Forum a new start for Chinese Buddhism
by Alvin Wong, Singapore, The Buddhist Channel, April 17, 2006
I wish to congratulate China to host the first event on Buddhism where Buddhist faith was introduced more than 2000 years ago in this nation. Being a frequent business traveller to China for the past five years, one has to acknowledge that the transformation and changes in China over the past ten years are tremendous.
The changes in economic progress has the very great impact on the society at large. Now if you are in China, there are more capitalist than communist. Appointments with officers and mayors are focus mainly on business development and investment related issues. There are very little interest on the topic related on war, conquering or social revolution. In general, the new Chinese are more concern on how to upgrade their quality of life, getting more business deals, business expansion and new ventures or job opportunities.
Those incidents are the past and even the common Han Chinese are suffering from Cultural Revolution. But deep inside every Chinese, a spiritual quest is needed to fill the spiritual vacuum. Buddhism is deeply rooted in China and is part of the Chinese culture and civilisation.
From my intuition, Chinese Buddhism will be a major drive in the very near future. Morever, with the advance in technology and wealth, Chinese Buddhism that blend with modern technology and focus on social engagement will emerge as major force in this nation and with the support of the local government.
This forum is just a starting point for the Chinese government to promote Buddhism, and I believe that Buddhist missionaries from China will emerge very soon to spread the teachings to all over the world.
So, most Chinese Buddhists will not want to debate who is the true Panchen Lama or Karmapa as majority of the Chinese are Pure Land, Zen and Tendai sects. This will leave it to the Tibetans to decide in general, as ninety percent of the Chinese are Hans that have their own distinctive Buddhist traditions.
So, I have a very optimistic opinion on this World Buddhist forum organised in China as a turning point for Buddhism in modern China despite accusations by some reporters that China government is not so sincere but more for political camourflage.