The Environmental Handbook of Grand Buddha Monastery


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The Environmental Handbook of Grand Buddha Monastery

[日期:2012-08-25] 来源:  作者: [字体: ]

Chief Editor Resume


Aspiration Prayer for Environmental Protection

The Origin of Protecting the Spiritual Environment

Insightful Dharma Words

Recycling Experience of Grand Buddha Monastery

Edible Toothpicks

Guide to Protecting the Living Environment

The Call for a Green World

Protect Our Environment, and the Earth Will Stay Young

The First Green Volunteer Team in Guangzhou

Four Proposals for Environmental Protection

Pro-environmental Wedding Banquet Has Won Wide Acclaim





Guangzhou Suffers the “Garbage Siege” !


Guangzhou suffers the pain of “Garbage Siege” in its fast growth. How should the city dispose of its garbage, through landfill or incineration? How well is its garbage sorting? The latest data show that the volume of garbage in the city increases by 7% annually, which is almost the same with the speed of its GDP. According to some statistics, the city produces about 18,000 tons of garbage every day, only about 12,000 tons of which can be terminally disposed of and its garbage sorting rate hovers at 33% for a long time. Though Guangzhou is ahead of other cities in China in terms of garbage disposal, the city is facing severe challenges, and compared with developed countries, it lags far behind. Currently, the city disposes of garbage mainly through landfill and incineration. However, the academic circle generally believes that it is garbage sorting that is helpful for achieving the effective recycle of the waste, and meanwhile it can greatly reduce harmful pollution produced by waste incineration, as well as land that is needed for landfill.


Guangzhou People Are in Action!


To resolve the problem of “garbage siege”, the Guangzhou Municipal Party Committee and Municipal Government are determined to launch an enduring campaign to comprehensively address issues related to garbage sorting, which involves the following tasks: raise public awareness by leveraging public information platforms for the large-scale and sustained in-depth social mobilization; follow the principle of reduction, reclamation and decontamination; make the domestic garbage sorting basically actualized in both urban and rural areas; raise public participation rate to over 75% and the recovery rate to 40%. Furthermore, the eligibility criteria for classification should be met in 80% of urban communities. And a few garbage treatment terminal facilities that will play an important role will be built.


Guangzhou Religious Circle Is in Action!


To respond to the call of the municipal government on comprehensively furthering the domestic garbage sorting, the Grand Buddha Monastery actively encourages vast majority of believers to devote to the action of garbage sorting, and actively promotes and practices Four Kinds of Environmentalism including “Protecting the Spiritual Environment, Protecting the Living Environment, Protecting the Natural Environment, and Protecting the Social Environment.”


Moreover, the monastery has established The Green Volunteer Team of Guangzhou Buddhist Circle, which is devoted to garbage sorting and has attracted nearly 1,000 people. This team organizes its members to systematically study the knowledge of garbage sorting, and helps them understand environmental protection from the perspective of Buddhist doctrines so as to nurture blessings and wisdom and to repay the society. Besides, by practicing environmental ideas from the bottom of their hearts, they endeavor to create a pure land on earth. Thus, the monastery has won good reputation from across the society.


On August 10, 2002, the “Launching Ceremony of Garbage Sorting by Guangzhou Religious Circle and the Grand Buddha Monastery” was grandly held at the Grand Buddha Monastery in Guangzhou. Themed as “Do good to others, cherish blessings and protect the environment”, this event calls on Guangzhou religious circle to respond positively to the appeal of the Guangzhou Municipal Party Committee and Municipal Government, establish the concept of “everyone takes action in garbage sorting; everyone shoulders responsibility in garbage disposal”, follow the garbage sorting’s requirements of “sell what can be sold, put detriments aside and separate the dry and the wet”; actively promote believers’ comprehensive participation in the action of garbage sorting, so as to fully demonstrate the Guangzhou religious circle’s fine traditions in respecting nature, promoting environmental protection and advocating public welfare.

We Are in Action to Create

a Pure Land on Earth!


