Interfaith Dialogue – Respect and Tolerance
【人間社記者 Wang Hung-Yui Da Shu報導】 2017-11-24
  • 圖說:Father William (the 4th person from right) and his group during the visit to Women's Buddhist College had a friendly interaction with Ven. Jue Xuan (the 4th person from left), Deputy Chancellor of Fo Guang Shan Tsung Lin University. 人間社記者Wang Hong-Yue攝

  • 圖說:Father William, Secretary General of Monastic Interreligious Dialogue, with his accompanists, visited Ven. Hui Chuan, Executive Deputy Abbot, and engaged in friendly dialogue of religious interaction. 人間社記者Wang Hong-Yue攝

  • 圖說:Father William's group visited Women's Buddhist College of Tsung Lin University. A student from the college introduced: "Venerable Master Hsing Yun’s Collections". 人間社記者Wang Hong-Yue攝

  • 圖說:Father William's group visited Great Compassion Shrine. Upon seeing the first shrine of Fo Guang Shan Monastery, they were greatly moved and sang in Latin, "Salve Regina," as an offering. 人間社記者Wang Hong-Yue攝

Rev. Father Williams Skudlarek, OSB, Secretary General of Monastic Interreligious Dialogue (MID), Consultor of the PCID (The Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue), visited Fo Guang Shan on November 17, with the accompaniment of three nuns – Sister Bernardo Ann, Sr. Hyo Ju Kim, and Sr. Scholastica. The visitors engaged in a friendly dialogue of interfaith interaction with Ven. Hui Chuan, the Executive Deputy Abbot of Fo Guang Shan Monastery.

Ven. Hui Chuan stated: "Fo Guang Shan always held an attitude of respect and tolerance to other religions by using the example of a very good relationship between the late Paul Cardinal Shan Kuo-hsi S.J. and Venerable Master Hsing Yun that lasted for forty to fifty years. After the discovery of lung-cancer during a physical examination, Cardinal Shan showed no fear of life and death, and decided to use his remaining lifetime to tour Taiwan, giving more than fifty speeches on Farewell to the Journey of Life, with over fifty thousand attendees. The speeches were later assembled into a book titled, Farewell to the Journey of Life."

During the book launch, Venerable Master Hsing Yun had been invited and delivered a speech: "While Cardinal Shan was from Henan Province that nurtured the lively water of the Yellow River that enabled the growth of Cardinal Shan, I was from Jiangsu Province and was nurtured by the water of Yangtze River. Both of us are now old men of over eighty years and have different religious views, but we have a very clear view on life and death. Therefore, I wish to support Cardinal Shan on the deal that you vow to be a Cardinal again in the next life, and I vow to be a monk again in my next life. Regardless of being a Cardinal or a monk, we will strive to serve the human world in every cycle of life."

Ven. Hui Chuan mentioned an occasion: "Once during a Chinese New Year Eve, Cardinal Shan came to Fo Guang Shan Monastery. Venerable Master Hsing Yun told him: 'I am going to pay a New Year visit to you tomorrow.' Cardinal Shan promptly replied: 'No! No! There will be no body to serve you tea since I will be alone there.'” Even though they had different religious views, they mutually respected each other. Venerable Master Hsing Yun once said: "This world needs various religions just like the many choices of departments in a school so that everyone can pick the most desirable one." Mount Beatitude is a friend of Fo Guang Shan, which enables many more people to realize the need for harmony in human relationship and mutual respect and tolerance."

Father William said: "MID, found at the Second Vatican Council, have played a significant role in initiating among Catholics and other religions, the activity of understanding, protecting, and advancing the beautiful and good subjects, and the values of spiritual cultures, moral civilization, and societal cultures.” Recently, the Sixth International Symposium on Interfaith Dialogue between Buddhists and Christians was held at Sacred Mountain Monastery of Ling Jiou Shan and attended by nearly one hundred Buddhists and Christians from 18 countries, including interfaith scholars and practitioners.

Father William expressed a wish: "In the future, the Catholic nuns can experience the Buddhist monastic life at the Women's Buddhist College of Fo Guang Shan, conduct dialogues between monastics, and discuss the difference in religions such as the reason for becoming a nun or a sangha and the driving force for them to maintain the current status." He explained: "This type of interaction is not only important between the monastics, but it would also allow others to observe the friendship between Catholics and Buddhists without opposing each other."

Ven. Hui Chuan replied: "A lot of conflicts in this world originate from religious differences." He shared a recent event in Brazil: "To celebrate the 300th anniversary of the Brazilian Blessed Virgin Mary, Fo Guang Shan Monastery and the Catholic Churches jointly conducted a religious fellowship event at Fo Guang Shan Zu Lai Temple. Upon arriving at Zu Lai Temple, the statue, Our Lady of Aparecida, was warmly greeted in grandeur and received the worship and respect of the crowd, along with Sakyamuni Buddha, the founder of Buddhism. It is hoped that the event can promote the respect and tolerance among religions."

Subsequently, Father William's group moved to the Great Compassion Shrine. The guests were so touched by seeing the first shrine of Fo Guang Shan Monastery that they sang in Latin, "Salve Regina," as an offering. They also visited the Women's Buddhist College of Fo Guang Shan Tsung Lin University and interacted with Ven. Jue Xuan, the Deputy Chancellor of the university. At noon, the guests personally experienced the unique culture of Buddhist meal session.

(Translated by Hungwen Jen)