In mid and late August, 2004, Master Weijue, the Abbot of Chung Tai Chan Monastery and Master Hsingyun, the founder of Fo Guang Shan Temple of Taiwan visited Chinese Mainland. Master Yicheng and Master Shenghui, chairman and vice-chairman of the Buddhist Association of China and Mr. Ye Xiaowen and Mr.Qi Xiaofei, chairman and vice-chairman of the Chinese Association of Religious Cultural Exchange proposed that the Buddhist community across the Taiwan Straits should rally together and cooperate to develop Buddhist culture and make great contributions to the overall development of the world Buddhism undertaking as well as the peace and happiness of the human being in the meeting with the two guests. Both the hosts and the guests felt that it is the right time to prepare a World Buddhist Forum in Chinese Mainland.
In late August 2004, Mr. Ye Xiaowen, chairman of the Chinese Association of Religious Cultural Exchange, held a tea party with the venerable, most virtuous, scholars and high-profile figures from the press circle in Hong Kong to discuss on the issues of the World Buddhist Forum. Mahathera, Master Jingxiong, Master Yankong of Hong Kong Buddhist community and Mr. Rao Zongyi, professor of Chinese University of Hong Kong and famous master of Chinese culture, upasaka Pan Zongguang, president of the HongKong Polytechnic University, lay disciple Yang Zhao, president of the Glorious Sun Holdings Ltd., Mr. Liu Changle, chairman of Phoenix TV, Mr. Wang Guohua, president of Ta Kung Pao and Mr. Zhang Gouliang, president of Wen Hui Po and Mr. Li Guoqiang, director of HongKong Culture Association attended the party. Mr. Ye Xiaowen delivered keynote speech on the origination, objective and ideal of the World Buddhist Forum. The participates were greatly encouraged and put forward many good suggestions.
At the beginning of October 2004, the Buddhist Association of China held a small seminar in Suzhou, Jiangsu Province. Master Shenghui, vice-chairman of the Buddhist Association of China, Mr. Ye Xiaowen and Mr. Qi Xiaofei, chairman and vice-chairman of the Chinese Association of Religious Cultural Exchange, Master Weijue, the Abbot of Chung Tai Chan Monastery and Master Hsingyun, the founder of Fo Guang Shan Temple of Taiwan, Master Jueguang, chairman of HongKong Buddhist Union took part in the seminar. The participants worked on the drafting of the proposal for the First World Buddhist Forum together.
In early October 2004, Master Shenghui and Master Xuecheng, vice-chairman, vice-chairman and secretary-general of the Buddhist Association of China respectively, headed a delegation to South Korea and Japan. They told the fellows in the two countries that Chinese Buddhist community is preparing the First World Buddhist Forum and seeking supports from the Buddhist communities of the two countries.
In late October, by taking the opportunity of hosting the 7thBuddhist Friendship Exchange Conference among China, South Korea and Japan in Beijing, eight Buddhist leaders from Hong Kong, Macao and across the Taiwan Straits proposed to hold a First World Buddhist Forum in China. The planned forum is targeted both at Buddha's fourfold of disciples as well as those spiritual friends who care for and respect Buddhism. The proposal gained a positive response and support from friends of the Buddhist community of South Korea and Japan and was included in the communiqué of the conference.
In late November 2004, Master Juexing, vice-chairman of the Buddhist Association of China and the Abbot of Shanghai Jade Buddha Temple led a Chinese delegation to attend the 2ndWorld Buddhist Summit held in Lumbini, Nepal - the birthplace of Sakyamuni. Master Juexing announced on the summit that Chinese Mainland is to hold the First World Buddhist Forum, representatives of over 20 countries expressed their warmly welcome and support.
From 26th September to 18th October. 2004, Master Yicheng and Master Shenghui, chairman and vice-chairman of the Buddhist Association of China led a delegation to Singapore to transmit the higher ordinations. Master Shenghui also visited Malaysia and Indonesia. After learning that China' Buddhist community has been preparing the First World Buddhist Forum, they all said they would give great supports.
The proposal for hosting the First World Buddhist Forum also receives the support from the Chinese government. Some provinces and cities claimed that they are willing to assist the Buddhist community to host this great event. On 15th April. 2005, the Seminar on selecting the Site for the First World Buddhist Forum was held in Beijing. Sanya of Hainan, Wuxi of Jiangsu, Xi'an of Shannxi and Zhoushan of Zhejiang all sent their representatives. After discussion and negotiation, "the idea one center and four sites" is adopted. One center refers to the General Office of the First World Buddhist Forum in Beijing and four sites refer to Sanya, Wuxi, Xi'an and Zhoushan. It is also decided at the seminar that Zhoushan, Zhejiang Province will host the First World Buddhist Forum after voting. In October, Hangzhou joined in to co-host the First World Buddhist Forum.
On 24th April. 2005, the Roundtable Conference of Buddhists from Hong Kong, Macao and across the Taiwan Straits was held in Sanya, Hainan Province. Over 200 venerable, most virtuous gathered in Sanya. A Sanya Consensus was released after the conference: to participate the "First World Buddhist Forum" held in Chinese Mainland and unanimously agree to make Sanya, Wuxi, Xi'an and Zhoushan to be sites of this forum. Four Sites of the forum are just like four wheels of a vehicle. Buddhists will assemble in the four sites from all over the world and will certainly generate all auspicious blessings.
On 17th May 2005, Ye Xiaowen, chairman of the Chinese Association of Religious Cultural Exchange and Master Yicheng, chairman of the Buddhist Association of China led a delegation to attend the UN Vesak Day International Buddhist Conference held in Bangkok, Thailand. The Chinese delegation announced the news that the World Buddhist Forum will be held in Chinese Mainland and extended a warmly invitation, which aroused the attention and an active response from the participants. Finally, the representative of 41 countries specified in "Conference Communique" that they actively support China to host the World Buddhist Forum in 2006.
From 27th May to 10th June, 2005, Master Shenghui, vice-chairman of the Buddhist Association of China visited Burma, Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam, conducted an extensive and in-depth exchange with the Buddhist societies of these four countries. Master Shenghui introduced the plan objective and ideal of the World Buddhist Forum, which is to be held in China, winning an active response from the Sangha Raja of Cambodia and Buddhist leaders of the other three countries. The religious affairs administration of these four countries also expressed their wishes to support and participate in the Forum actively.
From 19th to 24th June 2005, lama Jiamuyang Tubudan, vice-chairman of the Buddhist Association of China headed a delegation to attend the Northern Buddhism and Environmental Protection Conference held in Mongolia. The Chinese delegation sent an invitation to the representatives present at the conference once again.
Up till now, the Buddhist Association of China has dispatched a total of seven delegations to visit South Korea, Japan, Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, Nepal, Thailand, Burma, Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam and Mongolia. The delegations have done in-depth, elaborate and extensive propagation and mobilization for the hosting of the First World Buddhist Forum, which has won the supports and active response of dozens of countries.
In order to make the forum a colorful, innovative and down-to-earth event, the Buddhist Association of China hosted the Seminar of the Theme of the First World Buddhist Forum in Beijing on 23rd October 2005. Eighty Buddhist representatives and scholars from Chinese Mainland, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Macao and Singapore attended the conference. The participants aired their views and offered many good ideas for the forum. Finally, the theme of "A harmonious world begins in the mind" is adopted.