The Institute of Oriental Philosophy

On October 1, 2017, “The Lotus Sutra―A Message of Peace and Harmonious Coexistence” exhibition was launched at The Arts House (old Parliament) in Singapore. The exhibition was organized by The Institute of Oriental Philosophy (IOP), the Dunhuang Academy and Singapore Soka Association (SSA). Thanks to the first co-organization with the Dunhuang Academy, the exhibition became much richer in the content than before. Moreover, the continuous support of the International Academy of Indian Culture and the Institute of Oriental Manuscripts, Russian Academy of Sciences, made it possible to display over 150 items. Singapore is the 16th country to host this international exhibition.

At the opening ceremony, Mr. Baey Yam Keng, Parliamentary Secretary of Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth, Prof. Zhang Yuanlin, Chief Librarian and Director of Dunhuang Academy, and Mr. Zhao Xiurong, Research Assistant of the Academy, participated together with approximately 250 guests including representatives of SSA and Soka Gakkai Indonesia, other academics and leaders in politics, finance and education. At the ceremony, welcoming performance and greeting of the organizer were followed by the grand ribbon-cutting.

Singapore has multiplicity of ethnic groups including Chinese, Malays and Indian as well as religions including Buddhism, Islam, Christianity, Taoism and Hindu, thereby languages. According to its national characteristics, the exhibition was prepared with the bilingual panels in both English and Chinese as well as multilingual Buddhist scriptures.

The full effort of Dunhuang Academy made the section of replicated Dunhuang Mogao Caves more attractive. After the entrance of a nine-story building known as a symbol of the Caves, over the ceiling were the replicated murals depicting the teachings of the Lotus Sutra inside Cave 85. The vivid displays based on the rich resources transported many visitors back in time to the old period. On the extended cave walls after the Cave 85, were brightened panels of seven parables described in the Lotus Sutra. Additional paintings of ‘flying beings’ elegantly surrounded these panels.

Besides, a theater was set up to show how Kumarajiva, a Chinese translator of the Lotus Sutra lived his life and how sand arts contributed to depicting the seven parable of the Lotus Sutra. Cartoon panels and animation were also good tools for kids to learn the history of Buddhism. Many people stopped at the booth for sale of guidebook 'The Lotus Sutra ― A Message of Peace and Harmonious Coexistence' (published by Eternal Ganges Press). The exhibition was reported by major mass media including Lianhe Zaobao and The Straits Times, and as a result, it received a great response.

The following are comments shared by some of the guests:

Mr. Baey Yam Keng (Parliamentary Secretary of Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth)
May peace and harmonious existence last forever in multi-racial and multi-religious Singapore. May the message of this exhibition spread far in Singapore and the world.

Mr. Kwok Kian Chow (Director of Wee Kim Wee Center, Singapore Management University)
The Lotus Sutra exhibition indeed makes us feel real and gives us a great opportunity to understand the history of Buddhist dissemination in simple words. I believe the exhibition to convey such a significant message to people and exercise our wisdom. It really matters how we convey and spread the spirit of the Lotus Sutra over our whole society. The section of introduction to academic exchanges on the Lotus Sutra teaches us various kinds of ways to understand the wisdom of the Lotus Sutra. It is sure that such academic research can bring universal values to human beings and will continue further in the future. The exhibition not only introduces the heart of peace and harmony embedded in the Lotus Sutra but also awakens the ‘spirit of coexistence’ inherent in every one of us.

Mr. Ustaz Mohamed Ali Atan (Head of Harmony Centre)
It is my humble expectation that the Lotus Sutra exhibition will develop as a greater showcase. As the Lotus Sutra expresses respect for the intrinsic dignity of all human beings, I am determined as an educator to deliver my students a message that we should care and understand others and the world through our life.

Organizers: The Institute of Oriental Philosophy, Dunhuang Academy and Singapore Soka Association
Planner and Producer: The Institute of Oriental Philosophy
Supporters: The Institute of Oriental Manuscripts, Russian Academy of Sciences and International Academy of Indian Culture
Venue: The Arts House
Date: October 1-25, 2017

Exhibition Attracted 62,000 Visitors

Up to closing on October 25, over 50,000 people visited “The Lotus Sutra―A Message of Peace and Harmonious Coexistence” exhibition at the Arts House in Singapore. Due to its popularity, it was decided to transfer the exhibition to Singapore Soka Association Headquarters and hold it there for another few weeks (November 1-18). The exhibition attracted 62,000 visitors in total and received a great response from academics and mass media.

Venue: Singapore Soka Association Headquarters
Date: November 1-18, 2017

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