WASHINGTON: First YeojuEcoforum Interfaith Dialogue on Ecological Civilization.was held at the SunValley Hotel in Yejpu, Korea, from October 3 to 5 bringing together leading religious leaders and scholars to gather constructive wisdom on how to deal with our urgent ecological crises and discuss how we can help foster a new ecologically-minded civilization.
The event was sponsored by Yeoju City, the Institute for the Postmodern Development of China, Daejin University, and DaesoonJinrihoe. Mat McDermott, Director of Communication, Hindu American Foundation, participated in the conference presenting a speech on Hinduism and ecology in addition to giving opening remarks in the plenary session
McDermott chaired and presented in a panel the role of independent spiritual practitioners. Speaking on the role that practicing bhakti yoga can having in building ecological awareness, McDermott said: “If we truly believe that all of the world around us is divine, that all of our interactions are with manifestations of divinity, and make the effort to remember this as often as we can, then all of our actions can become acts of devotion, acts of worship, expressions of bhakti.
“This has particular importance to developing and deepening our connection to the natural world around us – to our landscape, to the seasons, to the other animals and lifeforms with which we share this planet. If we see these all as aspects and manifestations of divinity, all playing their part in a great divine play, then we can engage with them in a more loving, more reverential, spiritual, and considered way.
“With this attitude all of our life becomes absorbed in devotion in a very practical and simple way. Even activities that aren’t generally seen as religious or spiritual in any way can become so when seen through a lens of devotion and omnipresent Divinity.”
Reporting back to the plenary after his panel, speaking to a packed room of some 150 people, McDermott noted: “I firmly believe if we learn to deeply love and embody gratitude for the natural world, each of us in our own way, then many of our current ecological challenges – challenges which many speakers over the past two days have reminded us are truly threatening the future of our current civilization – become far easier to solve.
” If each us individually cultivate this sort of devotion towards the natural world, upon which we are entirely dependent, we become more thoughtful in our lifestyles, more considerate in how these things may be damaging our shared home.”