Cross-Cultural Understanding for Global Sustainability: Messages and Meanings from Asian Cultural Landscapes
- Department of Geography, Faculty of Science, Banaras Hindu University, & Professor of Cultural Geography & Heritage Studies, New F-7 Jodhpur Colony, B.H.U. campus, Varanasi, UP 221005, India
Keywords: Understanding tradition, global sustainability, Cultural landscapes, sacredscapes, heritage ecology, imbued meaning, reflective aesthetics
Abstract. Concept of 'multifunctionality' of cultural landscapes is a reflection of imbued meaning and aesthetics inherent there and also human manifestation of this spirit through existence and aliveness by human creation, love and continuance in various cultures and traditions. This sense helps envisioning landscapes that cross urban-rural divides in sustainable and an integrated way – characterised by wholeness and ecospirituality that developed in the cultural history of landscape sustainability. That is how, the idea of 'wholeness' (cosmality) is transformed into 'holiness' (sacrality) ― evolved and represented with sacred ecology and visualised through the cosmic frames of sacredscapes in Asian region that survived there as part of lifeworld. Understanding, feeling, living with, practicing and passing on these inherent meanings and aesthetics provide peace, solace and deeper feelings to human mind which are the ethereal breathe of sustainability. The rethinking should be based on the foundational value ― the reasoning that underlies the ethical sense of deeper understanding of Man-Nature Interrelatedness, the basic philosophy of coexistence ― referred in different cultures in their own ways, like multicultural co-living ('Old-comer') in Korea, harmonious coexistence (tabunka kyosei) in Japan, harmonious society (xiaokang) in China, wahi tapu (sacred places) in Maori’s New Zealand, global family (vasudhaiva kutumbakam) in Indian thought, and also African humanism (ubuntu) in South Africa. Think universally, see globally, behave regionally, act locally but insightfully; this is an appeal for shared wisdom for global sustainability in making our cultural landscapes mosaic of happy, peaceful and sustainable places crossing all the borders and transitions, especially interwoven links among Korea, Japan, China, and India.