World Peace and Harmony: An Inspiration from Water
Venerable Master Chin Kung AM
“Water & Peace” Global Forum 2010 at Lake Biwa
Biwako Hall, Shiga, Japan
20-22 March 2010
Honorable Dr. Masaru Emoto, organizers, and distinguished guests,
As declared by the United Nations, today is World Water Day. I am very honored to be invited by Dr. Masaru Emoto and the sponsors for the "Water & Peace" Global Forum 2010 at Lake Biwa held in Japan this year. This activity is very meaningful for all people who desire the world to be filled with harmony and peace.
There are two meanings in having peaceful and harmonious world: (1) efficiently protect the environment in order to prevent disasters; and 2) attain and remain permanently in peace and harmony, and reconcile wars and conflicts. These are the two main difficulties for the entire human race, and I believe them to be the main subjects for this forum.
I have been learning the traditional Chinese culture and Mahayana Buddhism for fifty-nine years. For over ten years now, I have been teaching on the fundamental sutra of Buddhism, the Avatamsaka Sutra and have understood profoundly the theory and method to completely and perfectly dissolve the two main difficulties of humankind. On this rare and special occasion, I would like to humbly report to all of you. Please forgive me for not being able to attend the forum due to my advanced age and tight schedule. For this, I delegate my student, Dr. Maosen Zhong, to deliver the address on my behalf.
Water Resource Crisis:
Early Warning from Earth
The Earth’s water resource crisis is at a critical point. Reports from scientists tell us that global warming is causing rapid melting of the North Pole, the South Pole, and glaciers. Oceans and rivers are critically polluted. Freshwater resources are in serious decline. This has triggered a serious imbalance in the ecosystem, a crisis in food supplies, a deep recession in the economy, and is even threatening the existence of human beings.
Scientists are warning that if we do not take effective measures, the earth will no longer be suitable for human habitation in the future. Why are so many animal species becoming extinct every year? Because the environment can no longer support their needs. For example, global warming is leading to the melting of ice in the polar regions and the possibility of extinction of species like the polar bear and the penguin. When the abnormal climate results in the reduction of the supply of water for irrigation and seriously reduces food production, it will cause economic crisis and even war. There is even a harsher warning that the war in the future will be a war for water resources and the last drops of water will be the tears of human beings.
Water can see and listen.
All things have all knowing consciousness.
Dr. Masaru Emoto is an old friend of mine. He has experimented on water for more than a decade. He proved that water can sense, comprehend, see, and listen. It seems that water can understand our minds. He found that water can respond to writing, language, music, and even peoples’ minds.
For example, we can write the word “Love” in different languages and stick the paper on a bottle of water for water to “see” it and later put the water bottle into a freezer of minus five degree Celsius. Upon observation of the water under a microscope, we will see beautiful water crystals. But if we write the word “Hate” in any language, the water crystals become ugly. Water can also listen to and understand music. When we play a classical music for water, the water crystals become beautiful. If we say words like, “I hate you” or “I don’t like you” to water, the crystals become very ugly. Therefore, it is proven that water is a living organism.
The Avatamsaka Sutra clearly elaborates on the idea that the whole universe is an organic entity. Flowers, grass, trees, mountains, rivers, earth, and all natural phenomena in the universe are all organic in nature. They are all organisms with the ability to see, listen, and understand peoples’ minds. All physical phenomena (not only water) are capable of seeing, hearing, cognition, and knowing. They all have reception, conception, action, and consciousness. When we have a thought in our mind, the universe knows it clearly and will naturally respond to what we think.
We are very happy and excited to know that Dr. Emoto applied and proved this theory through water. I invited Dr. Emoto to give lectures at several universities in Queensland, Australia in 2003, including our Pure Land Learning College. When I attended the conference of UNESCO in Japan in 2004, I made a special trip to visit his laboratory and listened to his report. He also visited me in Taiwan last year.
Dr. Emoto told me that over his ten years of experimenting, he found out that the water crystals that respond to the words “Love” and “Gratitude” are the most beautiful ones. It seems that love and gratitude are the core of the universe. I agree with him. The core of the nature is love and gratitude.
In ancient China, the education that Chinese received was the education of love and the life they lived was the life of gratitude. How wonderful and perfect? When elaborating the five traditional human relationships, Chinese ancestors started with the relationship of love between parents and children. “The love of parents and children” is the origin of love and the core teaching of ancient sages and saints. They teach us to retain this love for our entire life and extend it to all beings.
The universe is one entity.
Physical and mental are one, not two.