We are in an era marked by advanced scientific technologies and material civilization. Meanwhile it is also an era when people lack religious faiths, when they are spiritually confused, when their hearts are empty, and when the ecology is damaged and the society is imbalanced. It is the best of times and the worst of times.


It is wrong that human beings only care about the development of materials while ignoring the cultivation of their minds, about their own development while neglecting detriment to nature, and about their own interests while overlooking others’ benefits. It will turn out to be catastrophes and the hell of the world when human beings no longer enjoy harmony with their minds, nature and the society. “To adorn the country” as advocated by Buddhism is not simply about natural landscapes. Actually, environmental protection is the most specific action of “adornment.”


 “Act for the benefit of the sentient beings” is about life, and it is an idea to take pleasure in helping others, be good to others and feel compassion from the bottom of one’s heart. Humans cannot be separated from their inner world, nature and the society, which are part of an organic whole. Therefore, the balance between humans and their inner world, nature and the society should never break. Buddhism requires believers to embrace goodness in hearts, treat all living beings as equals, foster compassion and loving-kindness for life from which altruism arises, guides them  to refrain from killing so as to care for life, and to follow the moral practice of planting more trees to protect the natural environment.


“Nothing is independent” is the Buddhist doctrine of dependent origination, fully illustrating that causal relationship exists between human and other living beings in the world; similarly, the Buddhist’s theory of “non-duality of the subject and its outside environment” indicates the mutually affecting and interdependence among humans and between humans and the society and the environment we live in. The Earth is a space shared by human and other living beings, thus a diverse symbiotic environment is essentially fundamental for maintaining harmony in the world. All things are interconnected, so the damage of the living environment is equivalent to the ruin of human beings. According to Buddhism, “Mountains, rivers, grass and plants have Buddha nature”, and thus, Mother Nature is taken as the manifestation of Buddha nature, and all living things have their own values.


With the aim to make modern people’s body and mind at peace and to create a good living environment for them, we promote and practice Four Kinds of Environmentalism — Protecting the Spiritual Environment, Protecting the Living Environment, Protecting the Natural Environment, and Protecting the Social Environment. We hope that through the establishment and operation of the Green Volunteer Team of the Grand Buddha Monastery, as well as other ways like attending Dharma lectures and practicing meditations, modern people can learn to live in harmony, take good care of themselves as well as society and nature in healthy, happy and serene state of mind. The Four Kinds of Environmentalism are essential for harmonious coexistence among humans, between humans and society and nature. It is necessary to purify our afflicted minds into minds of compassion and wisdom. The purification of minds requires us to let go of selfishness and self-interests with a faith that benefiting others is indeed benefiting oneself. This idea is just what our society and the ever-lasting world need. If everyone is willing to benefit others instead of themselves, our world will be free from any crime and dispute. Only if we have both compassionate and wisdom and practice environmental protection can the pure land on earth be created.



Protecting the Spiritual Environment,

 we devote great love;

Protecting the Living Environment,

we do good deeds;

Protecting the Natural Environment,

we create great beauty;

Protecting the Social Environment,

we enjoy great harmony.


Aspiration Prayer for

Environmental Protection


I pray, from my mind,

The journey of spiritual protection begins.

Every moment in my life,

I make efforts to purify my mind;

Wherever I am,

May Buddhist teachings nourish my mind.  

With strong resolution,

I will uphold a right mind and harbor kind ideas,

With great efforts,

I will strive to realize my self-nature,

Which is pure and tranquil.

When faced with a choice,

I should let go but not give up.

When bewildered,

I should accord with conditions

But not act as I wish.

When stressed with pressure,

I should bear the burden

But not put it on others.

When handling problems,

I should be wise but not sophisticated.

With our mind free from attachments and afflictions,

We create a pure land on the earth.


I pray, may living environment protection

Begin with me.

Every moment in my life,

With a heart grateful and moved,

I appreciate blessing from all living things on earth.

Everywhere I go,

With a heart to recognize blessing, cherish blessings,

Nurture blessings and to sow the seeds of blessings,

I strive to waste less,

And to lessen the earth’s burden from its source.

