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Abbot Shi Yongxin Addresses the Conscience Plenary

Abbot Shi Yongxin addressed the Conscience Plenary at the 2023 Parliament of the World’s Religions in Chicago, USA.

Dear distinguished Chairmen, Mr. Avino, ladies and gentlemen, good morning.

In the year 495, the Emperor of the Northern Wei Dynasty founded the Shaolin temple in the middle, the sacred place between heaven and earth to accommodate the Shaolin monk. Shaolin temple is the birthplace of Chan Buddhism as well as the origin of Shaolin kung fu and the medical lineage. Dharma Master Batuo arrived at the Shaolin temple and spent years in meditation, establishing Chan Buddhism that happened 1500 years ago.

The transmission of Shaolin culture of the past 1500 years has greatly influenced Chinese Buddhism and Chinese culture. Extending its impact to countries such as Japan, Korea, and everywhere around the world. The enduring legacy of Shaolin temple spirit of open communication and harmonious coexistence continues to thrive today.

Harmony is the core of Shaolin Temple’s culture and heritage. Through the Temple’s architecture, murals, pagodas forest, and the stone inscriptions a prevalent ethos of valuing harmony is important.

This ethos deeply rooted in Chinese culture constitutes the essence of the Chinese spirit. The existing Ming-Dynasty stone inscription at the temple, titled “Illustrated Praise for the Three Teachings and Nine Streams of the Supreme Ultimate,” conveys the concept of unity among the three teachings, the convergence of nine streams, the coherence of diverse schools of thought, and the integration of myriad principles. 

This philosophy of harmony is aptly named “Chinese Harmony Chart.”

Harmony serves as the spiritual essence of Chan Buddhism and the Shaolin Temple. It is interactions with various countries, ethnicities, and cultures. Shaolin Temple embraces an open and inclusive attitude, fostering positive relationships, harmonious coexisting, and the cross-cultural exchange with religions around the world.

Harmony embodies the essence of Buddhism. The core of Shaolin culture centered around the chant encourages us to seek harmony within ourselves with society and with nature.

Our patriarch practiced meditation by facing the wall for 9 years without disturbance from inside or outside. He exemplifies the principle of harmonious coexistence in the process of uniting the individual, the human self, society, and the natural world.

Since the inception of Buddhism, the monastic community has stayed together in peace advocating the spirit of six harmonies and reverences. For a thousand years, the Shaolin Temple has adhered to the unchanged Shaolin monastic lineage. The master disciple transitioned through the mind instruction the principles of six harmonies and reverences, the life ideal of integrity, mind and body, the sacred and secular. In addition, we appeal to ideas such as peace for all nations, harmony in diversity, and coexistence in harmony as Chinese culture. 

Harmony is the highest order in nature and the loftiest of pursuits of humanity. Harmony means feeling each other sincerely, staying true to oneself, sharing common goals, and building a fiduciary community through mutual interaction.

Harmony implies mutual respect, equal learning from one another, seeking common ground where respect differences, and building peace through dialogue amongst global civilizations.

Harmony also means understanding and inclusivity. Harmony leads to happiness, it allows diverse civilizations to share and engage in a process of coexistence without obstructions. It contributes to the construction of a community with a shared future for all mankind.

With utmost sincerity, we pray for world peace and the happiness of all beings. And all tranquil time.

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