All phenomena in the universe can be roughly classified into two categories: physical and mental. In Buddhist sutras, the Buddha told us all that physical phenomena are the combination of the four elements. They are called form dharmas in Buddhism. Phenomena are the result of the combination of causes and conditions.
What are the four elements? They are the earth, water, fire, and wind. They represent four major characteristics. The characteristic of the element earth refers to substances with form that can be seen, touched, heard, and perceived with our six senses, which are our eyes, ears, nose, tongue, body, and mind. The characteristic of the element fire refers to its temperature; it bears the positive electricity. The characteristic of the element water refers to humidity; it bears the negative electricity. The characteristic of the element wind refers to the kinetic state; it is always moving. Wind is an analogy for motion.
Therefore, these four elements refer to substances that are kinetic and carry negative and positive energy. They are the four main characteristics of all physical phenomena. The mental phenomena in Buddhism are called mind dharmas. They are seeing, hearing, cognition, and knowing.
Dr. Emoto uses water for experimentation. Water is a physical substance. It is the product of a combination of different causes and conditions. Chemists explain that it is the combination of hydrogen and oxygen. If we look inside hydrogen and oxygen, we can find atoms and then elementary particles, for example, electrons and quarks. They are the physical phenomena, the combination of the four main elements that the Buddha referred to. Earth, water, fire, and wind are the characteristics for elementary particles.
It’s like the string theory in modern physics that describes particles as formed by the vibration of different characteristics and modes. The element of wind represents the vibration. The earth, water, and fire elements represent the vibration of different characteristics and modes. This vibration is the origin of all substance. Such vibration is not physical movement in three-dimensional space as we know it. Scientists infer that it could be like the vibrations of the strings of an instrument in the ten possible dimensional space. As if playing a musical instrument, the musical notations from the strings vibration form all the elementary particles and thus shape everything in this universe. Therefore, the universe can be seen as a great symphony that is composed of countless musical notations. In fact, the whole universe is actually vibrating phenomena. There are no real substances.
But scientists cannot clearly explain what substance it is that is actually vibrating. Buddhist teachings explain clearly. It is stated in the sutras: “All phenomena are the manifestations of the mind.” As a matter of fact, they are the manifestations of the vibrations of our thoughts. In the Sutra of the Bodhisattva in the Womb, Maitreya Bodhisattva said: “In the time it takes a person to snap his fingers once, there are thirty-two trillion thoughts that came to pass in that person’s mind. Each thought will manifest into a form. Every form has a consciousness.” The form is a physical phenomenon and the consciousness is a mental phenomenon. They are both the manifestations of our thoughts.
Therefore, form dharmas and mind dharmas originate from the same place. Now we say mind only and form only. Actually, they are one concept, not two. They cannot be separated. Form contains the mind and the mind contains form. They are integrated with each other. All physical phenomena have mind dharmas; they are capable of seeing, hearing, cognition, and knowing, and can respond to all the good and bad thoughts of human beings. Therefore, the whole universe is a single entity, a manifestation of our mind. Just as stated in the Avatamsaka Sutra, “All phenomena are manifested by the mind and altered by the consciousness.”
The “mind” here means the true self-nature, which is innate to all of us. The “consciousness” means the thought we have when we are unenlightened. The universe is merely an existence of our consciousness. Beside the thought we have at this moment, there isn’t any real physical phenomena existing. From the cells in our body to all things in this world, from the elementary particles to the galaxies and the whole universe, everything is the manifestation of our continuous thoughts; everything is maintained and altered by our continuous thoughts.
The rise and fall of our thought are extremely fast. When we snap our fingers (which takes about a quarter of a second), there are thirty-two trillion thoughts that took place in our mind, which means there were one hundred and twenty-eight trillion thoughts that arose and extinguished in a second. When thought arises, the universe manifests. When thought extinguishes, the universe extinguishes as well and the essence of the self-nature manifests immediately. In the self-nature, there is only purity and virtue; there is no conflict, only compassion and sincerity with complete understanding and caring.
This is a multicultural world. There are different religions, schools of thought, ethnic groups, and nations. We are all part of a bigger family. How can we fight with one another? We need to live in peace while respecting individual differences. We have to respect one another. We do not ask for respect from others but respect others first. Even if there is no respect in return, we still show our sincere respect to others. Eventually, one day others will pay their respect to us. I pay my respect to him, care about him, care for him, and help him with all my heart without asking anything in return because I know we are one entity. I know the whole universe is one entity. He just doesn’t know it yet because he is still unenlightened. When he attains awareness, he will think and do the same.