I pray, in my whole life, wherever I am,

With appreciation and understanding,

I should feel grateful to the Mother Earth

For being so tolerant and forgiving.


I pray, may natural environment protection

Be joined by all.

By refraining from evil acts and doing goodness,

We care for the environment of our land.

By cherishing blessings and loving living things,

We cure the wounds of the earth;

By looking up into the sky,

We understand its loftiness. 

By taking actions,

We maintain the balance of the nature.


I pray, may social environment protection

Be joined by all.

With compassion and contribution,

We enrich our life,

With altruism, we benefit ourselves;

With good deeds, we benefit all living beings,

With kindness and tolerance,

We build a harmonious society.


I believe, the environmental protection of the mind Offers me golden opportunities,

I believe, living environment protection

Promises each household a good environment,

I believe, natural environment protection

Leaves our descendants high hopes.

I believe, social environment protection

Earns mankind a bright future.


I pray, may bright love illuminate 

The pure lights in our heart,

I pray, may everlasting goodness bless beautiful cities.I pray, may pure beauty adorn the vast country.

I pray, may our peaceful world

Be filled with boundless harmony.


Prayed by: 


The Origin of Protecting

the Spiritual Environment


The notion of protecting the spiritual environment was first put forward by Ven. Sheng Yan, the founder of the Dharma Drum Mountain two decades ago (1992) when Taiwan was undergoing a transition period: various values coexisted, the sense of environmental protection arose, and environmental protection kept attracting the attention of all sides. It was under such circumstances that Ven. Sheng Yan came up with an idea based on Buddhist concepts. According to him, pollution of the material environment was caused by human action, which stemmed from the human mind. If people’s mind is pure, our material environment will not be polluted. Therefore, he believed that environmental protection should begin from its root, that is, from human mind.


Though newly-created, the notion of “Protecting the Spiritual Environment” originates from a verse in the Vimalakirti Sutra — “When one’s mind is pure, the Buddha Land is pure.” The Avatamsaka Sutra quotes, “The mind is like a skillful painter, that can depict the five aggregates.” It also says, “[one] should observe that, in the nature of the Dharmadhatu, everything is created by the mind alone.” In Tao Te Ching, we also find such lines, “Man follows the earth; the earth follows the heaven; the heaven follows Tao; and Tao follows the nature.” Ancient Chinese advocated that the heaven and human are one. Only in this way can the mind be truly healthy, and the protection of the spiritual environment be achieved.


In 2008, Ven. Yao Zhi of the Grand Buddha Monastery in Guangzhou founded a Vegetarian Restaurant. In 2009, he established a Heart Communication Center. Since then, he has always advocated that both the monastic and the laity should purify their minds. In today’s society where materialism prevails and various values make people confused, the advocating of protecting the spiritual environment and the living environment calls for the Buddhist concept of compassion and loving-kindness and the Taoist concept of respecting the nature. Thus, vegetarianism is lifted to the level of protecting the spiritual environment. To enjoy vegetarian diets with a pure mind is, undoubtedly, a lifestyle that helps one cherish and nurture blessings.


To purify the material and spiritual environments for modern people, Ven. Yao Zhi made the  protection of the spiritual environment the core topic of the Grand Buddha Monastery and then put forward Four Kinds of Environmentalism (from 2008 to 2012): protecting the spiritual environment, protecting the living environment, protecting the natural environment, and protecting the social environment. Ven. Yao Zhi hoped, with the establishment and operation of the Green Volunteer Team, and through attending Dharma lectures and practicing meditation, modern people can learn to take care of themselves, of the society and of the nature and finally to harmoniously live in the same environment.


