The Institute of Oriental Philosophy
On May 3, 2017, “The Lotus Sutra―A Message of Peace and Harmonious Coexistence” exhibition was launched in Thailand, a Buddhist country in Southeast Asia. The exhibition was planned and produced by the Institute of Oriental Philosophy, and co-organized by the Ministry of Culture (Thailand), the World Buddhist University and Soka Gakkai Thailand. The full support of the International Academy of Indian Culture, the Dunhuang Academy China, and the Institute of Oriental Manuscripts, Russian Academy of Sciences, made it possible to display the precious items at the exhibition.
On display were approximately 160 items. Through the panels and video, the exhibition introduced the history of dissemination of Buddhist teachings. It showed that Mahayana Buddhist teachings transmitted from India and Western regions to East Asia including China, the Korean Peninsula and Japan, as well as Southeast Asia including Thailand, Cambodia and Indonesia.
The exhibition also featured the Petrovsky Sanskrit manuscript and Gilgit manuscript of the Lotus Sutra and the Gandhari manuscript of Dharmapada (from the 1st and 2nd centuries), as well as sutra manuscripts in Pali, the common language of Theravada Buddhism (all duplicates). Moreover, treasured items presented from academic institutions around the world were also exhibited. On display in the section of the replicated Dunhuang Magao Caves, were the murals of the Lotus Sutra inside Cave 85 and the entrance of Cave 96 (a nine-story building). With such appealing layout and design, visitors enjoyed the visual exhibition of the Lotus Sutra.
At the opening ceremony, Mr. Vira Rojpojchanarat, Minister of Culture, Dr. Noranit Setabutr, Chairman of the World Buddhist University Council, and Mr. Nisit Chansomwong, Governor of Nonthaburi, participated in the grand ribbon-cutting, together with approximately 650 guests and representatives of Soka Gakkai Thailand. The opening ceremony and the exhibition were reported by NBT (National Broadcasting Services of Thailand), TV3, TV5 and other Thai media, including Thaipost, Matichon, Daily News, The Kurunthep Trakij and Siam Turakij.
The following are comments shared by some of the guests:
Mr. Vira Rojpojchanarat (Minister of Culture, Thailand)
It is a great pleasure to attend “The Lotus Sutra―A Message of Peace and Harmonious Coexistence” exhibition as an organizer.
As its main responsibility, the Ministry of Culture commits to protect, inherit and develop the religion, art and culture of Thailand. Therefore, to fulfill that responsibility, it is significant for us to co-organize the worldwide exhibition of the Lotus Sutra with Soka Gakkai Thailand. The exhibition gives people of Thailand the best opportunity to learn the philosophy of humanism which the Lotus Sutra explains and deepen their understanding. Moreover, the exhibition makes it possible to protect religion and spread a sublime culture that emphasizes coexistence and harmony.
It will definitely drive us to establish a good society, equip people with virtues, and bring about harmonious integration. These points are also in line with future vision of Thailand which was proposed by Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha. It is my hope that Soka Gakkai Thailand which spreads “good and virtue” in Thai society will make this exhibition a great success under the name of the Ministry together with each co-organizer.
Dr. Noranit Setabutr (Chairman of the World Buddhist University Council)
It is my great honor to cooperate in holding of “The Lotus Sutra―A Message of Peace and Harmonious Coexistence” exhibition together with Soka Gakkai Thailand, the Institute of Oriental Philosophy and the Ministry of Culture in order to spread the great spirit of Mahayana Buddhism widely in Thailand. There could be nothing happier than this achievement.
To date, the World Buddhist University and the Institute of Oriental Philosophy have closely interacted and held events with various themes on Buddhism. This exhibition features items, human cultural heritages, from all over the world which cannot be seen at any other exhibitions. It is sure that people of Thailand can benefit from the opportunity to learn the profound teachings of Buddhism from these items.
Through this exhibition, the World Buddhist University is determined to offer more chances to learn and spread knowledge of Buddhism more widely. That is because such action matches the founding spirit of the World Buddhist University and advantages for Thai society.I hope from the bottom of my heart that the exhibition will be a great success. It is my sincere wish that all visitors will appreciate the heritage left by the numerous events in the history and experience “harmonious coexistence” in their lives as the title of the exhibition reminds us.