Good Health and Bad Health are
Determined by Our Thoughts
We all know that 70% of our body is made of water. From Dr. Emoto’s experiment, we understand the idea that if we have a virtuous thought, water will respond positively. Therefore, if all the cells in our body are virtuous, our body will stay healthy. There is no need to take any medicine even though we are ill. The unhealthy cells will automatically gradually recover from illness.
If we have an evil thought, a selfish mind, an arrogant thought, then the water will respond negatively and directly influence our body. This inspiration elaborates well on the idea that “All phenomena arise from our minds. Our environment changes according to our mind.” Our body is the closest phenomenon and environment to our mind.
Therefore, we should be happy and joyful with benevolent hearts, and always be mindful of repaying others’ kindness. Then the cells in our bodies will stay healthy. If we have anxieties, worries, hatred, fear, and confrontational minds against others, these will do serious harm to our bodies. If we want to be healthy, we must have good thoughts, say good words, and do good deeds. As a result, all the cells in our bodies will be healthy.
Many religious people pray before a meal. This is very rational. A sincere prayer makes the water crystals inside the food better. Why? It is because all cells are capable of listening and seeing—they can sense our thoughts. By understanding this concept, we should pay more attention to our everyday life. So be pleasant and do not be angry when are eating. For example, we should cheer up the cook or at least not irritate him or her. If the cook becomes angry when cooking, the food will be poisoned by the anger.
Great Master Yin Guang’s The Essay of the Master Yin Guang, written in the last century, refers to a real life story in which a mother fed her baby with breast milk right after she lost her temper. The baby was poisoned by the breast milk and died. There are numerous examples like this.
Today, many people are seriously ill. Why do they become ill? Where do the illnesses come from? The root cause is our anger. If we can calm down and never get angry, there will be no more illness. When we learn that, we will be healthy. Although there are still many people and reasons out there that can make us angry, (we Buddhists call them our karmic creditors), we do not have to be so obedient and get angry when they irritate us. If we get angry once they irritate us, then we are fooled.
We have to know the truth. They are here to make me angry. I know that and I will not follow their will. On the contrary, I will smile at them. In this way, no one can harm me.
Who can harm us? Actually, we can only be harmed by ourselves! If we can learn this, no matter how hard people try to irritate us, we will be impervious. If we can be impervious, we will truly see through to the truth and let go of everything.
So if we can cheer ourselves up more often, we will be healthy in both body and mind. If we worry and doubt all the time, how can we be healthy? This concept is not only clarified in Buddhism, but also in Confucianism. Confucius said: “I feel delightful when I can constantly practice and realize what I have learned.” This “delight” is not from the outside but from our innate virtue. It is so precious! If one can do so, this person will be healthy and long-lived, happy and satisfied. Chinese ancestors often said that it is pleasant to read and study. This happiness has nothing to do with our material life, our wealth, status, or power. This happiness is from learning and practicing the teachings of the ancient sages and saints. This is the true happiness. Therefore, Mahayana Buddhism often says “Bodhisattvas are always happy and experience joy in the Dharma.”
Disasters are Manifested by Our Minds and
Can be Eliminated by Our Minds
There are natural and man-made disasters and unusual climatic events all around the world. The recent earthquake in Haiti resulted in the deaths of almost three hundred thousand people. Such phenomena are what our ancestors called, “The signs from Heaven,” and said they are warnings from nature. Scientists also warn us that in 2012, there might be violent radiation from the sunspots’ severe activities. Such heightened solar storm on the surface of the sun may weaken the magnetic force for the North and South Poles, which might result in devastating earthquakes, tsunamis, and volcanic eruptions.
Do we have a chance to save ourselves from disasters? The answer is positive. In Buddhism, there are sound and convincing fundamental theories. What is the foundation? We read in the Mahayana sutras: “All phenomena are manifested by the mind” and “Our environment changes according to our mind.” “Environment” here means mountains, rivers, earth, trees, flowers, and grasses. They can all be changed by our minds. We have to remember this sentence. If I can be a person with a pure, virtuous, sincere, compassionate mind, then the mountains, rivers, earth, trees, flowers, and grasses will become strong and wonderful. If my mind is full of greed, anger, ignorance, and arrogance, and my thoughts are constantly of taking advantage of others to benefit myself, then the outer world will become fragile.
Dr. Emoto conducted an experiment in a bay at Lake Biwa. The water in the bay had been stagnant for the past twenty years, smelled terribly, and was serious polluted. Led by a monk who was over ninety years old, Dr. Emoto gathered more than one hundred people and prayed by the bay. The prayer was simple. People attending the experiment were asked to sincerely and single-mindedly concentrate on one sentence, “Pure lake water, I love you” for one hour.
