Master Hsin Tao Urges Return to Spirituality and Religious Unity at IBC Virtual Vesak 2022

Master Hsin Tao Urges Return to Spirituality and Religious Unity at IBC Virtual Vesak 2022
Curated by the International Buddhist Confederation (IBC), Virtual Vesak 2022 commenced at 10:30 A.M. Taipei time on May 16 with live streaming of comments by Buddhist leaders around the world on issues with global impact ranging from the pandemics over war breakouts to natural calamities. A key viewpoint they shared in common was their concern of ecology and the importance of ceasefires. Master Hsin Tao, Founding Abbot of the Ling Jiou Mountain Buddhist Society (LJM), remarked that the mission of religion is to align and consolidate strength to enable a ‘Back To The Roots’ for ecology. The goal can be reached by integrating every individual’s innate spirituality to the diversified symbiosis of all things in the universe in an interdependent coexistence. Only such a dynamic and evolving mechanism may safeguard sustainability and safety of Planet Earth, said the Master.

Vesak is a Theravada festival that coincides with the first full moon of May to celebrate the birth, enlightenment, and nirvana of the Buddha. A full moon symbolizes the Buddha’s perfection of virtues and wisdom, his possession of merits and wisdom, and his realization of clarity and luminosity. Buddhist followers in Southeast and southern Asia gather to hold Vesak celebrations on that day.

The IBC Vesak 2022 celebrations took place in real life plus live streaming for a digital happening. Buddhist leaders from India, Southeast Asia,Vietnam, South Korea, Australia, and the UK went on the air to deliver remarks and offer blessings. In person celebrations started at 4:30 P.M. on May 16, India Time, at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in New Delhi.

The IBC Vesak 2022 received strong support from India’s Ministry of Cultural Affairs. Ranking government officials such as the Minister of Justice, the Minister of Cultural Tourism, and the Minister of Cultural Affairs were among other dignitaries at hand for the celebrations on site. Prime Minister Narendra Modi made a remark to express well-wishing on Vesak and was quoted as saying that Buddhist philosophies are more fit to safeguard lasting peace and sustainability. Modi visited Buddha’s birthplace in Lumbini in Nepal on Vesak Day for the first time as he participated in the ground-breaking ceremony for a Buddhist Culture & Legacy project. The ceremony was live streamed, with a rerun on site at the stadium in New Delhi.

Live Streaming of the IBC Vesak 2022 got underway in the morning in the temple area of Lumbini, Nepal, where Sakyamuni Buddha was born. Monks recited sutras and chanted mantras in their respective temples and shrines.Ven Dr. Dhammapiya, Secretary General of IBC, pointed out in his remarks that while Vesak was being celebrated globally, the world is facing the threats of a lingering pandemic and warfare. The timing renders it appropriate to think back to the popular doctrine of Buddha that shun extreme ideas in words and in deeds. He invited everyone to abide by Buddha’s teachings by highlighting compassion for all sentient beings and curbing excessive consumption that leads to irrevocable depletion of resources across the board.

H.H. Samdech Tep Vong, the Great Supreme Patriarch of Cambodia, gave expressions for the Vesak occasion in writing to the effect that Buddhist followers ought to reflect in awe and make effort to follow in Buddha’s grand virtues. Jongjeong Seongpa, the Supreme Patriarch of the Jogye Order of Korean Buddhism, considers Dharma as the antidote that elevates people from suffering to enjoy happiness. He availed himself of the livestreaming opportunity to promote Buddha’s teaching and advocate its implementation to approach enlightenment and popular salvation. Master Thich Tri Quang of the National Buddhist Society of Vietnam appealed to the virtual audience worldwide for collective prayer sessions to help bring the warfare to an end for world peace. On that note, he expressed complete satisfaction with the theme of Vesak 2022 that read ‘Compassion in Crises: Healing the World with Dharma Practices’. From comments and remarks shared above we come to realize that current adversities with the pandemic and the war can find their ultimate solution in Buddha’s Dharma that was bestowed upon mankind more than two and a half millennia ago.

Master Hsin Tao is a rare bearer of all three major Buddhist traditions, i.e. Theravada, Mahayana, and Vajrayana. He is the Founding Abbot of the LJM Buddhist Society, as well as the Founder of the Museum of World Religions (MWR). Master Hsin Tao is a reputable globe-trotter who travels tirelessly to promote interfaith exchanges and dialogue for world peace. When the world suffers setbacks by a lingering pandemic worsened by a deteriorating war and concurrent natural calamities in many places, Master Hsin Tao doubles down on issues pertinent to sustainability and humankind. In his live streamed remarks, the Master said the adversities mankind suffers have been, to a great extent, brought on by ourselves by inflicting damages onto ecology. Orthodox beliefs can help people stay away from deviances that give rise to troubles on the home front and social complications, said the Master, therefore, religions will be best advised to align with one another for unity, mutual respect, all-embracing inclusion, and unconditional love and compassion for all sentient beings.

The celebration also included the performance of a dance drama entitled ‘Buddhacharita’, which incorporates music, dances, and poetry from works of Rabindranath Tagore and his peers to represent the spectrum of Sakyamoni Buddha’s life from birth over enlightenment to nirmana. The drama was a further attempt to amplify the significance of Vesak, to lend expressions of our gratitude to Buddha for his endowment of Dharma and truth and the expectation that Dharma will facilitate access to true tranquility and happiness.