would like to promote the preventive measures of maintaining good personal hygiene and high spirits to enhance immunity. A booklet entitled “Preventive Measures for Health and Well-being” that I have prepared is presented at the conference as a reference to increase the resistance against the swine flu virus. This booklet has been sent to heads of state as well as government and NGO leaders around the world to enhance their mental and physical health.
The change of the world environment is caused by the change of the human heart. What lies at the polar ends is the kindness and wickedness of humanity. The manifestation of the wickedness is true and scary. Our living environment is being destroyed. Forests have been cut. Abundant resources have been depleted. The magnetic field of the earth has been polluted and the quality of life contaminated. The survival of mankind is under threat from the mutation of new diseases, shortages of food and abnormal climate change. In 1340, the outbreak of a plague in Europe, which killed 75 million people, was one of the most severe epidemics in history. The disease continued to haunt mankind for over three hundred years and it did not get completely eliminated until the 17th century. Today, mankind is again threatened by the transmission of swine flu that leapt from animal to human and has proceeded to spread throughout the world. Fear and anxiety will only cause the outbreak to spread even faster.
Apathy can no longer be allowed to fester between people and nations. In this age of chaos, the waves of turbulences are everywhere. It is all too easy to be swept away by the waves and have your heart get led astray. Everyone needs to stay positive in order to find the light. Living in these troubled times, people must search for order and the values of life. Restraint and respect between people are the golden keys of holding up the basic order in society and the world.
A few years ago, the movie I-Robot was created on the premise that by the year of 2035, high-quality robot will be developed through modern technology. An average of 1 in 5 people will own a strong and long-lasting titanium robot which does different kinds of daily chores for mankind, including babysitting, cooking, courier deliveries, walking dogs, and even accounting. At that time, we will even see robots practicing psychological counseling. It is natural for people to seek logic and scientific advancements in life. And people will get more used to interacting with robots than people. However, the leading male character prefers the old fashion way and misses the simple life of old times. He dislikes technology and robots and living in the world dominated by them. His counterpart in the movie is a robot developer who has fully embraced the new technology, each character insisting on their own beliefs creates the crisis the movie revolves around. Even though it is only a movie, it frames a message of how “development and peace” can coexist and advance at the same time. All these years, as each nation has strives to achieve new developments in every area. Whether it is an under-developed, developing, or developed country, each of them has shown progress without exception.
A true gentleman fetches his fortune in the proper ways only. When a sage holds the power of governance, its nation and people are blessed with prosperity and safety. The understands that the keys are love and peace paired with balances and wisdom. Tolerance and forgiveness brings an end to war. A sustainable future exists only when mankind knows how to cherish the earth. Linking all these together, we must know the true practice of the wisdom of balance and how to utilize it for the purpose of promoting development and peace at the same time.
Looking back on the processes of development and peace throughout human history, the meaning of development and peace varies. Different opinions will emerge based on the positions taken. Which models are right? Which ones are wrong? What kinds of influences may they generate? In consideration of the devastation caused by World War I, which itself was the result of an evil thought, two-thirds of the then 1.5 billion people were immersed in the war with more than 15 million people killed and 20 million injured on the battlefield, and the economic losses totaled US$ 270 billion. An evil thought also caused the Second World War. Eighty percent of the then 2 billion people were impacted by the war. More than 27 million soldiers died and 55 million civilians got killed while economic losses totaled over US$ 4 trillion.
The key factor of ending World War II was the dropping of atomic bombs on the cities of Hiroshima, and Nagasaki in Japan. The devastation and long–term effects are beyond imagination. As the Soviet Union and United States both engaged in a nuclear arsenal competition in the 1960s, the outcry for nuclear non-proliferation has gained momentum. As a result, the treaty on Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons was signed by the United Kingdom, United States, the Soviet Union, and other 59 nations on July 1, 1968 to limit the spread of nuclear weapons, to promote the goal of nuclear disarmament, and co-operation in the peaceful use of nuclear energy. Currently with 190 member states, the treaty is the cornerstone of the international nuclear non-proliferation mechanism to regulate the rights of all the sovereign states to use nuclear energy for peaceful purpose, as well as the responsibilities of complying with its obligations.
On Sept 10, 1996, the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT) was adopted by the 50th General Assembly of the United Nations to ban nuclear explosions in all environments. The treaty contributes to prevent the spread of nuclear weapons and to promote the progress of nuclear disarmament. It is an important step in the process towards achieving the complete prohibition and destruction of nuclear weapons. Disarmament and nuclear non-proliferation are two sides of the coin. States with nuclear weapons should gradually reduce their number of nuclear weapons and eventually eliminate them altogether. And nations without nuclear weapons promise not to develop these weapons of massive destruction. It is not an easy task to consolidate the different interests among nations. Signing the treaty is a commitment to practice self-restraint. We definitely recognize the past achievements. However, more work needs to be done and time remaining in the window of opportunity is running out. To create a nuclear-weapon-free world, we must act now.
