In Support of the International Day for Tolerance
Promoting Universal Tolerance with Love and Conscience
Dr. Hong, Tao-Tze
Zhang-men-ren of Tai Ji Men
Vice President of the Association of World Citizens,
NGO in Consultative Status with ECOSOC and Associated with the UN DPI
President of the Federation of World Peace and Love
November 16, 2022
The preamble to the Charter of the United Nations, which came into being in 1945, states that the people of the United Nations made a commitment “to practice tolerance and live together in peace with one another as good neighbours.” Committed to promoting tolerance through greater mutual understanding among cultures and people, the United Nations established the International Day for Tolerance to encourage understanding and acceptance of differences, respect for human rights, and support for equality and diversity around the world.
The International Day for Tolerance reminds us that respect, acceptance, appreciation, and learning from the world's rich diversity of cultures, races, beliefs, ideas, and expressions is what enables diverse groups from all regions to coexist harmoniously.
Tolerance is a virtue of open mindedness to differences and treating one another with courtesy. For ideas different from our own, we need to understand them with tolerance, respect, and care so that the world can reduce a lot of disputes and discrimination. Prejudice and dissatisfaction often come from ignorance and fear. Therefore, UNESCO has called on all societies to promote tolerance education and proclaimed the Declaration of Principles on Tolerance, emphasizing that tolerance is not only a moral responsibility, but also a political and legal requirement for individuals, groups, and nations.
Tolerance recognizes that universal human rights and fundamental freedoms, including the development of a culture of peace and non-violence, the implementation of the rule of law and global citizenship, the promotion of inclusive and non-discriminatory education, and the dissemination of accurate information and the protection of freedom of expression, are essential to building a fair, just, and inclusive society. It is our shared responsibility to build a tolerant human society. But where do we start?
Mahatma Gandhi stated, "Love is the most powerful force in the world.” Only true love can reconcile differences. With love, we are willing to share, rather than claim things as our own. With love, we want all people to enjoy the same rights and freedoms. With love, we treat others as we would like to be treated, and everything we do is for the benefit of others. Love is an instinct and needs to be constantly cultivated, learned, and expanded, from individual families to the whole world, to form the energy that stabilizes the world. In a meeting with Pope Benedict XVI in 2005, I shared, "Without love, there is no peace. Peace needs love, and love needs to be balanced.” The wisdom of balance is action. Conscience inspires true love in people’s hearts. Conscience is the compass of life, guiding us in the right direction. Guided by our conscience, we will be able to connect with one another with empathy and tolerance, allowing human beings to live together in harmony.
How can the great project of building a tolerant human society be sustained? It is stated in the Declaration of the Principles on Tolerance that “Tolerance is not concession, condescension or indulgence. Tolerance is, above all, an active attitude prompted by recognition of the universal human rights and fundamental freedoms of others. In no circumstance can it be used to justify infringements of these fundamental values.” We need to follow our conscience, have love in our hearts, remember our original kind intentions, and uphold the spirit of the Declaration of the Principles on Tolerance, which is a constant reminder that tolerance should be practiced by all individuals, groups, and nations. A government should take the lead in creating a tolerant, just, and mutually respectful society by formulating policies that are people-oriented and respectful of human rights while administering its policies in accordance with the law. When government agencies exercise public power, they should remember that basic human rights cannot be violated under any circumstances. It has an obligation to safeguard the human rights and freedoms of its citizens and to treat people of different cultures, races, religions, and beliefs equally. In particular, the judicial system and taxation should not be used as a weapon to oppress its people.
The world is facing unprecedented threats and challenges. Natural and manmade disasters are common, and no one can stay unaffected. Only by uniting and cooperating with one another with love and conscience, can we change the destiny of the world. On October 16 this year, Tai Ji Men, the Federation of World Peace and Love, and more than 500 other organizations around the world co-organized an event titled "Conscience Illuminating the World: Global Prayers for Love and Peace," gathering representatives from different countries, religions, and races around the world to pray for the world together with the positive energy of awakened conscience. A global endorsement campaign for the Declaration of World Prayer Day was also launched at the time to consolidate good energy by encouraging people to spread positivity through their prayers and kind wishes, inspiring everyone to put knowledge into practice and create a peaceful and tolerant society through actions.
Every moment we are alive is a critical moment. You and I both hold the key to our destination, and as long as we are willing, we can open the door to a better and more beautiful world. Let us listen to the call of our conscience, open our hearts, and put our tolerance into action with selfless and altruistic love, working together for our common future and realizing a peaceful world where humans and nature coexist in harmony.
May actions of conscience be taken everywhere to benefit the world and end suffering.
May people work together peacefully to transform the world.