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27 Apr, 2012

World Buddhist Forum Opens in HK, Panchen Lama Speaks on Dharma


HONG KONG, April 26 (Xinhua) — The Third World Buddhist Forum opened Thursday in Hong Kong with more than 1,000 monks and scholars from over 50 countries and regions discussing the role of Buddhism in the construction of a harmonious society and peaceful world.

The 11th Panchen Lama Bainqen Erdini Qoigyijabu, one of the two most senior living Buddhas in Tibetan Buddhism who is visiting Hong Kong in his first public appearance outside the Chinese mainland, delivered a keynote speech on the Dharma.

At the beginning of the opening ceremony, led by President of the Hong Kong Buddhist Association Kok Kwong, President of the Buddhist Association of China Chuan Yin, the 11th Panchen Lama, all distinguished guests, together with thousands of monks and Buddhist believers, bowed three times to the statue of Lord Sakyamuni Buddha and chanted the Heart Sutra, one of the most well known Buddhist scriptures.

China’s top political advisor Jia Qinglin opened the forum with a congratulatory letter which was read out to the attendees by Zhu Weiqun, deputy head of the United Front Work Department of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee.

Jia, chairman of the National Committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference, urged representatives of the forum to make contributions to kinder human relations, greater social harmony and a more peaceful world in his letter.

“It is my hope that the participating masters will use the occasion to exchange experience in religious practices, find more cultural resources, expound the inner meanings of Buddhist teachings and explore solutions to the common problems facing mankind, so as to make a positive contribution to kinder human relations, greater social harmony and a more peaceful world,” Jia said in the letter.

The World Buddhist Forum has grown to become an important platform for promoting Buddhism and advancing peace around the world. The theme of this forum “Common aspirations and actions towards a harmonious world” will surely galvanize Buddhists in all countries to work hand in hand towards a world of durable peace and common prosperity, Jia said.

Secretary General of the United Nations Ban Ki-moon also sent a congratulatory letter to the forum. Ban said the proposals raised by the forum would be helpful for the work of the UN in the three pillar fields of peace, development and human rights.


The Panchen Lama said there is a contemporary trend to put “materialistic technology” ahead of the “science of the mind” and “science of the mind” stands out as a path leading to harmony of the nature, peace in the world, concordance in societies and affection in families.

In religion, Dharma means law or natural law and is a concept of central importance. For many Buddhists, the Dharma most often means the body of teachings expounded by the Buddha. The word is also used in Buddhist phenomenology as a term roughly equivalent to phenomenon, a basic unit of existence or experience.

“Since the prosperity of Dharma in ancient India … Significant contributions to the development of human societies, ethics and cultural education have been made,” the 22-year-old Panchen Lama said. Buddha was a spiritual teacher from India on whose teachings Buddhism was founded.

However, he added “increasing greediness in people’s hearts has unbalanced the eco-systems, contaminated the environments, caused natural disasters, spread epidemics, induced wars and hence endangered all sentient beings now and in future.”

While people are searching for the remedy, “science of the mind” stands out as a path leading to harmony of the nature, peace in the world, concordance in societies and affection in families, he said.

Dharma advocates altruistic care for all beings, purification of body, speech and mind, salvation for all sentient beings and the achievement of the two supra-mundane states. Buddhist Doctrines are the essence of the “science of the mind”, which can benefit spiritual growth, cultivate morality, dissolve human conflicts and mental sufferings and bring global peace, he said.

“As the sole medicine for the sufferings, And the source of all happiness, May the teachings, with support and respect, continue to exist endlessly in the world,” Panchen Lama quoted Santideva Bodhisattva, an 8th-century Indian Buddhist scholar, as saying.

“Therefore, the promotion of Dharma is a very important issue for the contemporary world,” Panchen Lama said. “Inheriting and developing Dharma is the utmost mission for all Buddhists.”

All Buddhists should also work towards an organic synergy of “science of the mind” and “materialistic technology” as it would contribute to global peace, social harmony, and cultural development, he added.


In his speech at the opening ceremony, President of the Hong Kong Buddhist Association Kok Kwong said the theme of the forum conforms to the development of the times and coincides with the Buddhist concepts and ideas.

The 93-year-old Kok Kwong also called on people to reach a common understanding and make contributions to creating a better world of equality, prosperity, happiness and harmony.

Chuan Yin, president of the Buddhist Association of China, said in a speech that “harmony is the shared aspiration of all humans.”

He explained that in the context of today’s circumstances, “if we all carry with us an attitude of gratitude and cleanse our thoughts hand in hand, we may then find a peaceful and benevolent mind in people. If we are tolerant with each other, we can then have a peaceful and harmonious society.”

Hong Kong’s Chief Executive Donald Tsang said Buddhism has profound and deep influence on the Chinese culture and Hong Kong boasts more than 1 million Buddhists. “They practice Buddhist doctrines, promote the Dharma, serve the society and make big contributions (to Hong Kong),” he said.

After the launch ceremony, famous Chinese singer Wang Fei sang the song “Heart Sutra”. The theme song of the forum “Common Aspirations and Action” was also performed by several Hong Kong artists.

Co-founded by the Chinese mainland, Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan, the World Buddhism Forum is aimed at building an equal and open platform for high-level dialogues in the world of Buddhism.

