The Institute of Oriental Philosophy
Second Lotus Sutra Exhibition Opens in Hong KongOn May 3, 2015, the opening ceremony of “The Lotus Sutra--A Message of Peace and Harmonious Coexistence” exhibition was held at the SGI Hong Kong Culture Center. Hong Kong is the place where the exhibition was initiated in November 2006. To date, it has shown in 12 countries and attracted more than 400,000 viewers.
Compared to the first exhibition, the second one has improved both in quality and quantity, in parallel with the research conducted by the Institute of Oriental Philosophy (IOP). At the venue, panels introducing the history of the transmission of Buddhism are set in six different areas, and more than 80 exhibits related to Buddhism are on display. The Facsimile Edition of the Sanskrit Lotus Sutra Manuscripts from the Institute of Oriental Manuscripts of the Russian Academy of Sciences and a panel of Dung Hung Wall paintings, an archive of Buddhist art, are also open to public inspection.
The exhibition also features renowned contemporary sinologist Professor Jao Tsung-I’s calligraphies including,「如蓮華在水」Nyo Renge Zaisui [Like a lotus flower floating on the water]. In his speech, he expressed his high hopes for the Lotus Sutra Exhibition and said, “Those manuscripts are the results of the efforts of many nameless champions. They are not only archeological materials, but also the crystallization of the wisdom, faith and hope of numerous individuals. I feel the great vitality of human beings from each and every character on the manuscripts.” He continued, “I hope the message of peace and co-existence will continue to spread and that many more people will come to understand the wisdom of the Buddha.”
At the Opening ceremony, the delegates including, Professor Jao Tsung-I, Mr. Lee Chack Fan, Director of Jao Tsung-I Petite Ecole at the University of Hong Kong, Dr. Yoichi Kawada, Director of the IOP, and SGI-HK General Director John Ng Chor Yuk, all participated in the ribbon-cutting.
Mr. Lee Chack Fan said, “The Lotus Sutra spread over thousands of kilometers and saved ordinary people through the teachings of Buddha. The message of peace and coexistence in the Lotus Sutra is invaluable to relationships among people and nations. The exhibition introduces the history of Buddhism which shows the evidence of religious and cultural exchanges in each region, and many more valuable research results. I would like to express my wholehearted appreciation for the organizers of the exhibition.”
On the same day, IOP Director, Dr. Kawada delivered a lecture on “Soka Gakkai International and the Lotus Sutra,” and IOP research fellow, Dr. Matsumori, gave a presentation on “The Acceptance of the Lotus Sutra in China―Faith in the Lotus Sutra in Tang Dynasty.”
The May 4 issue of Ta Kung Pao, a major Chinese language newspaper in Hong Kong, covered the overview of the opening ceremony. The exhibition attracted 16,000 visitors in total.
Delegates who visited the exhibitions left the following comments:
Ms. Lee Mei-yin (Special Researcher at Dunhuang Academy)
The display of Kumarajiva’s translation of the Lotus sutra was invaluable. Various manuscripts, drawings, texts and pictures of a scripture were also shown at the exhibition. My horizons were broadened when I also saw various written characters from different ethnic groups, evidence that Buddhism had fused with many ethnic groups and cultures. It was rare to see an exhibition featuring one single sutra. I was able to learn about the history, process of translation, and the artifacts of the Lotus Sutra, which allowed me to better understand the Lotus Sutra.
Prof. Wei Lixin (Professor, Guangdong University of Foreign Studies)
The Lotus Sutra Exhibition was very significant. The reason I say this is due to my wish to convey the spirit of Buddhism and the Lotus Sutra to many people. I think the purpose of this exhibition is also to spread the thought and spirit of the Lotus Sutra to many of our fellow citizens. From this standpoint, I strongly feel the significance of this exhibition.