An estimated 110 million landmines are still buried in 64 countries across the continents of Europe, Asia, and Africa, statistics shows that one person is killed or injured by a landmine explosion every 20 minutes. Millions of landmines have caused inhumane casualties on Earth. Consequently, many NGO organizations, including human rights organizations, child welfare groups, refugee organizations, medical and humanitarian groups, all have utilized their most influential techniques to help the victims, to actively collect information, and participate in deliberations on global disarmament in the hope of reducing the number of weapons in the world.
The financial tsunami in 2008 has caused widespread economic crisis. The global economy is not out of woods yet. On top of the financial crisis, drought, famine and infringements of human rights have caused stagnation or even reversion in some cases, towards the achievement of meeting the Millennium Development Goals by 2015. Constrained by the lack of resources, the desperation in the hearts of people changes the living environment of the world. In order to secure more resources, the theme “For Peace and Development: Disarm Now” of the 62nd Annual DPI/NGO Conference is of utmost importance and urgency. Global military expenditures affect the economic development and welfare of mankind to a very large degree. Disarmament and development is one important step towards a prosperous international community free from fear. The right policy mix will foster stability and economic development, promote progress, create job opportunities, help alleviate poverty, and create a foundation for social security and welfare.
Culture is the origin of human virtue. Current stresses have tainted our cultures and virtues; in order to return to a clean and clear origin it is necessary to change people’s hearts through the re-establishment of a greater framework, and to incorporate the expectation of change into the original plan. Here, change refers to the change of human heart. While the original plan may not be flawed, what controls the progress of the plan is the hearts of human beings, so it becomes necessary to adapt to the changes as they occur. Over the years, the four organizations of the Federation of World Peace and Love (FOWPAL,) the UN/NGO Association of World Citizens (AWC,) Tai Ji Men, and Dr. Hong Tao Tze Culture and Education Foundation, have arranged for the Bell of Peace to be rung by the heads of state and government and elite leaders. In the face of their own true hearts and witnessed by heaven and earth and all mankind, the bell ringers lift up the bell hammer to pay respect, commit themselves to peace and then ring the bell. This ringing of the bell not only affirms the motivations in their hearts, but also declares their commitment in public. At the end, the engraving of one’s nationality, organization, and identity on the bell also simultaneously leaves a imprint on his/her heart. Through this ceremony the ringer’s conduct will always be influenced. For decades, we have been holding seminars to consolidate the will and actions for world peace. The event’s influences have been felt in far away corners of the earth.
In 2007, I was invited to attend the 11th International Education for World Citizens Congress in Russia. At the foot of the remote Ural Mountains, a group of educators, who have been implementing peace education quietly for more than 20 years, diligently preserve their traditional culture, and illuminate the numerous children’s hearts with love and peace. The Russian people nourished by the long-standing culture and history develop distinct ethnicity and characteristics. Through heart to heart communication, even though these groups of friends had never seen the Bell of Peace, their tender hearts already could hear the ringing of the Bell of Peace reverberating by the Lake Turgoyak at the foot of Ural Mountains. Their hearts were inspired and imprinted through their beliefs. This is the harmony of development and peace.
Let it be known that all the measures of development and peace should harmonize with ideology and reality. There are many ways to implement development, love and peace. However, the most important way is starting with one good thought to turn around the destiny of the world. Changing oneself leads to changing the world. Transforming knowledge into the action is essential. Genuine sincerity will inspire the true words from the bottom of the heart.
Albert Einstein said, “I do not know with what weapons World War III will be fought, but World War IV will be fought with sticks and stones.” This demonstrates the possibility of cultural extinction. The atomic boom dropped 64 years ago has already demonstrated the destructive power of nuclear weapons. This atrocity is more than enough to prevent all such unnecessary incidents from happening again. The whole world knows that nuclear weapons will bring about unpredictable disasters. It is an immoral and illegal weapon that is used to willfully slaughter the innocent.
