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Buddhist values pave way for world peace
Latest Updated by 2006-04-14 15:16:47
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Buddhist monks, experts and politicians attend the First World Buddhist Forum in Hangzhou, capital of east China's Zhejiang Province, on April 13. The First World Buddhist Forum opened Thursday morning with the theme of "A harmonious world begins in the mind". More than 1,000 Buddhist monks, experts and politicians from 34 countries and regions have come to attend the event lasting from April 13 to 16. Participants will focus on three topics: Buddhism's unity and cooperation, social responsibility and peaceful mission to make different nations and religions work for a peaceful, prosperous and harmonious world. Sponsored by China's Buddhist Association and Religious Culture Communication Association, the forum is the first major international Buddhist conference since the founding of New China in 1949. (Xinhua)

Around 1,300 years ago, when Tang Dynasty (AD 618-907) monk Xuan Zang went to study Buddhism in India, it took him all of 17 years and untold hardships to make the return trip.

Today, the more than 1,000 Buddhist monks and researchers from more than 30 countries and regions who gathered in the East China city of Hangzhou made their trip far more comfortably in planes or other modern modes of transport.

But the core values of the religion still shine through despite the change of times in its teachings that people must strive for freedom from greed, anger and ignorance; and in its promotion of harmony and peace in the world.

Speaking yesterday at the first World Forum of Buddhism, Venerable Shenghui, vice-president of the Buddhist Association of China, defined the religion as peace-loving and always seeking ways to harmony in society and tranquility of mind.

His view was shared by Liu Yandong, vice-chairwoman of the National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference, who said: "Internal harmony will definitely lead to external peace."

As a senior official of the nation's top political advisory body, she said that a peacefully-developing China seeks a world of harmony and co-existence a lofty goal that all religious communities should work for.

In a message to the forum, United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan said the Buddha's ethical and humanitarian ideals are still ennobling the lives of millions of people.

Annan said the Buddhist vision of peace may be more relevant than ever before.

"If we want to have a chance of overcoming the many challenges that face us today in the fields of peace and security... we must think beyond our narrow, short-term self-interests, and raise ourselves to universal perspectives from which the well-being of the broader human community can be seen to be as important as our individual well-being," he said.

Also speaking at the forum, the 11th Panchen Lama Bainqen Erdini Qoigyijabu said: "Chinese society provides a favourable environment for Buddhist belief."

The Living Buddha of China's Tibetan Buddhism said all the three Buddhist sects Chinese, Tibetan and Pali coexist and are developing in China as equals and respect one another.

Tibetan Buddhism has observed the fine tradition of loving both the nation and Buddhism, he pointed out. "It is particularly worth mentioning that my predecessor, the 10th Panchen Lama, had made an outstanding contribution to the unity of the country and the solidarity of the people.

"I am convinced that as they transform their character, all living beings will certainly be on the right track to a harmonious, stable, and peaceful world."

Venerable K. Mahinda Sangharakkhita, chief incumbent of Kelaniya Royal Temple in Sri Lanka, said: "Thanks to the support from the Chinese Government, the forum will promote the spread of Buddhist teachings in the world as China has become one of the leading countries of the 21st century."

For Buddhist followers, the forum is a chance to pay tribute to well-known figures, most of whom are attending the gathering.

The forum opened yesterday, and is scheduled to close on Sunday. Hangzhou the capital of Zhejiang Province is famous among Buddhists all over China for its 1,600- year-old Lingyin Temple.

Ye Rong, 62, who flew from Guizhou Province in Southwest China, arrived outside the venue two hours before the forum opened. "I'll feel blessed even with a mere glimpse of the living Buddhas," she said.

The 11th Panchen Lama Bainqen Erdini Qoigyijabu prays for eternal world peace at the first World Buddhist Forum in Hangzhou on April 13. (Xinhua)

Buddhist monks and masters read Buddhist lections during the opening ceremony of the First World Buddhist Forum April 13. (Xinhua)

Editor: Yan

By: Zhao Huanxin and Shao Xiaoyi Source: China Daily Website
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