As its name implies, protecting the spiritual environment refers to the purification of people’s mind. Besides, it means we should go further from the purification of the mind to the purification of the social and natural environments, and only by this can environmental protection be achieved and become popular and everlasting. Though the so-called Protecting the Spiritual Environment seems to be a new phrase, in fact Buddhism and Taoism proposed a very long time ago that our afflicted mind should be purified to the mind of compassion and wisdom. To purify the mind, we should put our selfishness aside and have the conviction that to help others is to help ourselves. This view is exactly what the present society and the future world call for. If each of us could do things for the benefit of others instead of our own, our world would be free from evils and conflicts. Altruism does not mean that we should become good people without any principles and bottom lines. Instead, it calls for both wisdom and compassion, the only means to purify the world.


Ven. Yao Zhi emphasized that only the Four kinds of Environmentalism — protecting the spiritual environment, protecting the living environment, protecting the natural environment, and protecting the social environment be practiced well can a harmonious society and a harmonious world be truly created. Passed on from generation to generation by Buddhists like Ven. Sheng Yan and Ven. Yao Zhi, protecting the spiritual environment has become a concept and a mind-purifying activity free from the boundaries and limits of religions, races and nations. It belongs to mankind, and we can share it whether we are religious or not.


Insightful Dharma Words

— by Ven. Yao Zhi


Protect our environment, and the Earth will stay young.

Good habits formed, good acts performed, protection of the spiritual environment is achieved. If garbage cannot be recycled, people would get troubled.

A vegetarian diet leads to a pure heart.

Little as one actually needs, much he always desires.

To purify the mind, religious belief is an inner motivation.

Blessed are those who cherish their blessings; happy are those who perform good deeds.

No littering and reducing garbage are acts to nurture merits and virtues.

Not to begrudge means not to accept what one is entitled to have and desires to hold.

A happy person is one who is truly capable of   cherishing blessings, nurturing blessings and sowing the seeds of blessings.

Four principles to deal with daily problems: face them, accept them, well treat them and let go of them.

Pursue only what you can and should acquire. Never pursue what you can't and shouldn't acquire.

Protecting the living environment means to have a pure heart and fewer desires, and not to consume or waste much.

The ultimate goal of protecting the spiritual environment is to purify the human society from every aspect.

Four Kinds of Environmentalism joined as one is the new manifestation of the ancient Taoist idea of “heaven and human as one.”


Recycling Experience of

 Grand Buddha Monastery


At present, the daily amount of domestic garbage in Guangzhou is 17,800 tons. Garbage that needs to be treated safely by landfill or incineration amounts to 12,000 tons. The sorting of garbage is the way to solve this problem. According to Article 11 of the Interim Provisions of Guangzhou on the Administration of Urban Household Garbage Sorting, domestic garbage in Guangzhou city can be sorted into four kinds: recyclables, kitchen wastes, hazardous waste and other garbage.


The Grand Buddha Monastery is located in the downtown area of Beijing Road in Guangzhou. Therefore, the convenience brings here many Buddhists. On every 1st and 15th day of the lunar month, incense, lamp oil, flowers, ashes, candles, offerings and paper offered are so many that they cannot be used up. If the remains cannot be handled properly, it will cause wastes and pollution. This calls for the immediate sorting of domestic garbage. The Green Volunteer Team of the Grand Buddha Monastery has already worked out effective solutions for dealing with the recyclables.


1. Incense

Though the Grand Buddha Monastery forbids the burning of high and big incense sticks, there is still a great deal of incense left unused on the altar every day. If it is treated as garbage, it will cause both wastes and pollution. Thus, the Green Volunteer Team collects the unused incense sticks and sorts them out. Then, the sticks are packed by six, or nine or twelve and finally distributed to small Buddhist monasteries in remote areas.


2. Flowers

On each Dharma assembly, the Grand Buddha Monastery calls on people to offer fresh flowers to Buddhas. If the altar is filled with flowers, those that cannot be put there will be collected into bunches by the Green Volunteer Team and delivered to the nursing homes. As flowers also have their lives, we should keep their beauty for a longer time.


3. Lamp oil

If the lamp oil offered by Buddhists is excessive, it will be bottled by the Green Volunteer Team and given to Buddhists free of charge. When there is too much left, the team would sell it to Shunlong Cleaning Company, a professional soap making factory. In this way, it would not enter the market and be used by illegal businessmen to harm the consumers’ health.