In May of 2010, the Review Conference of the Parties to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) will be held in the UN Headquarter in New York to appeal to political leaders and citizens to endeavor toward the goal of nuclear abolishment. This year, in keen consideration of the review conference, the “Hiroshima-Nagasaki Declaration of Nobel Peace Laureates” signed by 17 Nobel Peace laureates on May 17 2009, was released to urge people to take actions to convince the elite global leaders to abolish nuclear weapons. One of the Nobel Peace Laureates, the keynote speaker in the opening of 62nd DPI NGO Conference, Jody Williams, rang the Bell of World Peace and Love in 2001. Her wish was for peace stating, “Peace will prevail when individual’s and people’s voices are truly heard in determining their future” this wish still touches people’s hearts. Her efforts and contributions can be seen in her actions. Respecting life and guaranteeing survival are the basic requirements of human existences. The 2009 Annual DPI/ NGO Conference will be an opportunity for the governments of every nation to hear the world citizen’s aspirations and witness their actions in pursuit of safety, security, peace and development.
The wisdom of awakening is the beginning of enlightenment. Only when one understands the meaning of peace and development, will he/she know how to advance peace and development. With the understanding of balancing all things, the wisdom can be acquired to create a nuclear-weapon-free world and to achieve complete development and world peace. With this goal in mind, we need to work in the following three directions.
Nurture peace and trust between people: Opponents with equal strengths and abilities are called the rivals. Having your rival imitate your conduct is the new standard. You can set the standard for your rival, instead of competing against him, and start to rebuild the belief in peace. Mutual respect among people, constructive competition among corporations and cultural exchanges between nations will lead to win-win situations and pave the way for future opportunities of working together.
Restore harmony between human and animal: Stop killing the innocent animals. Stop the over-exploitation of natural resources. Human beings can never take the position of God. Survival of the fittest is never malicious destruction.
The co-existence between human and nature: Mother Nature nourishes the existence of human beings. People need to change in order to acquire positive thoughts, and alter their interactions with Mother Nature. She is a living organism that exists between us. Without her, human beings can never survive.
In a world where truth is obscured by illusion, we live our lives traveling along an unchartered path without knowing what lies ahead. The first step along the true path is changing our personality. A beautiful flower in a dirty surrounding will inspire the desire to clean up the environment. That’s all because of a change in the heart. Once the switch of change has been turned on, a chain reaction of dramatic change can be expected. Rigidity cannot withstand pressure, while esoteric principles easily slip away from the people. We have to be mindful of the emergence of evil thought, which is like a horned green monster. Although it will not swallow our mentality; it will gradually deprive us of our conscience and torture us painfully and slowly, leaving nothing but a body full of evil thoughts. Tai Ji philosophy of Ying and Yang nurtures the understanding and practice of the real meaning of “right and wrong, good and bad, true and false”, in which lays wisdom. Finding the Tai Ji point is to find balance. To strike the perfect balance between development and peace is the key to a world free from nuclear threats.
People communicate in many different ways. The methods in which we fulfill the basic necessities of life such as clothing, food, housing and transportations ends out messages that we would like to convey. We also converse and communicate through body language, words and thoughts. Among these, thought is the most important means of communication. In all means we expect to deliver the best. The same principle applies to the discussions and missions we would like to achieve for this year’s annual conference. The more erudite one is, the more critical he is about the different aspects of life such as the people he deals with, the work he does and the things he possesses, and the more difficult it is to communicate with him. If we want to succeed, we have to organize ourselves. We have to sort out the messages we hear in our brains. We must reconnect with the world and be immersed in the time, order, spirit and efficiency of the new world. If we adopt a new attitude, we will look at things differently. For the benefit of all humanity, we would like to advocate for heads and state and elite leaders to faithfully hold onto the commitment to a nuclear free world and strive for its attainment. We have to learn the new way of thinking in order to survive. The path is long and winding. All we have to do to achieve our goal is to maintain full devotion with no regret.
One good thought is all it takes to discover where the real peace lies. It is located in the origin of our hearts. At critical moments, people need to do the right things. Changing the heart with one good thought will turn around the magnetic field and destiny of the world. The need for global solidarity has reached a critical mass of urgency and necessity. Through the positive chain reactions of the butterfly effect, we will win more time and opportunities for mankind’s survival. So many things need to be accomplished in life and our lives need to progress as well. Life’s needs are trust, love, and tolerance. Working hand in hand with good hearts inside will preserve the calm people need. Success will come to the people who are prepared. We hope more people will join the movement for the global solidarity for the benefit of humanity. People are endowed with the rights to pursue a better quality of life and the instincts to protect life and abhor violence. The key to change the world lies in the change of a heart. It all starts from turning to one good thought to turn around the world, this is how changing one good thought can change the world.
In closing, best wishes for everyone and the development of each organization. Great success for the 62nd Annual DPI/NGO Conference. May every nation be blessed with prosperity, and its people with safety and wealth. And may peace prevail throughout the world.