Asian Union and Interreligious Dialogue

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On December 2d, the Ricci Institute organized a roundtable on “Asian Union and Interreligious  Dialogue" at Tien Educational Center, Taipei. Moderated by Dr Chen Tsung-ming, executive director of the institute, the roundtable gathered representatives from different religions. What are the prospects for unity and cooperation among Asian nations? And will cohesiveness among Asian peoples be strengthened through religious dialogue, or will religious divisions further nurture conflicts throughout Asia? These were the questions introducing the roundtable.
Mr. Ni Guo-an, president of the Board of the Association of Chinese Islam, stressed the value of friendship in Islamic tradition, pleading for a dialogue form the heart, and distinguishing social and cultural tensions from purely religious ones.
Pastor Lu Jun-yi, Taiwanese Presbyterian pastor of the Dong-men Church, emphasized the importance of grassroots and localization work, giving example of the way the Presbyterian church in Taiwan committed itself to a mission of truth and justice.
While recognizing that Buddhism is a Pan-Asian religion, Prof. Li Zhi-fu, Emeritus director of the Chung-Hwa Institute of Buddhist Studies of Fa-gu shan, also described the diversity of Asian Buddhism, making it difficult to transform it into an unifying force throughout the continent. He also stressed that fact that Buddhism is a religion, while not being merely or first a religion.
Benoit Vermander, editor of Renlai, insisted on the work of self-examination conducted by Catholicism in the fifties and sixties, seeing in the this opening the roots of European unity. Likewise, he said, capacity for self-examination and trespassing of boundaries pursued by Asian religions could be a driving force for fostering a new style of communication within the continent.
Prof. Tan Yao-zong, Director of the Department of Multicultural and Linguistic Studies of the College of Global Research and Development at Tamkang University, gave a personal testimony on the way his identity, be it cultural or spiritual, had been shaped by the encounter with various religions and a search for inner sincerity going beyond dogmatic definitions of truths to be believed.
The debate that followed the presentations was rich and sometimes heated. Taiwan was a case in point both of the riches brought by inter-religious cooperation and of the difficulties to translate these riches into political and social assets. However, everyone was agreeing that cultural interaction was a way to transform Asia’s future through confidence-building and cross-fertilization. The future of Asia cannot be based solely on economic premises. Especially, taking ecological and spiritual dimensions as a basis for transnational cooperation will help Asia to creatively tackle global challenges.

On December 2nd, 2007 the Ricci Institute organized a roundtable on “Asian Union and Interreligious Dialogue" at Tien Educational Center, Taipei. Moderated by Dr Chen Tsung-ming, executive director of the institute, the roundtable gathered representatives from different religions. What are the prospects for unity and cooperation among Asian nations? And will cohesiveness among Asian peoples be strengthened through religious dialogue, or will religious divisions further nurture conflicts throughout Asia? These were the questions introducing the roundtable.

Mr. Ni Guo-an, president of the Board of the Association of Chinese Islam, stressed the value of friendship in Islamic tradition, pleading for a dialogue form the heart, and distinguishing social and cultural tensions from purely religious ones.

Pastor Lu Jun-yi, Taiwanese Presbyterian pastor of the Dong-men Church, emphasized the importance of grassroots and localization work, giving example of the way the Presbyterian church in Taiwan committed itself to a mission of truth and justice.

While recognizing that Buddhism is a Pan-Asian religion, Prof. Li Zhi-fu, Emeritus director of the Chung-Hwa Institute of Buddhist Studies of Fa-gu shan, also described the diversity of Asian Buddhism, making it difficult to transform it into an unifying force throughout the continent. He also stressed that fact that Buddhism is a religion, while not being merely or first a religion.

Benoit Vermander, director of the Taipei Ricci Institute, insisted on the work of self-examination conducted by Catholicism in the fifties and sixties, seeing in the this opening the roots of European unity. Likewise, he said, capacity for self-examination and trespassing of boundaries pursued by Asian religions could be a driving force for fostering a new style of communication within the continent.

Prof. Tan Yao-zong, Director of the Department of Multicultural and Linguistic Studies of the College of Global Research and Development at Tamkang University, gave a personal testimony on the way his identity, be it cultural or spiritual, had been shaped by the encounter with various religions and a search for inner sincerity going beyond dogmatic definitions of truths to be believed.

The debate that followed the presentations was rich and sometimes heated. Taiwan was a case in point both of the riches brought by inter-religious cooperation and of the difficulties to translate these riches into political and social assets. However, everyone was agreeing that cultural interaction was a way to transform Asia’s future through confidence-building and cross-fertilization. The future of Asia cannot be based solely on economic premises. Especially, taking ecological and spiritual dimensions as a basis for transnational cooperation will help Asia to creatively tackle global challenges.

 

Last modified on Wednesday, 08 January 2014 17:33
Cerise Phiv (張俐紫)

Former Managing Editor of eRenlai.com

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