2018國際和平大會‧淨空老法師閉幕演講|為多元文化、多元宗教和諧共處「接棒」

為多元文化、多元宗教和諧共處「接棒」——二O一八年聯合國教科文組織國際和平大會閉幕演講
Passing on the Torch to Perpetuate Multicultural and Inter-faith Harmony--2018 UNESCO International Peace Conference Closing Remarks

尊敬的諸位大使閣下、諸位嘉賓、女士們、先生們:大家好!

  為期三天的教科文組織國際和平大會已接近尾聲。這次大會邀請了教科文組織的領導與大使們、各方的專家學者們集思廣益,發表了跨宗教對話促進和平的實踐成果,倫理、道德、因果教育對社會和諧的貢獻,跨文化與跨宗教互相理解、共存共榮的重要性等重要談話。議程中還舉辦了世界各族萬姓先祖祭祀大典,讓我們緬懷祖先,不忘根本。在此,我謹代表聯合國教科文組織「淨空之友社」,向諸位和平使者的無私付出,表達由衷的感謝和崇高的敬意!

  正如接力賽跑一樣,每個人、每個團體都有屬於自己的一段路程要跑。如果大家都能夠奉獻自己的力量,完成自己的歷史使命,就能使多元文化、多元宗教和諧共處更臻完善,世界和平也由此產生。

聯合國教科文組織淨空之友社

  從二OO一年起,我們在澳洲圖文巴市致力於宗教團結與族群團結,做出了一些成果。去年三月,我們邀請教科文組織九位大使參觀圖文巴,大家看了很歡喜。回到教科文組織之後,大使們為我申請了一個辦公室,名為「淨空之友社」,並於去年九月正式成立。「淨空之友社」的使命,在於推動宗教團結、宗教回歸教育、宗教互相學習,促進多元文化、多元宗教和諧共處。我們相信,這些工作有助於教科文組織完成其促進世界和平的使命。

  今年五、六月間,我分別與二十幾位大使見面交流,大家就如何解決多元族群、多元宗教之間的矛盾衝突,真誠的交換了意見。我們都感到,一切鬥爭產生的根源就是無知,而智慧正是化解這些危機的解決方法。如何才能產生智慧?必須靠宗教教育。

學習各宗教聖典

  世界上各大宗教的創始人,都是明心見性的社會教育家;明心見性就是明瞭宇宙人生的真相。宗教創始人把真理講述出來,記錄在經典裡。他們所教導的都是愛的教育,是倫理、道德、因果、聖賢智慧的教育。學習這些經典、落實這些經典,我們就會充滿智慧,遠離無知。

  有鑑於學習落實各宗教經典至關重要,我們從世界十一大宗教聖典中擷取精華經句,編成一本小冊子:《神愛世人》(God Loves All Beings)。希望讀者們認識到,眾神都擁有一體不二的大愛,世界宗教是一家。今年六月至七月間,我在淨空之友社的攝影棚內,與大家分享了十四集學習《神愛世人》的心得。神聖的愛是我們學習的基礎與核心;丟棄基礎,宗教團結的意義就失掉了。所以《神愛世人》這本小冊子,可以幫助我們契入大愛的和諧境界。

  《宗教經典三六O》(Scripture 360)是澳洲、新加坡與香港宗教代表們整理出來的一部叢書,從宗教經典選出精華三百六十小段,方便學習者入門。

  我們要把神聖的宗教教育找回來,認真學習;先學習自己的宗教,然後再學習其他宗教,求同存異。終極的目標,希望世界永遠不再有衝突、不再有對立、不再有誤會,希望這個地球上真正的和平能夠實現。

和諧博士,培養後進

  威爾士大學休斯校長也了解宗教教育的重要性,提出了「和諧博士班」的方案,要為各宗教培養傳教師。初期目標是招收二十五位學生,不僅深入自己的宗教經典,也學習其他宗教的經典;三年畢業,拿到博士學位。我們希望這個博士班完成之後,能夠擴展為「宗教教育學院」,也招收本科生與碩士生;若干年後,進一步發展為「世界宗教大學」,每個宗教設立一個學院,培養各宗教的傳教師。將來這些不同宗教的傳教師都是同學,不僅彼此和睦相處,也教導信徒們與其他宗教徒和睦相處。