4. Candles

Candles are necessities on every Buddhist ceremony. But big candles often cannot be burned up. To prevent wasting them and solve the problems in their recycling, the Green Volunteer Team calls on Buddhists to reuse them, thus both cutting the spending and reducing pollution. Gradually, this practice is accepted by believers.


5. Paper

Both sides of paper can be used. Sometimes the used paper can also be cut into small chunks to be used as notes in different halls at the monastery. Paper boxes and useful wastes can be sold to recycling companies.


6. Ashes of Incense

The Green Volunteer Team puts the ashes of incense in water and then uses the subsided water to wash plates and bowls. It has three advantages: plates and bowls are easily cleaned without pollution caused by detergent; it cuts spending, and prevents the blocking of the drain. Besides, as good fertilizers, the ashes are good for plants.


7. Food

A large amount of food is offered on each Dharma assembly every year. In the past, steamed bread left was thrown away. But later, with Ven. Yao Zhi’s suggestion, the Grand Buddha Monastery uses such steamed bread to make breakfasts for resident masters. What’s more, the Green Volunteer Team packs the fruits left and gives them to the nursing homes, Buddhists or tourists. The peanuts left are first peeled off before they are made into sweet-and-sour peanuts by the Vegetarian Restaurant.


Edible Toothpicks

— An Environmental Anecdote


Since the opening of the Vegetarian Restaurant at the Grand Buddha Monastery, we have been highlighting environmental lifestyle and garbage sorting. For a vast majority of restaurants, they tend to mix leftovers with used toothpicks and use such stuff to feed pigs. Chen Lihua, Deputy Director of the Office at the Grand Buddha Monastery, used to work in hospital and heard a cruel reality from a patient who worked as a butcher. According to this patient, small-sized pigs killed now are always found to have too many toothpicks in their stomachs. This fact well explains the reason for the pigs’ slow growth. Such practice of putting used toothpicks with leftovers badly runs against the compassionate spirits of Buddhism and the environmental ideas proposed by Ven. Yao Zhi. Therefore, Deputy Director Chen suggests that the Vegetarian Restaurant replace bamboo toothpicks with starch edible ones, which produce no waste, and furthermore bring no harm to those pigs. In spite of higher cost, the use of starch edible toothpicks embodies the spirit of protecting the spiritual environment. 


At present, the only factory making starch toothpicks in China has ceased production, for there are too few restaurants choosing to use them. Ven. Yao Zhi is trying to make it possible to open such a factory.


Influenced by the idea of cherishing blessings deeply rooted in the minds of all monks at the Grand Buddha Monastery and under the guidance of the Green Volunteer Team, people who enjoy vegetarian diet at the monastery now waste less food, and thus, the amount of leftovers has been decreasing, which eradicates waste and garbage.


Guide to Protecting

the Living Environment


1. Turn off lights and taps, and pull plugs out when you do not use them. It is also a demonstration of good manners basically.


2. Both sides of paper can be used for printing. If so, you will save half of a forest which would have been cut down.


3. Climbing stairs instead of taking elevator saves electricity and builds up you own body.


4. Keeping the environment green does not only mean planting trees in the suburbs. Growing flowers and grass at your home will also do.


5. A plastic bag costs only 0.5, but the pollution it brings will cost much more.

6. A bathtub is not necessary for a perfect bathroom, and it is not necessary to use it every time. Once you use it, wash the toilet with the used water.


7. Uninstall unused computer programs to reduce hard drive workload, in a bid to save electricity and prolong your computer’s life.


8. Compared to driving a car, bicycling frees your mind from worries about rising oil price and your weight gaining.


9. There is no need to turn all lights on as soon as you step into a room. Human beings had been leading a good life for several thousand years before the invention of electric lights 130 years ago.


10. The contribution of bus-taking to the global environment can offset part of the sense of superiority of private car-driving.

11. Please believe that the obsession with fur products is just an impulsion of throwback.


12. We can view the global warming as a revenge for excessive use of the air-conditioning or heating.


13. Minimize the use of disposable toothbrushes, plastic bags and cups, as the petroleum to make them is also disposable.