Three days later, the water in the bay water became clean and pure. Dr. Emoto also took samples of the bay water before and after the experiment. The water crystals before the experiment were ugly but the water crystals after the praying were very beautiful. This fact, which was reported by Japanese media, surprised the general public. Dr. Emoto told me that the bay water remained clean for only half a year. One single prayer session could restore the dirty bay water to a state of cleanliness for half a year. Then the water became polluted again as it was before the experiment. If they can pray to the water every month, it’s likely that the water will be clean forever. This is a very valuable experiment. It helped to explain that our minds can truly influence and change our environment.
Where do disasters come from? They are the manifestations of our minds. They occur because our minds are impure with too many aberrant thoughts. Therefore, we summon so many disasters to our planet. The Surangama Sutra tells us clearly that our consuming greed can result in floods. Our consuming anger can result in fire, causing volcanic eruptions and escalating the temperature of our planet. When our planet gets angry, she shows her temper through volcanic eruptions. Ignorance brings about disasters caused by typhoons and hurricanes. Arrogance results in earthquakes. When we are arrogant, our mind is no longer just and we lose our sense of equality. Inequality in our mind causes earthquakes. Therefore, greed, anger, ignorance, and arrogance are the four root causes of the four different disasters.
Then how do man-made calamities, war for example, come about? They are from the confrontational and conflicting thoughts in our minds. For example, when there is profit, who do we think of benefitting first? If we think of ourselves first, then it will be difficult to avoid conflicts of interest with others. If everyone thinks of him- or herself, how can this world be safe and secure?
On the other hand, if everyone can put others before themselves, how can this world be in disorder? Therefore, Buddhism teaches us to work to eliminate greed, hatred, and ignorance; to abide by precepts, practice meditative concentration and wisdom; to eliminate all the conflicts within ourselves against all people and environment; to let go of all selfish thoughts; and to only consider the needs of others. If we can truly learn this principle, we are “seeing through” to the truth. But we need to start by putting these teachings into real practice by completely letting go of all greed, anger, ignorance, and arrogance; eradicating all evil and practicing all good deeds; and practicing giving and patience. Doing so we will accumulate merit and virtue.
What if we can truly put down all the wandering thoughts, discriminations, and attachments? The world will be changed immediately! What will it become? The world will become the Land of Ultimate Bliss. What is the difference between our land and the Land of Ultimate Bliss? Sakyamuni Buddha introduced us to the Land of Ultimate Bliss where people of supreme virtue assemble. When people’s minds are virtuous, the land will be stable and secure. Everything will be wonderful without the least defect. When people’s minds are vicious, the land and everything in it will be vicious too.
The practice of patience and tolerance is extremely important. Only when we are capable of enduring everything, can our hearts can be pure and unaffected by external influences. When we can be unaffected, our external environment will better accord with our thoughts.
When we truly practice this principle, we transform ourselves while changing others. How? Our true practice can influence others. When one of our students truly practices the teaching for less than six months, the relationships in his family will improve. When he practices for another half year, he will influence his neighbors, relatives, and friends. They will all learn from him. So changes first begin with ourselves, our minds, and our families, and then gradually influence others.
Can we truly transform others in this way? The answer is definitely positive. Ancient saints and sages said, “Human nature is innately good.” Although there are people who do bad things, one day when they are taught the teachings of the saints and sages, these people will become aware of their mistakes and turn back from their erroneous way. When we hear many touching stories of this happening, we cannot help but be deeply touched.
Can society be saved? The answer is most definitely positive. But saved by whom? We have to take this as our responsibility right now. “It is my responsibility to save the world.” There is no difference between myself and the world—the world and I are one. Only when I can let go of all my selfish thoughts, my thoughts of greed, anger, ignorance, and arrogance, can I eliminate the disasters in this world and calm the Earth’s climate. When I can truly let go of all conflicts against all people and the environment, will our world will be harmonious and peaceful. Therefore, we need to have a great bodhi-mind, a great compassionate mind.
We read in Guidelines for Being a Good Person: “Love all beings [regardless of nationality, race, or religion].” Mahayana Buddhism likewise teaches us to fill the whole universe and all the dharma realms with love, and to express virtuous thoughts everywhere in this Saha world. We need to do our best to be of service to suffering beings.
What is the most important service of all? The Buddha showed us that teaching is the most important task. Through teaching, we help others reach enlightenment and be awakened. The Buddha continuously taught for forty-nine years not only with words but with true practice. He was the best role model for all people to learn from.
