Reflections on the Building of a Community with a Shared Future for Mankind amid the COVID-19 Outbreak

本戒 | 2020-05-12 | View: 2314

In traditional Chinese philosophy, human beings live between heaven and earth, sharing the same root with all things in nature. As manifested in such notions as “unity of man and nature”, “benevolence and compassion for the public good; great harmony and integration for an ideal society” and “the same warmth and cold throughout the world”, human beings have always been one unity with an aspiration to live in perpetual harmony with nature.

As COVID-19 swept over the world in the spring of 2020, China, one of the early epicenters of the deadly pandemic, has become a globally well-known expert capable of helping hard-hit regions fight against the pandemic. The notion of “a community with a shared future for mankind” demonstrates its lofty spiritual value and has fundamental guiding significance.

In the age of the Fourth Industrial Revolution, the world today is undergoing greater multi-polarization, political pluralization, economic globalization and cultural diversification. As the interdependence between countries deepens, the differences between cultures and civilizations inevitably lead to conflicts and regional disputes between races and countries, thus resulting in major changes, significant development and profound adjustments.

While countries are increasingly interconnected and interdependent, there is increased equilibrium in the international balance of power, and yet the world is still facing growing instability and uncertainty. In addition, the driving forces for the global economy have been weakening, causing a wider gap between the rich and the poor as well as potential thorny issues in different regions. Human beings are confronted with challenges and difficulties, among which non-traditional security threats continue to spread over the world, such as terrorism, cyber-insecurity, major infectious diseases and climate changes.

Although human beings are in the middle of a maelstrom of tremendous changes and adjustments, we still live in the world with great hope in the heart. No single country would be immune to the complexity of the real world and all the challenges facing mankind.

Only when we work together to build a community of a shared future for mankind can we construct an open, inclusive, ecologically-friendly and beautiful world that enjoys lasting peace, universal security and common prosperity.

“A community with a shared future for mankind” aims to build lasting peace.

Peace is the dream of humankind and the theme of the times. To achieve and sustain peace, all humanity should be fully aware of the fact that we share weal and woe together in the same boat. Peace means much more than “no wars”. Faced with such a major risk of the global outbreak of COVID-19, every ethnic group, country and individual should shoulder their own responsibilities and make contributions to the universal security and shared prosperity of mankind by making joint efforts within reach.

When confronted with COVID-19, international organizations, governments and enterprises that share the same destiny should provide mutual support in a spirit of partnership, which precisely demonstrates the essence of “a community with a shared future for humankind”.

“A community with a shared future for mankind” implies openness and inclusiveness.

Facing the disaster, people all around the world have been supporting each other by providing various material and spiritual aids to those in the infected areas. Humanity as a whole is intimately interconnected with mutual love and kindness, while mutual recognition and respect are self-evident. Given the diversity of world civilizations and their modes of development, different civilizations should take exchanges and mutual learning as the norm and aim for common progress.

In an age of globalization, all countries are unprecedentedly more interconnected and interdependent with each other. Humans find themselves living in the same global village where history and reality intersect. Thus, a community with a shared future is gradually taking shape, where the interests of all parties are increasingly intertwined. To build such a community, all countries should continue to work hand in hand in the global fight against COVID-19 and help each other get through difficult times.

Buddhism provides spiritual support for the building of a community with a shared future for mankind.

The Buddhist theory of “Dependent Origination” reveals the interdependent relationship between people and countries. The world is an integrated whole made up by interrelated and interdependent elements and conditions.

All things in the world arise out of the combination of causes and conditions; 

All things in the world cease out of the combination of causes and conditions.

All things are not isolated from each other but interconnected. “One thing originates and exists depending upon the origination and existence of the other thing, and vice versa; one thing ceases and demises depending upon the cease and demise of the other thing, and vice versa.”  Therefore, nature on which human beings depend and the society formed by human beings’ transformation of nature are interrelated in countless ways, influencing and restricting each other. This is the fountainhead of such Buddhist thoughts as “oneness of life and its environment” and “great compassion based on shared nature”. They tell us that the body and mind of sentient beings cannot exist without the environment. As interpretations of “a community with a shared future for mankind” from the perspective of Buddhism, they demonstrate the philosophical basis of the Buddhist thought of benevolence and compassion.

According to Buddhism, no single thing arises without depending on certain causes and conditions. Likewise, every individual is interdependent with others. As revealed by Indra’s net metaphor in Avatamsaka Sutra, various beings in the universe are essentially an integrated whole, and thus Buddhas and Bodhisattvas generate the belief that all sentient beings are equal and the aspiration to relieve them from suffering and deliver joy to them with benevolence and compassion. The advocacy and practice of the Buddhist spirit of benevolence and compassion provide spiritual guidance for the building of a community with a shared future for mankind.

Amid the rampant pandemic worldwide, the Buddhist spirit of benevolence and compassion inspires us to care for all sentient beings with sincere love, mercy, sympathy, compassion and commiseration, and to understand and help others with a compassionate and tender heart. It also encourages us to deliver benefits to society and all human beings by helping each other get rid of mental distress caused by the pandemic and rebuild our spiritual home so as to stay physically and mentally healthy. Benevolence and compassion contribute to our self-improvement and the cultivation of high morality and a kind, rational and calm attitude towards life.

Vimalakirti Sutra records that “When the mind is pure, the Buddha land will be pure.” If we uphold the Buddhist spirit of benevolence and compassion, good results will be achieved in dealing with mental distress, or improving the ecological environment and interpersonal relationships, or even enhancing relations between countries.