Attending scholars show their concern over global warming and climate change in the first Asian Buddhism Forum
The first Asian Buddhism Forum was held in National Taiwan University on Dec. 9 and 10, 2011. There were 19 scholars doing Buddhism research, 7 of them from Taiwan, 6 from India and the others from Thailand, Mongolia, Cambodia, Vietnam, Japan and Korea. They proposed their papers under the theme of “Buddhist Canons and Early Mahayana Buddhism” and all the participants had a wonderful discussion after each thesis presentation with them.
In the opening ceremony the key note speaker Lin Tsong-ming, Deputy Minister of Education, had an initial and crucial speech on the first day morning. He talked about the education and charity through the point of view from the Buddhism. He emphasized that the Buddhism languages development such as Sanskrit, establishment of Buddhist schools and higher education in studying the Buddhism are about the time to do, which would be a great contribution to improve the social negative atmosphere in this moment.
He also mentioned about the Fo Guang Shan and Tzu Chi doing the works of mercy. These two renowned charitable organizations show the generous and dedicated support for disasters, which enhance and glorify the mercy, compassion and love of the Buddhism.
Vice President of National Taiwan University Dr. Lo Ching-hua, one of the organizer of this forum, also had an opening speech at the same time on Dec 9, 2011. He mentioned about the importance of global warming and climate change. The Buddhism could appeal the people to change the habit of greediness, waste and killing, which may prevent the earth from destroying.
There were 7 thesis presentations in these two days. Each thesis presentation was chaired by very famous Buddhist scholars, such as Professor Dr. K.T.S. Sarao of Delhi University, Professor Emeritus Dr. Musashi Tachikawa of National Museum of Ethnology of Osaka, Dr. Prapod Assavavirulhakarn Dean of Chulalongkorn University of Thailand, the Principal of Dharma Drum Buddhist College Dr. Venerable Huimin, Professor of College of Liberal Arts of National Taiwan University Dr. Theresa Yeh and Dean of College of Buddhist Studies of Fo Guang University Dr. Venerable Hui-kai.
“Was Devadatta a demon or a saint?” Dr. Sarao proposed in his paper. In his paper, an attempt has been made to show that the differences between the Buddha and Devadatta appear to have arisen out of some serious issues relating to the functioning of the Samgha.
Other important theses also proposed in the first forum in these two days, like “Interpretations of Emptiness in India and China” by Dr. Tachikawa. Director of Center of Excellent for Research in Computer Systems of National Taiwan University Dr. Jieh Hsiang, National Science Council of Taiwan, had a special presentation of “The current status of the digital library and museum of Buddhist studies” on Dec. 10 afternoon, which was the last on for this forum.
According to the global warming and the climate change more and more severer, the audience and attending scholars expect could put this theme for discussion in next forum.
Ps. original version published on the website of Taiwan News by Theresa Huang