Human Nature is Innately Good;
Teaching is the First Priority
The first eight sentences in the Three Character Classic are the upmost concepts in education passed on by our ancestors from thousands of years ago. “The nature of people at birth is innately good.” This sentence gives human nature a positive description. Everyone is born with virtue. Sakyamuni Buddha said: “All sentient beings are originally Buddhas.” So simple and direct! You are a Buddha! Why have we now become an imperfect, worldly person? In the Three Character Classic, there is a great explanation that explains: “Their natures are similar; their habits are vastly different.”
There is no difference between our original virtue and that of Buddhas or bodhisattvas. Why are we now so different? It is because our acquired habits are different. We are polluted in our everyday lives, by our environment and by complicated affairs between people. When we are polluted, we acquire bad habits. One takes the behavior of one’s company. If we stay close to saints and sages every day, we will become saints. If we stay close to immoral people all the time, we will take on their behavior and eventually become immoral people. Therefore, our ancestors realized the importance of education. So in the Three Character Classic, the following sentence states: “If there is no teaching, our nature will deteriorate.”
There are four main categories in education. These four categories cannot be separated. The first is education on ethical relations. The second is education on moral principles. The third is causality education, and the fourth is the education taught by the saints and sages, including religious education. If the four educations can be carried out completely, the world will be peaceful, society will be stable and secure, and people will be happy and fulfilled. If the four educations are ignored, not surprisingly, the world will be chaotic.
We should first put the four educations into practice ourselves, then elaborate on them to others. We should be role models for others. Doing so, we will be able to help make peace for the world. How did the Chinese ancestors rule their world? It was not by force, or police, nor was it through economy or science. Those methods cannot solve our problems. It was by teaching. In the Book of Rites, the chapter on the Record on the Subject of Education says “Education is essential in building a country and in guiding its people.”
In 2006, we performed an experiment in my hometown of Tangchi in Anhui Province, China, and successfully proved that “People can be taught.” We also proved that the traditional teachings of morality and virtue still work in building a harmonious and peaceful society in the contemporary world.
In a harmonious world, there must be harmony among countries, political parties, ethnic groups, and religions. If all these can be realized, a harmonious world can be realized as well. Among those four, the unity between religions is the first priority. If we first focus on cooperation between religions, the result will be the most efficient. In October 2006, we invited leaders from ten religions to pray for world peace at UNESCO in Paris. This showed that religions can come together harmoniously. We have detailed reports for your reference.
In the past, Dr. Emoto conducted an interesting experiment. He wrote down the names of five different religions—Christianity, Catholicism, Islam, Buddhism, and Shintoism—on a piece of paper and fixed the piece of paper to a glass bottle containing water. Afterwards, the water showed very beautiful water crystals under a microscope. It shows that all religions are actually one family. When Dr. Emoto showed me the picture, it seems that there was a face on the ice crystal. Dr. Emoto said to me humorously, “Master, this face looks like you.”
Throughout our history and regardless of countries, traditional religions like Islam, Christianity, and Buddhism, and the teachings of the saints and sages all taught moral and ethical education as well as causality. Sentient beings are taught with the teaching of saints and sages, which follow the rule of nature. We should learn the teachings with a humble mind and propagate the teachings.
In the Bible, we see “For God so loved the world….” This is the essence of the religion. In the Koran, we see “Allah, the Most Merciful.” In Buddhism, we see “Compassion is the essence, and expediency is the means.”
In traditional Chinese education, Confucianism was the main focus. There is a saying, “We need to fulfill the potential of compassion.” Compassion is love. Always thinking of others before oneself is love. All traditional education teaches us to be compassionate and kind. The core of these teachings is love. Gratitude is the expression of love. Therefore, the water crystals responding to the words “Gratitude” and “Love” is extremely beautiful. Dr. Emoto has proved that to us.
We are grateful for Dr. Emoto’s effort. He gave us such a valuable and wonderful message from his experiment. For world peace and harmony, water does give us the best inspiration. If we can work together to propagate the benevolent teachings of the saints and sages to the whole world; and teach everyone to have good thoughts, say good words, do good deeds, and be a virtuous person; then we can definitely help everyone to live a happy and healthy life. Furthermore, we will turn all water crystals into the most beautiful shapes, eventually eliminate all the disasters for good, and fulfill the ideal of world peace forever! Thank you!
I am here merely to offer my humble and sincere opinions and experiences, and would be most grateful for your further enlightenment. I wish the forum a complete success! Good fortune and good luck to everyone!
Shi Chin Kung
President, Pure Land Learning College, Australia
Honorary Professor, Griffith University, Australia
Honorary Professor, University of Queensland, Australia
Honorary DhD, Syarif Hidayatullah State Islamic University in Indonesia