The Buddha instructs us to benefit ourselves as well as others and save all living beings from calamities. In its 2500-year history, Buddhism has spread from the East to the West, transcending both national boundaries and different races. Today, Buddhism is one of the three major religions in the world. We are all living in an age where the impact of globalization is sweeping across the world and where the forces of economic integration are bringing nations ever closer together. It is also a time that the world is undergoing incredible changes at a rapid pace. Against this background of a fast changing world, we strongly believe that we should seize the opportunity to ride along this tide of change and make greater contributions to the further establishment of Buddhism for the peace and happiness of the mankind.
The human being is now enjoying the fruits of unprecedented achievements in nature, science, technology and material wealth. These developments have in turn had a major impact on the way we live and the world around us, which have posed a big challenge to traditional beliefs and customs, moral values, life styles and customary way of life. Never in the history of human being have we enjoyed such a high level of material prosperity and yet mankind is beset with feelings of spiritual emptiness, moral degeneration and depression. The world is becoming a place with a widening gap between the rich and the poor, a degrading environment, an out-of-balance ecological system, and where terrorisms and wars are casting a threat. People's mind is not at ease, nor is the world a peaceful place. Facing these serious challenges, the need for mankind to have a healthy religious life and spiritual growth becomes even more important and urgent. As a religion devoted to benefiting all sentient beings, Buddhist community should take up the vital responsibility of purifying the human mind and guiding the society. Presently, Buddhist communities around the world exchange and cooperate beyond national boundaries and the concept of "World Buddhism" is now taking shape. China's Buddhist community is putting forward the proposal to host the Forum to get along with the tide.
In October 2004 when the 7thBuddhist Friendship Exchange Conference among China, South Korea and Japan was held in Beijing, a decision was made by the eight Buddhist leaders from Hong Kong and across the Taiwan Straits: to hold a World Buddhist Forum in China. The planned forum is targeted at Buddha's fourfold disciple of disciples as well as those spiritual friends who care for and respect Buddhism. The proposal gained the support of fellow Buddhists from South Korea and Japan, they are all willing to make the event a great success.
From October 2004 to November 2005, with the common propagation of the Buddhist communities of Hong Kong, Macao and across the Taiwan Straits, the proposal of hosting the World Buddhist Forum in Chinese Mainland has won universal support and an active response from Buddhist communities over 40 countries. The Chinese government also assured to support the Buddhist community to host the grand historic event.
The First World Buddhist Forum will be held from 13thto 16thApril 2006 in Hangzhou city and Zhoushan city, Zhejiang Province.
Buddhist communities of Hong Kong, Macao and across the Taiwan Straits are making concerted efforts to prepare the forum and welcome co-religionists from all over the world!