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Buddhist values pave way for world peace

By Zhao Huanxin and Shao Xiaoyi (China Daily)
Updated: 2006-04-14 06:23
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HANGZHOU: 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.

Buddhist values pave way for world peace
Gyaltsen Norbu (2nd-L), known as the Panchen Lama, attends the opening ceremony of the World Buddhist Forum with other Buddhist leaders including Grantha Visarada Rajakiya Pandita (L), supreme prelate of Sri Lanka, in Hangzhou, Zhejiang province in east China April 13, 2006. [Reuters]

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."

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