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Protecting the Spiritual Environment (PSE)

In the world today, everyone talks about environmental protection. But stressing the protection of natural environment, material resources, and ecological balance alone will not suffice. We should start with our minds, protecting the mind from contamination. Protecting our minds, including our thoughts and way of thinking is PSE. As a Buddhist saying goes, “All changes are inseparable from the mind.” The mind is extremely important; it can change for the positive, or for the negative. Therefore, we have to guard the mind well and keep bad thoughts from arising, and strive to develop a good mind, that is, a mind of wisdom and benevolence. The Platform Sutra mentions that we should “think of neither good nor bad” in our mind. Now what sort of mindset is this? It is, in fact, the mind as described in a phrase in the Diamond Sutra: “Let the mind arise without abiding on anything.” When we think of neither good nor bad, it doesn’t mean that our minds can’t discern good from bad. It is ignorant to think that this is what it means. Actually, when we “think of neither good nor bad,” it means that we don’t have a discriminating mind, but a mind of wisdom. Only by reducing and dissolving the afflictions in our minds can we achieve the goal of liberation. When we develop our wisdom, we will be able to help sentient beings, our world, and ourselves. In this way, we can deliver not only sentient beings but also ourselves from suffering. Therefore, the purpose of PSE is to help all of us to overcome afflictions and develop wisdom, thus purifying our minds and our society. The Vimalakirti Sutra says, “If the mind is pure, the land will be pure.” As long as one’s mind is pure, the world he or she perceives is pure. If more and more people become pure in mind, the world in which we live will be turned into a pure land. Even if we cannot be pure in every thought, we can at least prevent our minds from coming into accord with vexations when we practice Buddhism. That way we will still be living in “a pure land on earth.” Therefore, to build “a pure land on earth,” we must start with PSE.
◇ Establishing Global Ethics