  有了這些後繼的接班人,我們的心就安了。希望各宗教都能回歸教育,世世代代把宗教教育發揚光大。東方復興儒釋道教育,西方復興宗教教育,那麼,一切衝突都能夠化解。人學宗教愛的教育,決定不會跟人發生衝突,別人惡意對我,我以善意回報。我們深信人是可以教得好的,通過宗教教育,能將惡人感化成善人,暴戾的人感化成和諧的人。

常相集會、和諧共榮

  地球的和諧關乎每個人的幸福;創造和諧,每個人責無旁貸。二千五百多年前,佛陀在南傳《大涅槃經》中就告訴了我們世間興盛與衰微的方法。當時阿闍世王想要征伐越祗人,他先派遣宰相瓦沙卡羅去向佛說明這一情況,佛聽完宰相的話,就向弟子阿難詢問:「你是否聽聞越祗人常相集會?」阿難回答是的。佛說如果是這樣,越祗人只會興盛,不會衰微。接著,佛又詢問了六樁事情:越祗人是否和諧的集會與散會,和諧的完成各人的任務?是否凡有所作為,皆依照古人所傳的制度,不擅自增減?越祗人是否恭敬尊奉其年長者,並接受其忠告?最後佛說,如果這七樁事情都還在履行,那麼越祗人就只會興盛,不會衰微。

  根據佛經的這個典故,我們可以對當前世局有所判斷。大使們在會談中告訴我,有些地區反對不同宗教之間的對話交流,而另有一些地區,雖然開放了多元文化宗教對話,但是他們的目的卻是通過對話,發現不同宗教之間的矛盾,從而迫使對話終止,這是很令人遺憾的事!正如這次大會中大使與專家們分享的,跨宗教對話確實能夠解決矛盾與衝突,促進社會和諧。這也符合佛所說的「常相集會」「和諧的集會與散會,和諧的完成各人的任務」。

  關於「有所作為,皆依照古人所傳的制度,不擅自增減」,宗教教育正是宗教創始人留下來的最好的制度。我們應該認真學習各宗教愛的教育,倫理、道德、因果與聖賢智慧的教育,在日常生活中落實,就能夠達到文化之間、宗教之間的和諧共處。從這次大會我們和平使者的分享當中,也能肯定這一點。

  關於「恭敬尊奉其年長者並接受其忠告」,本次國際和平大會邀請教科文組織的領導與大使們、學者專家們來演講,分享他們的理念與經驗,正是落實了這項原則。

  佛所教導的「常相集會」等七項原則,跟我們日常用的「四攝法」原理相同。運用四攝法,我們團結了新加坡九大宗教,也團結了澳洲圖文巴十幾個宗教,證明了宗教確實能夠團結,回歸宗教教育確實有助於社會和諧。

  各族群、各宗教的命運是緊密相連的,一損俱損、一榮俱榮。何不放寬心胸,互相包容,讓地球花園百花齊放、奼紫嫣紅!讓其他族群的文化、信仰,為自己族群的文化、信仰注入新動力、增添新生機!

結語

  實現世界和諧的進程也許曲折反覆、步履艱難,但我們要有堅定的信心和勇氣,把神聖的和諧事業,全力以赴傳承下去。開放包容帶來文明的進步,封閉對立只能摧毀人類家園。讓我們努力從自身做起,秉承平等對待、和睦相處、互相學習、互助合作的大局觀,拒絕自私自利、短視封閉、單邊對立、武裝暴力的狹隘觀,共同為多元文化、多元宗教和諧共處接棒,構建「你中有我、我中有你」的地球和諧花園,讓和平的火炬、神聖的光明世世代代傳遞下去。

  祝福大家身心安康、六時吉祥!祝福多元文化、多元宗教和諧共處、共享太平!祝福世界安定和平、永續大同!謝謝大家!

Passing on the Torch to Perpetuate Multicultural and Inter-faith Harmony

2018 UNESCO International Peace Conference Closing Remarks
Speaker: Venerable Master Chin Kung AM
Date: Sept. 19, 2018
Venue: UNESCO Headquarters, Paris

Honorable Ambassadors, Distinguished Guests, Ladies and Gentlemen:

My warmest greetings to you all!

