he 21st century has begun, and various global issues lie heavy on us such as global climate change caused by
      environmental disruption through prioritized economic development, and religious and ethnic conflicts caused by clash of national egos and differences in belief and ethnicity, economic globalization symbolized by globally-skewed distribution of wealth, and energy problems including nuclear power heatedly disputed all over the world especially afterFukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster. We believe these issues are agendas we must think together as a global citizen.

T

The Himalaya as a sacred place reflecting
                                                      common issues for humani
ty 

About 50 million years ago, the Indian subcontinent collided against Eurasian Continent, through which the Himalaya was created.  The Himalayas consist of a very large, high mountain range and the surrounding plains and plateaus, extending 2,400 kilometers from the east to the west, and 300 kilometers from the north to the south.  The formidably large area is larger than the size of mainland Japan.  It extends through Burma, Bhutan, China, Tibet, Nepal, India, Pakistan to Afghanistan.  The Himalayas’ mighty glaciers feed most of Asian rivers including the Ganges, Indus, Yangtze and Mekong.  Altogether about 13 billion people live in the Himalayan watershed.  The Himalayas is a great treasure of the earth with a profound diversity in ecological environment, ethnicity and culture.  For example, its natural diversity is comparable to the Amazon River basin, and Nepal itself has more than 100 ethnic groups.  A part of the Himalayas, the Sagarmatha National Park in Nepal with Mt. Everest (Sagarmatha), is now registered as a World Heritage Site.  

* The Himalayan Area from the space.  
("Himalaya Mountains" (Center); "Tibetan Plateau” (Right);
   " Indian Plain (Left))

The region is also home to some of the most spiritual places in the world:  It is the birthplace of both Buddhism and Hinduism.  Buddhist scriptures as well as Hindu Vedas have been precious resources for people including Mahatma Gandhi to find real meanings of lives. The teachings of compassion in Tibetan Buddhism by the Dalai Lama are now quite popular especially among Westerners.  The nonviolence by Mahatma Gandhi as a devout Hindu is once again receiving attention in this chaotic contemporary world.  Emphasizing the meaning of spiritual well-being based on Buddhism, the Bhutanese government proposes a unique policy called Gross National Happiness (GNH)as supposed to Gross Domestic Product (GDP).  Recently, Ms. Malala Yousafzai, young Pakistani civil-rights activist, became the youngest Nobel Peace Prize laureate.  Her fearless actions encourage many people in a tough environment all over the world. 

In addition, the style of Himalayan local people keeping their traditional life styles in harmony with
nature has been introduced by well-known environmentalists including Vandana Shiva, Helena 
Norberg-Hodge
and so forth and has got much international public attention and been recognized as
a important reference for creating a better society.   

The Himalaya serves as an important ‘yardstick’ and ‘mirror’ for us to analyze what’s wrong with our world.  Specifically, we can clearly see the serious and various global issues that the contemporary world is facing through the Himalayas: global climate change and environmental disruption caused by the prioritization of economic development; religious and ethnic conflicts caused by clashes of national egos and differences in belief and culture; and globalization and rising economic disparity.  These issues are agendas we need to think together as global citizens.  The followings are some concrete examples of these problems in the Himalayas: 

Global Warming: During the past two decades, due to the global warming, Himalayan glaciers have been reduced dramatically.  As the result, many glacier lakes have appeared in the area, some of which have broken and caused sufferings in the local communities. Many experts warn that if the glaciers, being one of the largest ‘reservoirs of freshwater’ on earth continue to retreat, drought will dominate the river reaches, which may cause ecological refugees in large quantity. 

Nature Destruction: Wide-range of precious forests in the Himalayas, which are home to rare and endangered species, have been destroyed due to population growth and single minded economy development plan.  According to researches by Indian scientists, the Indian Himalaya region has lost 15 percent of its forest cover since the 1970s.  They warn that with the current deforestation rates two-thirds of the region's dense forest will disappear and almost a quarter of the species unique to the Himalaya could vanish by 2100.