14. If you know some marine museums in the western world that display the canned fin made in China, will you still have the appetite for rice with shark fin?


15. Not only mahogany and leather furniture can highlight the owner’s taste. Actually, the bamboo furniture is pretty good, for bamboo has a shorter growth cycle than wood.


16. Trying to finish all work in daytime is the best way to make the most of solar energy.


17. Eating excessive meat does harm to, among others, animals, yourself and the Earth.


18. A Wedding ceremony is not a thing concerning vanity, nor the competition of two families. It is the simplicity and low-carbon life that add happiness to the marriage.


19. It is just a psychological effect that you think more water can wash dishes and vegetables in a cleaner way.


20. We can proudly say that we do the laundry after getting a bucketful of clothes, for the sake of saving water and electricity rather than being lazy.


21. It is a vast amount of spending to raise a kid from a baby to a student, so it is not a bad idea to use some second-hand books, toys and clothes.


22. There is a way that can save money and energy, relieve fatigue and traffic burden, and meanwhile stimulate interpersonal relationship. It is car-pooling.


23. We’d better stall the car in the middle of terrible traffic congestion.


24. Have a regular check on tyre pressure. Either too much or not enough pressure will increase oil consumption.


25. Clean the air-conditioner regularly, for the sake of health and electricity.


26. The 93-octane gasoline can meet the needs of most cars, while the 97-octane gasoline causes higher consumption and damage for the engine.

27. Learn from those experienced drivers. Lessen braking and release the accelerator to take advantage of inertia, which can greatly save gasoline.


28. Save water when washing your face.


29. Scientific thrift is a great traditional virtue. For example, put the leftovers into refrigerator after cooling them down and wrapping them. If not, the steam will increase the burden of refrigerator.


30. Take off the outer cover of the air-conditioner, for its external unit is made water-proof. The machine consumes more energy with the outer cover on.


31. Use low foaming detergent instead of high foaming detergent, for more foam will not make clothes cleaner but consume more power, water and time.

32. The regular cycle of a washing machine is more energy-efficient than the delicate cycle. It can also extend the life of the washer.


33. Television in sleeping mode still costs energy, which is roughly 10% of its energy consumption when it is working.


34. Monitors can be dimmed or even turned off if you only play music in your computer.


35. If you use a great deal of hot water, you might as well keep your water heater working because the power it takes to keep the water warm is less than heating cold water.


36. To clean a car, you can either use a bucket of water or running water from a hose. However, the amount of water used in the former is only 1/8 of the amount used in the latter.

37. Lowering the water line of the toilet by 2cm can save 4 cubic meters of water each year.


38. Create a profile for energy-saving to keep records of the monthly consumption of water, electricity and gas in mind.


39. Check the energy-saving index when you buy electrical appliances.


40. Experiments show that the medium heat is the most energy-saving way to boil water.


41. Do not discard batteries everywhere, as it shows you are irresponsible.


42. Carrying chopsticks or spoon distinguishes environmentalists.


43. 80% of storage of food in the fridge is appropriate, too much or too little would waste electricity.


44. Holding a meeting in a short period of time also could save energy, for the lights, air-conditioners and sound systems consume power.


45. Walk out when having nothing to do at home. Being a “homeboy” or a “homegirl” may waste much electricity.


46. Buying the local and seasonal products as much as possible as the transportation and packaging would consume much more energy than their production.


47. Planting trees will help you get rid of the CO2.


48. Wear clothes made from cotton, linen and silk. They are not only environment-friendly and fashionable but also elegant and durable.

49. Is it necessary to use a clothes dryer? Why do not you dry them in the sun?


50. Statistics in America shows that per-capita resource consumption of the divorced couple is 42%-61% higher than that before the divorce. Please protect the earth with your marriage.


The Call for a Green World


Gently, I open the album of the Earth.

And all mountains and waters ask me,

“My child, as a trans-century kid,

What would you like to leave to the future earth?

A tree or a flower?