The three-day UNESCO International Peace Conference is coming to an end. In this conference, UNESCO’s leaders and ambassadors, various experts and scholars have come together to share their views. They have delivered important talks on the topics of how inter-faith dialogue can foster peace; the contribution of education in morality, ethics and causality to social harmony; and the importance of inter-cultural and inter-faith mutual understanding for co-existence in prosperity and harmony. We have also held a global Ancestral Remembrance Ceremony during the conference to honor our ancestors and to remember our roots. I hereby would like to extend my heartfelt gratitude and tribute to the peacemakers’ selfless contribution to make this conference a success.

In a relay race, each member or team has a designated distance to complete. Similarly, if each of us can do our part to fulfil our designated mission to advance the cause of multicultural and inter-faith harmony, a path to world peace will thus be created.

The Association of Master Chin Kung’s Friends at UNESCO

Since 2001, we have been working hard to foster inter-faith and multi-ethnicity cohesion in Toowoomba, Australia. Our efforts have produced some concrete results. In March last year, we invited nine UNESCO ambassadors to visit Toowoomba. They were very impressed by what they saw. Upon return to the UNESCO headquarters, an office was set up for me called The Association of Master’s Chin Kung’s Friends. This Association was formally established in last September with a mission to foster religious cohesion; to restore religion as an education; to promote inter-faith learning; and to foster multicultural and inter-faith co-existence in harmony. We believe our work will facilitate the fulfilling of UNESCO’s mission for peace.

Between May and June this year, I had open and frank discussions with over twenty UNESCO ambassadors on how to resolve conflict among different ethnicities and among different faiths. We all felt that the root cause of all conflict is ignorance and we need to use wisdom to resolve conflict. How do we attain wisdom? It must be through religious education.

Learning from the Sacred Texts of All Faiths

The founders of all the world’s faiths were enlightened social educators. Enlightenment is seeing the true self-nature and understanding the truth of the universe and life thoroughly. These religious founders expounded the truth to people and their teachings were recorded in the sacred texts. Their teachings were all about education in morality, ethics, causality and sacred wisdom. Learning and practicing the teachings of these sacred texts will fill our lives with wisdom, and alleviate ignorance.

In view of the vital importance of studying and learning from the sacred texts of all faiths, we have selected core excerpts from the scriptures of eleven of the world’s religions to compile a booklet: God Loves All Beings. We hope that by reading this booklet it will become clear that all religions share the universal love of the One God and all religions are one family. In June and July this year, I did fourteen episodes of videos in the studio of the Association of Master Chin Kung’s Friends to share my learning experience of God Loves All Beings. The divine love is the core foundation of our learning. Abandoning this foundation will lose the real meaning of religious cohesion and unity. Thus, learning from God Loves All Beings will help immerse ourselves in a state of universal love and harmony.

Scriptures 360 is a set of books compiled by a group of religious representatives from Australia, Singapore and Hong Kong. It contains a selection of 360 excerpts encapsulating the most essential teachings of the sacred texts from each of the major religions to facilitate readers to embark on this learning journey.

We must seek to revive religious education and study the sacred scriptures earnestly. One should first study the sacred scriptures of one’s own religion, then, learn from other religions’ scriptures to find commonalities and set aside differences. The ultimate goal is to eliminate conflict, confrontation and misunderstanding so that world peace can truly be realized on Earth.

Harmony PhD Program: Nurturing the Younger Generation

Professor Medwin Hughes, Vice Chancellor of the University of Wales, has recognized the importance of religious education and initiated a new “Harmony PhD Program” to nurture teachers of sacred scriptures for different religions. The first group consists of twenty-five PhD students. Not only will they delve deeply in their own religious scriptures, but they will also study other religions’ texts. They will obtain a doctoral degree in three years. We hope that with a sufficient number of qualified religious teachers developed by this doctorate program, we will establish a “College of Religious Education” which will offer bachelor’s and master’s programs. Over time, we will further expand it to a “World Religious University” where each religion will have its own religious college to develop teachers of sacred scriptures. In the future, the missionaries of different religions will become fellow alumni. Not only will they maintain a harmonious relationship, but they will also teach their followers to do likewise with people of different faiths.

Knowing there are successors in place will give us peace of mind. We hope every religion can return to focusing on education to hand down and propagate religious education from generation to generation. Reviving the education in Confucianism, Buddhism and Taoism in the East and religious education in the West will enable us to resolve all conflict. When everyone is taught how to love others through religious education, conflict will not arise. So when people harbor hostility against us, we will respond with goodwill. We deeply believe that people can be taught to be good. Religious education can transform a person from bad to good; and from violent to harmonious.