Poverty & Discrimination: The civil war in Nepal happened in 1996 and continued for

10 years.  The main cause for it is the persisting gap between the rich and the poor, the discrimination caused by the caste system, and prejudices and abuses against women.  This condition gave rise to the Maoist rebels, who had a running battle with the regal government army.  In the end, more than 10,000 people died.  Although Nepal has changed its political system from royalism to republic, it’s still unstable condition socially, politically and economically. 

Ethnic and Religious Disputes: The geopolitical instability, religious difference and multi-
ethnic situation among the big powers such as China, India and Pakistan have caused serious d
isputes and problems with the crisis of nuclear war, terrorism and ethnic and religious conflicts: The
war over the boundary line between China and India in the 1960s and the long-term war over
Kashmir that killed a tremendous number of people are cases in point.  Regarding the Tibet issue,
Tibetan refugees have been using nonviolent methods in their struggles for their return to Tibet for
more than 50 years since China’s invasion in the 1950s.  In 2011 alone more than ten Tibetans in
Tibet immolated themselves to protest against the Chinese government. 

Awakening to a "consciousness of citizens of the Earth" through the Himalaya 

In a memorable verse of Kumarsambhava (5th c. AD), the famous Sanskrit poet Kalidasa compares the Himalayas to a gigantic measuring rod striding the earth between two oceans. In the 21st century, the Himalayas should be called a gigantic ‘sacred rod’ measuring human lives on the planet earth. The Dalai Lama XIV, the supreme leader of Tibetan Buddhism, once showed the Zone of Ahimsa proposal and stated, “It is my hope and dream that the entire Tibetan Plateau will someday be transformed into a true peace sanctuary: an entirely demilitarized area and the world’s largest natural park or biosphere.”  We the Himalaya Archive Japan do hope that the entire Himalaya area will become a model area like the one Dalai Lama proposed, which means we humbly envision that we can contribute to the realization of “the Himalaya-Zone of Ahimsa” through several our projects in which we overview and explore the contemporary world through the Himalayan wisdom and consider a better society with everyone who share our vision. That also means that we together start to walk the path for the awakening to a “consciousness of citizens of the Earth” who is like the one Bhagavad Gita describe as “One who perceives in comparison with the self, all living entities equally, in happiness and distress; such a one perfected in the science of uniting the individual consciousness with the Ultimate Consciousness is considered the highest. “

   “You must be the change you want to see in the world.”   - Mahatma Gandhi

Now, the Japanese society apparently shows the tendency to become a “closed society” radically without any clear future vision: The government’s murky nuclear energy policy after the Great East Japan Earthquake; The strong right-wing bias in Japanese politics; The increasing hate speech; Many sweatshops ignoring working conditions; Nasty school and workplace bullying; The disparity between the rich and the poor, etc. This clearly shows “ego” “desire” and “fear” is increasing in the superficially stable society more than ever before.After the Great East Japan Earthquake and following Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster, many Japanese both intellectuals, experts and ordinary people argued loudly that the Japanese society had to be fundamentally changed for the better, making use of the experience of the disaster.  It is typical that Dr. Hiroaki Koide, a well-known anti-nuclear researcher at Kyoto University severely criticized the government’s nuclear energy policy with TEPCO, citing Gandhi’s “Seven Social Sins.”  Unfortunately, it seems that in the end the Japanese public has hardly got any essential from the disaster and been heading down the “Social Sins” road…We Himalaya Archive Japan now sincerely hope that people, who seriously look ahead and think about changing individual and society without being slaves to conventional wisdom, will experience the “Himalayan Wisdom” including Gandhi’s thought and actually apply it to each movement. For us, helping people do that through our projects including Himalaya Awareness Channel is the major mission.

マラヤ・ウェアネス・ーカイブズ

Himalaya Awareness Archives

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"Think of the Earth, Think from the Himalaya"