Abbot President Attends Interfaith Dialogue for Religious Leaders in Australia

The Abbot President of DDM, Venerable Guo Dong, was invited to attend the Interfaith Dialogue for religious leaders on September 7, 2013. The dialogue, which was hosted by the Manningham City Library in Melbourne coincided well with his recent visit to Australia. The conferees included H. E. Zimwock Rinpoche (Buddhist, Tibetan), Rev. Helen Summers (Interfaith Council), Ven. Phuoc Tan (Buddhist, Vietnamese), Ven. Chi Kwang (Buddhist, Korean), Fr. John Dupuche (Catholic), Murray Davies (Bahai), Fr. Peter Martin (Anglican), Jasbir Singh Suropada (Sikh), and Dhakta Dasm (Hindu). In addition, Ms Jennifer Yang, Mayor of Manningham City and Dr. Chin Tan, Chairman of the Victorian Multicultural Commission also attended the Interfaith Dialogue.

During the dialogue, Ven. Guo Dong shared on the vision and idea of the founder of DDM, the late Venerable Master Sheng Yen: how to build the values of global ethics? To build such values, it is necessary to replace confrontation with tolerance, violence with compassion, and resentment with cure. If deviation from the principle that all human beings ought to get along with each other peacefully is identified in old maxims and saint anthologies of various religions, it should be interpreted in the context of global ethics and how this affects human beings not on just a small scale but on a global basis.

Venerable Guo Dong also mentioned the late Venerable Master Sheng Yen had always advocated that when seeking or promoting understanding and cooperation among religions, it is necessary to take the position of seeking common ground while recognizing our differences. In addition, it is the late Venerable Master Sheng Yen’s view that the essence of every religion is to respect life and maintain peace. For example, Catholicism talks about universal love, Buddhism talks about compassion, Christianity talks about devotion, and so forth. The common values of every religion are mutual respect, mutual help, mutual love, and mutual forgiveness of human society, which are the universal values of every religion.

During the interfaith dialogue, the religious leaders also discussed the importance of education, and the necessity to promote through education, the concepts of patience and perseverance, respect for life, recognizing that every individual has the right to live, and learning to be tolerant of those who do not share the same views or beliefs. Therefore, under the goal of seeking common benefit for all human beings and promoting peace, we must acknowledge, recognize and tolerate the differences of the various religions. We must see the world like we are one big family where every member should respect each other and recognize that each member can be different and we can accept the differences.

At the end of the interfaith dialogue, Venerable Guo Dong said Australia is a great example of a truly global village that brings together various cultures, nations and ethnicities into a society with harmony, esteem, and friendliness. He made a strong plea to all religions to offer great care and compassion to the world, eliminate misunderstanding, discrimination, conflicts and massacres among different religions, races, and nations, save the ecological crisis of Earth, and ensure that the dignity of human life is preserved. He also hoped that everyone can mutually show respect, appreciation, and cooperation by seeking common ground whilst recognizing differences. . Finally, he appealed for all to turn every little successful deed into an even bigger success, be it material or spiritual deeds. We can spread peace and goodwill to the world, through the extension of inner peace from our hearts and minds to the external environment. This will in turn truly enrich the world in which we live.

(Translated by Tom Hsieh/Edited by DDM Australia Editing Team)

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