Frequent Gatherings: Living Together in Harmony and Prosperity

Harmony in the world affects everyone’s welfare. It is everyone’s inescapable duty to create harmony. About 2,500 years ago, the Buddha told us the conditions leading to a world’s welfare or decline in the Nirvana Sutra (Maha-parinibbana Sutta) of Southern Buddhism. At that time, Ajatasattu, the king of Magadha wanted to wage war against the Vajjis. Before starting a war, he dispatched his chief minister Vassakara to inform the Buddha of the situation. After listening to what Vassakara had to say, the Buddha then asked his disciple Ananda, “What have you heard, Ananda: do the Vajjis have frequent gatherings?” Ananda replied yes. The Buddha said if this was the case, the growth of the Vajjis was to be expected, not their decline. The Buddha then asked about the conditions of six other matters concerning the Vajjis: “Do they assemble and disperse peacefully and attend to their affairs in accord? Do they neither enact new decrees nor abolish existing ones, but proceed in accordance with their ancient constitutions? Do the Vajjis show respect, honor, esteem and veneration towards their elders and think it worthwhile to listen to them?” … Finally, the Buddha said if the Vajjis fulfilled the seven conditions leading to welfare, their growth was to be expected, not their decline.

Using this Buddhist parable as a reference, we can make an assessment on today’s world situation. In one of the conversations I had with UNESCO ambassadors, I was told that in some places people oppose any inter-faith dialogue. And in other places, while they are open to having inter-faith dialogue, their real purpose is to pinpoint the contradictions between different religions so as to bring the dialogue to an early end. This is immensely regrettable. It is a view shared by many ambassadors and experts in this conference that inter-faith dialogue can indeed resolve conflict and will bring about social harmony. This corresponds with what the Buddha advocated: “To have frequent gatherings”; “To assemble and disperse peacefully and attend to our affairs in concord”.

Regarding the condition that “neither enact new decrees nor abolish existing ones, but proceed in accordance with the ancient constitutions”, religious education is the best system handed down by the founders of faiths. We should learn earnestly from the teachings in religious education in love, morality, ethics, causality and sacred wisdom and practice what we learn in our daily lives, which in turn will lead to the harmonious co-existence of different cultures and different faiths. This viewpoint has been affirmed by many of the peacemakers participating in this conference.

Regarding the condition that “showing respect, honor, esteem, and veneration towards the elders and think it worthwhile to listen to them”, we have fulfilled this condition by inviting UNESCO’s leaders, ambassadors and experts to this Conference to give us talks to share their ideal and experience.

The Buddha taught us “to have frequent gatherings” as one of the seven conditions leading to welfare. This bears a similar principle as the “Four All-embracing Methods” practiced by us daily. By adopting these four methods, we have fostered cohesion among the nine religions in Singapore and among over ten religions in Toowoomba, Australia. Our success serves as evidence that religious harmony can indeed be achieved and restoring religious education can indeed facilitate social harmony.

The fate of each ethnic group and each religion is closely interconnected and inseparable: damage in one part hurts all; and thriving in one part benefits all. Why don’t we broaden our mind-set and become more inclusive as in letting hundreds of flowers bloom in multi colors on planet Earth? Let’s embrace the cultures and beliefs of different ethnicities to make our own culture and faith more reinvigorated and lively.

Conclusion

The path to realize world harmony may be long and winding. But we need to have unwavering faith and courage to overcome challenges and obstacles, and make all-out efforts to pass down this sacred mission to future generations. Openness and inclusiveness will bring progress to civilization. Narrow-mindedness and rivalry will bring ruin to our home planet. Let’s begin with ourselves to uphold the universal values of equality, co-existence in harmony, mutual learning and co-operation, and say no to selfish benefit, short-sightedness, bigotry, unilateralism, hostility and militarism. Let’s pass on the torch to perpetuate multicultural and inter-faith harmony and make our world a better place where we are all unified as one, living together in harmony. Let the sacred torch of peace illuminate brightly from generation to generation.

I wish everyone health, happiness and auspiciousness! May different cultures and different faiths co-exist in peace and harmony! May the world be blessed with peace, stability and universal harmony! Thank you.

Posted 6 months ago in OTHER