HANGZHOU, April 13 "I'm not able to attend the Forum, but I can stay close to it to pray for a harmonious China and peaceful world," said Doje Cerang, a Tibentan lama from Sichuan Province.
Like many ordinary Chinese Buddhists who do not have the chance to attend the grand Buddhist gathering in the history of Buddhism, the Tibetan lama has stayed in a local hotel in this scenic city to welcome the First World Buddhist Forum.
Cerang Lama is an abbot at a west Sichuan lamasery, which support 300 lamas and 50 orphans. "All of them welcome the Forum and hope it would contribute to the building of a harmonious country where people of all ethnic groups can live peacefully and happily," he said.
"Buddhism tells us to do good things and help each other," said Ms. Luo Lin, a Buddhist believer in Beijing, "So the Forum will us together to be more helpful for the society."
Zhejiang, where the Forum is being held, is Luo's home province. Her grandfather is a well-known scholar and historian whose academic work has brought great reputation to the province.
"I'm a volunteer from university," said Xiao Chen, from a local college, "It makes me happy to do something for this meeting." All her family members are Buddhists.
Zhejiang is one of the Chinese provinces where Buddhism has made a remarkable come-back, thanks to the government policy of freedom of religion.
"Most of my colleagues are Buddhists," said a local charity NGO, who declined to name herself. A true Buddhist will never cheating and do bad things, she told this reporter, proudly.
"I learned about the Forum from TV, and it is really good for Buddhists from all over the world to get together in a country where Buddhism came from abroad and integrated with local culture in a such a magnificent way," said Roger Young, an overseas Chinese tourist.
According to official estimates, China has over 100 million Buddhists, who form the largest religious group in the country.