A spring with vigor?

Or a green world?”

Here is my reply,

“Protect our environment, and the earth will stay young.”


Leave a Green World to the Future


When I wield the painting brush joyfully,

The blue sky and ocean greet me,

“My little angel of the Mother Nature,

What would you like to paint for the future?

Ever-lasting green mountains?

Or deserts covered with greenery?

A flowery season that never fades?

Or a spring scenery that lasts forever?”

Here goes my reply,

“With our joined efforts,

We will paint a bright future for our world.

Protect our environment, and the earth will stay young.”



Protect Our Environment,

and the Earth Will Stay Young


Master Zheng Yan holds the view that the Earth is a big-sized universe, and the human body is a small-sized universe. Both of them obey the same rules. It will endanger one’s life if his body keeps bleeding. Likewise, digging through mountains and rivers is equivalent to splitting one’s skins and muscles, which gradually harms the health of the Earth. Just as how we feel when we observe a healthy person in operation for no illness at all, the Mother Nature’s being exploited beyond its limit triggers our compassion and worry.


It will endanger one’s life if the foul air cannot be exhaled and oxygen gets no way in the lung. Similarly, forest is the lung of the earth, which helps the planet refresh the air, and keeps water in it. As for the root of woods, it plays a great role in reserving water and preventing soil from being eroded.


The skin helps us sweat so as to lower body temperature in summer and reserve energy to keep warm in winter. The earth likewise works in the same way. If its surface is covered by cement and asphalt, its basic functions will be paralyzed for the water recirculation and the dissipation of heat inside will be stopped.

As the Buddhist Culture Center Building at the Grand Buddha Monastery is currently under construction, to improve the environment, the monastery plans to grow more grass and trees nearby and lay chained-bricks for the building. Thus, water could be recycled and used effectively. Besides, for a better effect, rainwater-recycling system, and solar-energy-aid system have been installed, aiming to replace traditional boiler equipment and support solar-energy streetlamps. Moreover, from the perspective of architectural style, we take advantage of natural lighting and airing and meanwhile minimize the use of air-conditioners to save electric energy, which brings us closer to nature.


Ven. Yao Zhi once instructed that the world can be saved only when our mind is purified. The universe could not be changed unless we change our mind. Everyone prays for his own health, as well as peace and prosperity of the nation; and all these should begin with one’s own mind. Protecting the environment is to balance the eco-system and purify his mind. It is our responsibility and mission to love and care for the Earth indispensable to everyone’s life. By protecting our natural environment, we serve as the farmers of nature. By freeing ourselves from desires, and by recognizing, cherishing and nurturing blessings, we are the guardians of our mind. Only when everyone in this world takes good care of nature and his mind can he live in peace with the Earth.


From protecting the spiritual environment to protecting the living environment, Ven. Yao Zhi advocates a healthful diet with more fruits and vegetables, but less meat. Besides, table manners are supposed to be valued, for example, use serving chopsticks or spoons. More importantly, a kind heart free from worries is indispensable to good health. In other words, when one is broad-minded, he is free from vexations; when he takes vegetarian diet, he does not suffer much illness, and will be in good mental state. 


We root environmental awareness deep in our mind, and turn it into genuine action. In order to relieve the Greenhouse Effect, Ven. Yao Zhi calls on all citizens to take low-carbon trip. Meanwhile, all air-conditioners at the Grand Buddha Monastery keeps at 26.


If so, everyone is qualified to be a green volunteer, and every family will be aware of cherishing their blessings, just as what Ven. Yao Zhi says: “Protect our environment, and the Earth will stay young.”


The First Green Volunteer Team

in Guangzhou


To thoroughly implementGuangzhou Temporary Regulation on City Garbage Sorting(the No.53 Government Notice) and practice the environmental ideas about city garbage sorting conveyed from mobilization meeting on 10th July, the Grand Buddha Monastery takes the chance to establish the first Green Volunteer Team following the environmental ideas of Ven. Yao Zhi, and we sincerely hope that more strength will be involved, more communities benefited, and more passion aroused.


