CHINA / Regional

Panchen Lama calls for self-cultivation
Updated: 2006-04-13 14:23

The 11th Panchen Lama, a high ranking figure of Tibetan Buddhism, highlighted the role of self-cultivation in leading the world to harmony, stability and peace at a Buddhist forum Thursday in Hangzhou.

"I am convinced that through self-cultivation, all living beings will certainly be on the right track to a harmonious, stable, and peaceful world," said the Panchen Lama at the opening ceremony of the First World Buddhist Forum in the capital of east China's Zhejiang Province.

Gyaincain Norbu, the Panchen Lama, speaks at the opening ceremony of the World Buddhist Forum in Hangzhou, Zhejiang Province in east China April 13, 2006. [Reuters]

The high monk said he hoped Buddhists in all regions and all countries can show mercy, work in the interest of others and jointly fulfill the social obligations and the peaceful mission of Buddhism.

Praising his predecessor the 10th Panchen Lama as having made "great contribution" to national unification and national unity, the 17-year-old living Buddha urged the country's Buddhists to carry the tradition of safeguarding the country and benefiting the people.

Noting that defending the nation and working for the people is a solemn commitment Buddhism has made to the nation and society, he urged all Buddhists to shoulder the historical responsibility.

"Chinese society provides a favourable environment for Buddhist belief," the 17-year-old told the forum which winds up in nearby Zhoushan on Sunday.

Wearing a yellow and maroon robe, he delivered his terse speech in Tibetan which was interrupted twice by applause from more than 1,000 delegates from 34 countries.

Since it was introduced to China more than 2,000 years ago, Buddhism has become an important part of the Chinese culture.

All the three Buddhist sects are worshiped in China and the Buddhist belief enjoys a favorable environment in the country, the Panchen Lama said.

Born on February 13, 1990 in Lhari county of Tibet Autonomous Region, Gyaincain Norbu was approved by the central government of China as the reincarnation of the 10th Panchen Lama after a lot drawing ceremony among three candidates in the Jokhang Temple in Lhasa in 1995. The 10th Panchen Lama died in 1989.

Opening Ceremony

The First World Buddhist Forum opened Thursday morning in the scenic city of Hangzhou in east China's Zhejiang Province.

Liu Yandong, vice-chairwoman of the National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC), said at the opening ceremony that governments and peoples should exert concerted efforts to make religions play an active role in building a harmonious world.

"Buddhism has made important contribution to world peace and human civilization in the history. The forum will play a positive role in exploring how Buddhism can contribute to building a harmonious world," Liu said.

Tung Chee Hwa, vice-chairman of the CPPCC National Committee, read a congratulatory letter from United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan, who said the Buddha's vision of peace may be more relevant than ever before and called on the public to work together toward the common good and the harmonious and peaceful coexistence of all the world people.

Buddhist Master Shenghui, also vice-president of the Buddhist Association of China, said at the opening ceremony that the forum serves as an equal, diversified and open platform for talks among the people who love the world and the general public, respect and support Buddhism, and cherish a caring heart.

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. The monks will pray for world peace on April 15 in nearby Zhoushan City.

With the theme of "A harmonious world begins in the mind," the 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.

Eight Buddhist disciples from the Chinese mainland, Hong Kong and Taiwan proposed in October 2004 to hold a World Buddhist Forum in China, a suggestion that won support from Buddhist circles in Japan and the Republic of Korea.

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.


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