Tai Ji Men plays a crucial role in educating the world to peace, love, and conscience. It is time to educate the world about the injustice vested on it.
by Karolina Maria Hess*
*Introduction to the webinar “Educating Human Rights Activists to Understand the Tai Ji Men Case,” co-organized by CESNUR and Human Rights Without Frontiers on January 28, 2023, after the International Day of Education (January 24).
January 24 was the International Day of Education. The United Nations added this one to their international days of observance in 2018, and the first International Day of Education was celebrated on January 24, 2019.
There are two important reasons why this seminar of our series about Tai Ji Men is connected with the International Day of Education. The first reason is to reflect on the important role of Tai Ji Men as a global community devoted to peace and conscience education. Almost all United Nations documents on peace emphasize that there can be no peace without peace education. Particularly in these days and months, we are all aware that in our world there is no peace. Can this be because peace education failed? There is much talk about peace everywhere, but many perceive the discourse on peace as empty and lacking foundation.
Tai Ji Men and its Shifu (Grand Master), Dr. Hong Tao-Tze, reminds us constantly that peace is connected with love and conscience. Love is another word that is used too often, and the idea of connecting it with peace may be received with skepticism by many. However, Tai Ji Men constantly mentions together love and conscience as the basis for world peace. Love without conscience may indeed be an empty world. Love with conscience is a demanding concept. It excludes selfishness, arrogance, and manipulation of others. And it can create true peace.
As a consequence, Dr. Hong teaches, peace education should be based on conscience education. During a virtual event for the International Day of Education 2022, Dr. Hong explained that, “The core value of education lies in inspiring people’s conscience and self-awareness, thereby shaping individuals and the landscape of future society. The most important education for everyone from birth to death is conscience education.”
He added that, “Conscience is a constant reminder for people to restore their true hearts, do the right thing, and make wise decisions. Everyone is an important educator of conscience. Everyone should respect, tolerate, understand, forgive, appreciate, learn from, and care for one another. Each kind thought and each good deed can have a critical influence on global citizens’ well-being.”
The second reason why it is appropriate to held one of our events in connection with the International Day of Education is the Tai Ji Men case. The title of our webinar is “Educating Human Rights Activists to Understand the Tai Ji Men Case.” This requires some explanation, as dozens of these seminars have ready been organized, and many in the international human rights and freedom of religion or belief community are now aware of the Tai Ji Men case. However, more is needed, as evidenced by the fact that the Tai Ji Men case has not been solved yet.
An international movement was created in the last few years that took the Tai Ji Men case to international media, magazines, scholarly journals, academic conferences, and the United Nations themselves. One positive effect of this movement is that hundreds of international scholars and human rights activists now know about Tai Ji Men and its teachings about peace, love, and conscience. It is not an exaggeration to say that a true community has been created, with a new awareness of the relationship between conscience, justice, and peace, and even new friendships.
However, we need to reach more politicians and opinion leaders—certainly in Taiwan, but internationally as well, as perhaps only an internationalization of the case may offer hopes to solve it. We need to elaborate a simple, clear, and persuasive discourse, explaining what the Tai Ji Men case is all about. And we certainly need to involve even more scholars, activists, journalists, friends through the world.
In the process, we will educate ourselves even more to conscience and justice. And let us hope we will educate others, and move towards a solution of a case that has not been solved in more than 26 years.