Sustainable Development

Back to listJun 11, 2011

Institute of Oriental Philosophy, UK, Hosts "Creative Awakening" Seminar

The Institute of Oriental Philosophy (IOP) UK held the third in a series of seminars titled "Creative Awakening" on humanity's relationship with nature on June 11 at the SGI-UK Taplow Court Grand Culture Centre.

The day began with Professor John Danvers from Plymouth University speaking on "Being at Home in the World." He encouraged attendees to view themselves as participants in nature rather than observers, stating that modern day feelings of dissatisfaction come from a feeling of separateness.

Participants at the seminarParticipants at the seminar engage in discussion

Through examples from biology and physics, Professor Danvers explained how the body is made of atoms that have existed for thousands of years, and is also home to countless microorganisms. He remarked, "The web of life is a web of interdependence and cohabitation, with all beings sustained by interwoven, natural systems within the atmospheric nest of the Earth."

In the afternoon, Professor David Cooper from Durham University gave a talk entitled "Converging with Nature: A Daoist Perspective." According to Professor Cooper, a central focus of Daoism is to find a "way" to live an authentic, virtuous life in relation to the natural world. "Human beings, unlike animals, have lost the way, becoming alienated from the natural world. Convergence with nature and dao is a recapturing of something lost."

The seminar also included question and answer sessions following each lecture.

[Adapted from articles in the June 15, 2011, issue of the SGI-UK Online News Bulletin; photos courtesy of Louise Ellis]