Four Proposals for

Environmental Protection


In 21st century, environmental protection has been greatly highlighted. It has become a major worldwide topic as to how to build up a low-carbon and environment-friendly society. Chinese Buddhism has a long tradition of protecting the environment. In recent years, Buddhist groups spare no efforts to advocate, join and popularize environmental protection, and have carried out many public-spirited activities, which lay solid foundation for further development in this field.


However, in the long run, environmental protection will be an ever-lasting and arduous cause, and we still need to put more in-depth consideration in it, and then formulate a series of more workable and more productive plans in this area. Looking into the future of the environmental cause in Guangzhou Buddhist Circle, Ven. Yao Zhi has come up with four proposals as follows:


I. Carry out Buddhist environmental protection based on religious beliefs, and center on the idea of protecting the spiritual environment.


The Buddhist culture offers helpful guiding principles for environmental protection and solving ecological problems. Thus, Buddhist monastic groups should recognize the importance of such ideas and resolve to protect the spiritual environment. By making use of booklets, lectures and movements, Buddhist masters should make Buddhist ideas of environmental protection known not only to Buddhists but to all people from society so as to gain more effective social support.


II. Enhance people’s environmental awareness through providing more cultivation and training.


With various forms of religious activities such as lectures, forums, meditation, and animal-releasing, the Buddhist Circle can fully showcase how Buddhist doctrines bring sound life and livable environment, and make environmental protection a voluntary move. Besides, more high-quality knowledge on environmental protection ought to be made available to believers, in a bid to make the environmental awareness be more deep-rooted in people’s minds and more influential.  


III. Strictly trim on the pollution and minimize new pollution to achieve resource recycling and low-carbon utilization.


1. Make genuine attempt in energy-saving and emission-reduction. For better disposal, garbage in the monastery must be sorted and plastic bags and cases also ought to be reduced in canteen and other service departments. Besides, make sure that vehicles in monastery have been reasonably used, which effectively saves energy and meanwhile reduces the emission of harmful gas.


2. Make full preparation of recycling for daily consumption, such as battery, typing paper, plastic bottles, etc.


3. Conserve water, electricity, gas and other types of energies.


4. More plants should be grown in the monastery to make the environment more beautiful and the air fresh.  


5. Promote the design of new buildings from the perspective of environmental protection. Reduce the use of electricity by improving the uniformity of daylight. Lower the temperature naturally by using the light color or rearing planting in the roof. Consider the use of solar energy as the power supply of the building.


6. Guide the believers to offer incense in a more environment-friendly way. Posters or signboards should be put at Buddhist monasteries to remind them. 


7. When releasing animals to save their lives, choose conventional and reasonable ways to protect the ecological balance.


IV. Building a new model of environment-friendly urban monastery


Building a new model of environment-friendly urban monastery is the demand to Guangzhou Buddhist Circle from this world historical city. Such a monastery will be a role model and help promote Buddhist environmental protection.


Firstly, make the monastery environment-friendly. Sum up the experiences on the basis of actual operation. Compile a Manual for Environmental Protection at Urban Monasteries for the reference of monasteries in other cities.

Secondly, when conditions are ripe, select a certain monastery as a base to set up a “religious and spiritual pro-environmental education center”, which focuses on the study of environmental protection of urban monasteries and provides such training for urban monasteries in other cities.


Environmental protection is the common duty of all human beings. Looking at the past, Guangzhou Buddhist Circle has made positive efforts; looking into the future, we will contribute more to making urban monasteries places with picturesque scenery, and further, we will become an important supporter for promoting environmental protection.


Pro-environmental Wedding Banquet Has Won Wide Acclaim


Since its opening in 2008, the Buddhist Vegetarian Restaurant at the Grand Buddha Monastery has attracted a large number of believers to host wedding banquets. With its delicious dishes and many innovative handmade courses, and especially with the unique Buddhist ritual conducted at the banquet, the restaurant has won the reputation of holding “pro-environmental weddings.”

Compiled by Grand Buddha Monastery





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