The first forum was held in China’s eastern Zhejiang province in 2006. The second forum was opened in the eastern Jiangsu province and closed in Taiwan in 2009.

Buddha’s skull bone in Hong Kong

By Guo Jiaxue in Hong Kong

BEIJING, Apr. 26 (Xinhuanet) — A relic of the Buddha’s skull bone was enshrined in Hong Kong for public worship on Wednesday. The relic’s 10-day display in Hong Kong and Macao marks the first time the only known part of the Buddha’s skull has been taken out of the mainland.

The relic arrived in Hong Kong at 3 pm on Wednesday afternoon as monks chanted sutras on the apron at Hong Kong International Airport.

As the relic was taken out of the aircraft, escorted by Buddhist masters, a golden 1.38-meter-high replica of the Asoka Pagoda appeared, covered by a bullet-proof glass shield. Through a specially designed door on one side of the pagoda, the relic could be seen sitting on a lotus pattern, enshrined in a transparent case to ensure stable temperature and humidity.

The relic was then transported to Hong Kong Coliseum on a decorated float under police escort. The coliseum was decorated with statues of Buddha and a lotus-shaped ceiling light, with monks chanting, singing and beating drums. When the relic arrived, thousands of devotees raised their clasped hands, holding candles and singing with monks.

Eminent monks who attended the ceremony included the 11th Panchen Lama, who left the mainland for the first time.

Kok Kwong, president of the Hong Kong Buddhist Association, and Chuan Yin, president of the Buddhist Association of China, conducted the purification ceremony.

“Seeing the relic is like seeing the Buddha. Buddhism offers a wealth of wisdom, which brings true happiness to people,” said Kok Kwong.

“Worshipping the relic can promote people’s inner mercy, purify people’s minds, and is conducive to world peace.”

He told China Daily it’s also the first time he saw the skull bone relic. The 93-year-old led a group of 150 monks to Nanjing, Jiangsu province, a day ahead to welcome the relic. “It was truly joyful. I was filled with Dharma joy,” he said, recalling the very first moment he saw the relic in Nanjing.

Kok Kwong noted that devotees and the public can see the holy relic very closely at “only one to two meters” away. He described the opportunity as “once in a thousand years”.

The skull-bone relic of Buddha, will be on display for public worship for six days to celebrate the Buddha’s birthday on April 28, as well as the 15th anniversary of Hong Kong’s return to the motherland.

Hong Kong is the only city so far where all three holy relics – the Buddha’s skull bone, tooth, and finger bone – have been enshrined for worship.

It is estimated that more than 300,000 people will worship the relic in Hong Kong during the period. Some 20,000 tickets have been reserved for tourists from the mainland, Southeast Asia, Europe and the United States.

The event also coincides with the World Buddhist Forum in the city. After completing the Hong Kong leg on April 30, the relic will be taken to Macao for public worship and return to Nanjing on May 4. The skull bone was unearthed in Nanjing in 2010 after being buried for more than 1,000 years under the Song Dynasty Changgan Temple.

The precious relic was not insured and no security check has been arranged at Hong Kong Coliseum. But the organizer, the Hong Kong Buddhist Association, has hired two security companies and installed security cameras at the stadium.

Profile: Bainqen Erdini Qoigyijabu, 11th Panchen Lama

HONG KONG, April, 26 (Xinhua) — Bainqen Erdini Qoigyijabu is officially recognized as the 11th Panchen Lama, the top ranking figure of Tibetan Buddhism currently in China. His secular name is Gyaencaen Norbu.

He was confirmed and approved by the State Council, or the Chinese central government, as the reincarnation of the Tenth Panchen Lama on Nov. 29, 1995, after the lot drawing from a sacred golden urn in strict compliance with religious rituals and conventions.

Gyaencaen Norbu was born on Feb. 13, 1990 at Lhari County in northern Tibet. His father and mother both had primary school education. The name of Gyaencaen Norbu, given by his maternal grandfather, means holy streamer of triumph.

There were many auspicious signs taking place around the birth of Gyaencaen Norbu. A baby-sitter found a white holy Tibetan letter on his tongue, a letter representing the incarnation of Buddha.

The search for the reincarnation of the late Tenth Panchen Lama began in June 1989. Based on lake observation, divinations and identifying objects left behind by the late Tenth Panchen Lama as well as a comprehensive analysis of his countenance and auspicious signs, three most brilliant boy candidates were picked eventually.

Through the method of drawing lots from the golden urn, conducted before the statue of Sakyamuni in the Jokhang Temple in Lhasa, Gyaencaen Norbu was selected as the reincarnation of the Tenth Panchen Lama. His religious name is Jizun Losang Qamba Lhunzhub Qoigyijabu Baisangbu.

Thanks to instructions from sutra tutors and his own diligence since his confirmation, enthronement and being initiated into monkhood, the 11th Panchen Lama has mastered the basic sutras and acquired a wealth of knowledge in other fields. He has become a religious leader who enjoys the profound love, esteem and belief of Tibetan Buddhist worshippers and believers.

The 22-year-old Panchen Lama, one of the two most senior living Buddhas in Tibetan Buddhism, is also vice president of the Buddhist Association of China.