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World Federation of Daoists takes a 'first step' onto the world stage

The World Federation of Daoists held its inaugural council meeting recently – and Martin Palmer was there to represent FaithInvest as Founding President, and also in his role as the WFD's newly appointed Special Advisor on UN Affairs.

Master Li Guang Fu, President of the China Daoist Association, with Martin Palmer
Master Li Guang Fu, President of the CDA and the new World Daoist Federation, and Martin Palmer

Martin Palmer has worked with the Daoists for four decades. The decision to found an international body to represent Daoism on the world stage is something he has long advocated, he told the audience at the celebrations held in Luyi, Henan, China – known as the hometown of Daoist ancestors.

The event saw representatives from 28 countries and regions gather in Luyi for the WFD's first conference and council meeting, and also celebrate the 2,595th anniversary of the birth of Daoist philosopher and founder Lau Zi (sometimes spelled Lau Tzu).

Martin Palmer said: 'I have worked on the international scene for 40 years and have long felt that only when Daoism decides to go out to the wider, secular and religious world as an equal, can Daoism at last become acknowledged as a truly world faith.'

From left to right: Martin Palmer in traditional Daoist robes; Martin with Master Meng Zhiling, Secretary General of the World Federation of Daoism; and Martin making his speech to the gathering.

He added: 'The Dao De Jing is the most published book in different languages in the world after the Bible and the Qur’an. Yet true appreciation of the real depth and meaning of Daoism has never been fully shared overseas by the lineages of Daoism in China.'

This would change with the founding of the WFD, he added, as he proposed that key goals of the new body should include:

  • Joining other major world religions as a consultative organisation linked to the UN Environment Programme;

  • Working with the Green Climate Fund (GCF) – the world’s largest adaptation and mitigation fund for tackling climate change and related environmental and development issues;

  • Advising on appropriate investment opportunities across China and with Daoist groups around Asia;

  • Creating, assisted by Faithinvest and Hong Kong University, 'a new Tai Ping Jing – a handbook on how to live and develop a sustainable Daoist lifestyle through personal action and business'.

The grand ritual of worshipping Lauzi
The grand ritual of worshipping Lauzi. Martin is present as a prestigious guest (middle photo)

In this way, he said, the WFD will ensure that 'a more spiritual, philosophical and practical way of living contributes to the next 15-year UN goal on Planetary Boundaries is possible'.

Martin Palmer also highlighted the decision taken last year to establish a Daoist Investors Hub in Hong Kong. This was the result of a major commitment by the Daoists to faith-consistent investing; the hub will help Daoist organisations and Daoist-inspired entrepreneurs to invest according to core Daoist principles.

He added: 'As the Dao De Jing says in Chapter 64, a journey of a thousand miles starts with the first step. This is the first step. Now is the time for Daoism to step up and take the position of being one of the world’s greatest traditions.'

The board of directors and global members of the World Daoist Federation
The board of directors and global members of the World Daoist Federation


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