Practicing Humanitarianism with Love and Conscience
to Promote Global Peace and Harmony
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
Aug. 19, 2021
Every year on August 19, World Humanitarian Day, we honor humanitarian workers who have lost their lives or been physically or emotionally injured while serving global citizens. Meanwhile, we pay tribute to humanitarian workers across the globe--real-life heroes that embody the most moving aspect of humanity with their selfless contributions, perseverance, and sacrifice.
The core values of humanitarianism are to prevent and reduce human suffering resulting from disasters, protect life, improve people’s health, as well as maintain peace and justice through proactive reform and social support to ensure human rights protection and to enhance our collective well-being. Currently, when one disaster occurs after another, supporting and promoting humanitarianism is a crucial effort in awakening people’s conscience and represents an urgent need to build a global safety net.
Regional conflicts, military clashes, natural disasters, and toxic competition between people have caused global humanitarian crises. Climate change, pollution, food crises, energy wars, public health crises, terrorism, nuclear threats, and human migration have widened the absolute income gaps, living standard differences, and other disparities between developed and developing countries, posing new challenges for humanitarian work. According to the Global Humanitarian Overview by the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, 132 million people were affected by humanitarian crises in 2019, and the number of people in need of humanitarian assistance increased by 22 million in 2020. The global pandemic pushed the number of individuals in need of aid to a new high, with an estimated 235 million people in need of humanitarian assistance, or nearly one in every 33 people on the planet. With hundreds of millions of disadvantaged people struggling to survive, what can be done now and in the future to truly help them escape danger and live a stable life?
The common approach to address existing humanitarian crises is to treat the symptoms. What we need to do is identify the root causes of problems and take effective measures to prevent and remove them. According to the ancient Chinese medical book The Yellow Emperor’s Inner Canon, “First-class doctors treat people before they become sick. Second-class doctors treat people who are about to fall ill. Third-class doctors treat people who are already sick.” Prevention is better than treatment. A conscientious ruler, likewise, will produce things that serve the public and address problems in order to prevent disasters from occurring. This is the most fundamental method for resolving an issue.
Daoism is an ancient Chinese philosophy and involves the profound aspects of Heaven, Earth, and Humanity. Heavenly bodies shine without distinction on all living creatures on the planet. The Earth provides constant nourishment to all living things. Humans are supposed to be compassionate, benevolent, and respectful to Heaven and Earth while respecting life, helping and loving one another, and coexisting peacefully with Heaven and Earth. Only when we achieve the balance and unity among Heaven, Earth, and mankind, are we following the law of nature and can we ensure good energy to last forever in the universe and protect the world.
Within the universe, the purpose of life lies in creation. The true meaning of being human and the embodiment of the nature of the cosmos is to enable every life to develop freely. Practicing humanitarianism allows people to reconnect with their inner selves, which are pure and clean. We all come from the world of conscience, and our true nature is imbued with love, compassion, wisdom, courage, brilliance, and kindness. However, greed, selfishness, and jealousy have blinded our human nature, disrupted the balance of nature, and created all the disputes, conflicts, and disasters in the human world. True salvation comes from having our conscience awakened, and we need to reclaim our ancient innate conscience, gather kind-hearted people to safeguard conscience, follow the law of Heaven, and maintain the yin-yang balance when handling people and things. Only when humanity is in equilibrium with Heaven and Earth can we end human suffering. This also echoes a passage in Laozi’s Dao Te Ching: “People follow the Earth, the Earth follows Heaven, Heaven follows the Dao, and the Dao follows nature.”
Today, we advocate for global humanitarianism since it is founded on inalienable human rights. Human rights offenders are frequently governments. In addition to war and violence, it is not uncommon for governments to use their judicial power and taxation authority as weapons to violate people’s political, economic, and religious rights. Government officials might impose unjustified taxes on people and wrongfully convict people for the sake of power or job performance. When properly used, public authority is a tool for good governance and benevolence; when misused, it is a sharp knife that brings tyranny and harm to the people. A kind thought can lead to Heaven, whereas an evil thought can lead to Hell. The ultimate judge of the universe is conscience. It is never too late to awaken our conscience and change our ways to atone for our mistakes. Throughout our lives, we should seek the truth, distinguishing true from false, right from wrong, and good from bad, and defending righteousness and justice without fear, despite the obstacles that lie ahead.
The decisions we make now will determine the future of our planet and humanity. Only when we work together and stay steadfast to move toward a better future with mutual respect and support can we weave a stronger and larger safety net and turn crises into peace. Love is the most powerful energy in the world. Conscience is the only compass that guides humanity to eternity. We hope that people, motivated by love and conscience, will practice and promote humanitarianism to uphold justice, safeguard human rights, stabilize their communities, and work together to foster world peace.
May the world be blessed with peace and all living things thrive.
May people live together in harmony and enjoy peace of mind.
May every family and everyone be blessed with happiness.
*Presented at the ICDAY’s virtual event in support of UN World Humanitarian Day