International Day of Living Together in Peace 2021
Living Together in Peace and Building a Sustainable Future
with Love and Conscience
Dr. Hong, Tao-Tze
President of Federation of World Peace and Love
Vice-President of Association of World Citizens
Zhang-men-ren of Tai Ji Men
May 16, 2021
Today, May 16, is the International Day of Living Together in Peace. We are gathered to promote a vision of peace and sustainability, highlighting the importance of living together in peace and respecting one another’s cultures. Our world is filled with beauty in the form racial and cultural diversity. When we recognize diversity as beautiful, we can seek ways, guided by conscience, to promote dialogue, tolerance, and understanding, with the aspiration of creating a world of peace, unity, and harmony that everyone aspires to, allowing for a sustainable future for all humanity and other living things.
Article 2 of the “Declaration on the Right to Peace,” adopted by the United Nations General Assembly on December 19, 2016, declares, “States should respect, implement and promote equality and non-discrimination, justice and the rule of law, and guarantee freedom from fear and want as a means to build peace within and between societies.” Since the end of the two World Wars, the United Nations and relevant institutions have worked tirelessly to establish world peace and security, hoping to reach a balance based on global consensus through communication, coordination, and mutual assistance among nations. However, there are different notions affecting peaceful coexistence of nations around the globe, and disputes have never ceased, world peace is still far from a reality, and people cannot achieve peace of mind easily.
The world needs peace, and the prerequisites for peace are tolerance, understanding, mutual assistance, and cooperation, rather than the plunder of resources for self-interest or even encroachments upon others’ rights. As we reflect upon tragic and horrible events in human history, we understand that they were caused by competition for greater power and wealth or invasions of foreign forces. To facilitate peaceful coexistence among nations, many international NGOs and individuals have endeavored to minimize and resolve disputes and differences through peaceful and rational communication. Each ethnic group’s or country’s cultural roots and ethnic consciousness vary, and people in different regions hold various ideas and beliefs. There is no way to seek common ground by mere decrees or regulations. Only with love, can we find commonalities and maintain peace despite differences. Love is a universal language and can be expressed without words. Love is to feel with our hearts.
Living together in peace starts with accepting the differences between people. We need to feel with our hearts, listen to, understand, respect, and appreciate others so that we can live together in peace. We need to start from within and begin with small things. “Starting from within” means to be at peace with ourselves and follow the dictates of our conscience within. If one can maintain tranquility in the heart, one will radiate peaceful energy, bringing better luck. If one can be at peace with oneself, one can naturally be at peace with others, leading to harmony in one’s family and success in one’s endeavors. From personal beliefs to the will of a group, people have inalienable rights, such as the right to liberty and other human rights, which should be recognized and protected. Additionally, when dealing with any person or thing, we must feel with our hearts and put the love in our hearts into practical actions.
Conscience is innate and is an imprint bestowed by Heaven upon humans, the most intelligent species among all animals. Each individual's conscience-driven choices should be respected, which is essential for the pursuit of peaceful coexistence in the world. Scientific studies have shown that the positive energies of conscience from even a small number of people can offset the negative energies from the vast majority of people. The world needs more people to join the International Day of Conscience activities and take concrete action to facilitate global awakening of conscience. When more people’s conscience is awakened and when people make all their decisions based on conscience, more positive energy will be gathered, making the world more peaceful. Only then will we be able to create a better and more humane world for ourselves and future generations.
When the value of conscience is manifested, a society of love and peace can be created, and a national peace-loving culture can be nurtured. The key to living together in peace is mutual understanding among people of different cultures. Conscience follows the law of Heaven. With conscience, we will have empathy and compassion, help not only ourselves but also others thrive. We will not “do unto others what we don't want done unto us” as reminded by the ancients. Promoting the culture of peace with love and conscience is crucial to social harmony and world peace.
“Peace is not simply the absence of war.” More importantly, each individual’s rights and interests should be protected and honored as we respect others’ freedom and human rights and uphold justice. This way, individual and cultural uniqueness will be preserved, and all people and cultures can coexist harmoniously. The myriad things in nature work together and yet counterbalance each other, so there are diverse life forms that allow the continued existence of the inhabitants of the Earth possible. When all things complement and compete against one another, they achieve a natural balance and coexist on Earth, creating a beautiful planet. However, the imbalance of our ecosystems and the destruction of the natural environment nowadays are caused by human greed, leading to disputes and disasters. We must learn to respect and understand religious and cultural diversity. We need to stop prejudice, facilitate conscience-driven dialogue, seek self-correction, foster acceptance as well as defuse conflict and confrontation while working together for peaceful coexistence among people and between humans and other living things for our sustainable future.
The International Day of Living Together in Peace is an important day for all human beings to practice conscience in their lives and foster mutual assistance and love with themselves, between themselves and others, between their own countries and others’ countries, and between humans and nature. Love and peace are what we need. Only if everyone is willing to listen to the truth and act with conscience can we truly realize love and peace. People can enjoy physical, mental, and spiritual health when they make peace with themselves. A nation can move towards prosperity, health, and happiness when its people live together in peace. A world of love and peace can be realized when humankind and other living things coexist peacefully. We hope that everyone will follow his/her conscience to bring love and peace to all living creatures so that we can live together in a peaceful world where there is no fear, no sorrow, no war, and no pain.
Thank you all!
*Presented at the ICDAY’s virtual event in support of UN International Day of
Living Together in Peace