The Second International Conference on Contemporary Chinese Buddhism and Thought of Master Sheng Yen was a Success

Venerable Master Sheng Yen endeavors to close the gap between Buddhism and society, in the hope of introducing more people to realize a Pure Land on Earth.

The Sheng Yen Education Foundation convened "The Second International Conference on Contemporary Chinese Buddhism and Thought of Master Sheng Yen" on 24th and 25th May 2008, at the International Conference Hall, National University of Taiwan.

The conference, themed "Thought of Sheng Yen & Chinese Buddhism", welcomed the attendance of some 45 scholars from regions such as the United States of America , Europe and Taiwan. Dissertations were presented by twelve of these eminent scholars.

Dharma Drum Mountain Founder Venerable Master Sheng Yen attended the closing ceremony on the 25th. In his address, he thanked participating scholars for their accolade and research on the theme of the conference.

Venerable Master Sheng Yen remonstrated that the research on thought of Sheng Yen is not for his own benefit but to enable the propagation of Buddhism. Research conducted by generations of talents is necessary in ascertaining the benefits of the Dharma, so as to ensure the upkeep and continuation of the Buddhist tradition and make Pure Land on Earth a reality.

The two-day event attracted over 400 participants, which included notaries such as Chairman Mr. Jian Chang Shi of the Sheng Yen Foundation, Principal Venerable Hui Min & Vice-Principal Mr. Jeng Min Du of Dharma Drum Buddhist College, Director Mr. Chih Fu Lee of Chang Hwa Buddhist Institute and Chancellor Mr. Ji Chun Tseng of Dharma Drum Mountain Community University.

Following Chairman Shi's opening address on 24th May, Columbia University Professor Jun Fang Yu gave a speech on "Venerable Master Sheng Yen & Contemporary Chinese Buddhism."

Professor Yu highlighted that the Venerable Master’s ideology has made a great impact on the development of contemporary Chinese Buddhism and that the modernization of Chinese Buddhism has gained added impetus due to the Venerable Master’s use of current everyday language in the assimilation of Buddhism into modern societies, alongside his continuing concerns for precept reformation, social sustainability and related issues.

A total of 5 forums were held over the two-day conference with up to twelve seminar topics discussed , including "Venerable Master Sheng Yen’s Study on Buddhism of the late Ming Dynasty," "Practical Application & Propagation of the Pure Land on Earth Ideology," "Preliminary Exploration of the Application of Venerable Master Sheng Yen’s Chan Meditation Ideology in Dharma Therapy," and "Venerable Master Sheng Yen's Contemporary Interpretation of the Lotus Sutra." Research papers covered explored diverse topics such as Chan meditation, Dharma propagation, philosophy , psychotherapy and gender studies of the Venerable Master.

At the closing ceremony, the Venerable Master remarked that he did not simply want to study Buddhism in its own sake, since transforming Buddhism into abstruse books on the shelves of libraries has little impact on human societies.

The Venerable Master set the focus of Buddhist studies orientating towards "Traditional Buddhism & Modern Society" so that the integration of traditional Buddhism and modern society becomes a reality, allowing more people to understand Buddhism and exercise its wisdom and philosophy.

Finally, the Venerable Master reiterated that research on Sheng Yen ideology is not to benefit the Master himself , but to assist in the propagation of Buddhism amongst mankind.

Due to generations of research prodigies who passed on the Buddhist tradition and as a result maintained continuity in exploring the ways in which Buddhism benefits all beings, more people are willing to actively partake in Buddhism, therefore giving rise to an imminent reality of the ideal of a Pure Land on Earth.

(translated by Susan Chen/edited by DDM Australia Editing Team)

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