October 25, 2010

Notes from the 2010 World Buddhist Conference in Malaysia

Gary Gach, resident spirit of Tricycle's Haiku Corner, reports from the 2010 World Buddhist Conference in Kuala Lumpur, Malysia:

Following a dedicatory recitation of vows, several dozen of his monks and nuns, from [Thich Nhat Hanh's] root sangha in Plum Village, France, treated us to a massive, lilting, heartfelt choral chant to Avalokiteshvara, Bodhisattva of Compassion. Then, after a truly sterling introduction by Datuk Dr Victor Wee, Malaysian Tourism Chairman and President of Buddhist Gem Fellowship, Thây took to the platform. Thây began in his quiet voice by declaring the present moment as a happy moment. He smiled as he then recalled that when he was ordained at 16 as a novice monk, he was taught how to bow to the Buddha. He said: “One verse in classical Chinese which I had to memorize went: ‘The One who bows and the one who is bowed to, both of them are, by their nature, empty.’ That is why communication can be very deep.” After elaborating on this a bit, he went on to typify our century’s thinking as still dualistic: “We believe there is a consciousness inside, reaching out to understand the world outside.” From this mis-taken view, stems separation: discrimination, anger, hate, violence, and war - within ourselves and within the world. That is why we need to go in the direction of Right Thinking, which is the direction of understanding and compassion.

Read the whole thing here.

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