World Buddhist Forum participants say dialogues significant in Buddhism development

Society Materials 29 March 2009 22:38 (UTC +04:00)

Participants hailed the importance of dialogues in the development of the Buddhism as the Second World Buddhist Forum wrapped up its first part on Sunday in Wuxi City of east China's Jiangsu Province, Xinhua reported.

The jointly-held forum, which will continue in Taipei on Tuesday, is installed with eight sub-forums in Wuxi where more than 1,700 participants from nearly 50 countries and regions can have dialogues on a series of topics, such as Buddhism and Education, Buddhism and Science and Buddhism and International Exchanges.

"In today's world, having dialogues is crucial to the development of Buddhism," said Master Hsing Yun, founder of the Taiwan-based Fo Guang Shan Monastery, who is present at the forum with a theme of "a harmonious world, a synergy of conditions."

Chinese government has clarified that building a harmonious world requires an active role played by various civilizations and religions.

"Such an attitude of the government has provided room for dialogues and development of the religions,"said Professor Wang Yukai with China's National School of Administration.

"An effective dialogue is not necessarily about seeking consensus amid differences," said Lou Yulie, head of the Institution for Religion Studies of Beijing University and also a renowned Buddhism expert."It is about finding out differences while maintaining the distinctiveness and showing respects to each other."

The Buddhism, imported to the country 2,000 years ago, is no stranger to dialogues with the home-grown Taoism and Confucianism.

"The dialogues among the three religions in China have been carried out with the guidance of principles such as 'agree to disagree' and 'examine oneself before accusing others'," said Professor Dong Qun, a Buddhism expert with the South East University in the eastern Jiangsu Province.

At the Second World Buddhism Forum, many Buddhists and experts have reached consensus that only through dialogues can the Buddhism find its own position in today's world and play its due role.

"Differences may exist between the Buddhism in the west and the Buddhism in the east, " said Frank Ulm, a German Buddhist. "But that's why we are here for-- to find out the difference and have dialogues."

Ulm said he felt that the Chinese Buddhists at the forum are always ready to listen and are pleased to find out differences.

"Only by finding out differences and then thinking about them can we better develop our own sect of Buddhism," he added.

"The Buddhism is inclusive, rather than exclusive," said Master Omaple Sobhita Thero, a Sri Lanka monk at the forum "The inclusiveness, which enables dialogues, is the very advantage of the Buddhism."

More Westerners have become interested in the Buddhism which was born in the Orient, said Master Hui Feng, born in New Zealand and now a monk in Hong Kong. "The Chinese Buddhists should be ready to have more dialogues."