A new world record was set at Hong Kong Stadium on Saturday
afternoon when 13,839 people recited
classic Daodejing. This marked a new Guinness world record for
"most people reading aloud simultaneously in one location." The
occasion was also the prelude of the "International Forum on the Daodejing"
will open today.
The rally stood out for the participation and officiating of
leaders from six religious faiths, namely Taoism, Buddhism,
Confucianism, Catholicism, Protestantism and Islam as well as a
number of celebrities such as famed Hong Kong actors Pak-cheung
Chan, Eric Tsang, Kenny Bee and mainland sports stars Li Ning,
Zhang Jian and Chang Hao. The huge rally also preceded the forum to
be held from April 22 to 27 in Xi'an, Shaanxi Province and Hong
Andrea Banfi, the returning officer from the Guinness Book of
Records on site to witness and confirm procedures, announced the
new world record and delivered a certificate to the effort.
According to Guinness, this smashed the previous record which was
set by 6,210 young participants in Gary, Indiana on June 1,
Every participant in the recitation had previously signed a
declaration to prove their desire to take part in the event.
Furthermore, every group of 20 readers was watched by an overseer
who verified that they were participating in the recitation. The
event was the pinnacle of a day of entertainment with a lion dance,
a taijiquan show performed by 1000 people, a martial arts
display and a concert featuring Taoist chants and Hong Kong native
music preceding it and warming up the atmosphere.
"The wisdom of Tao will be of great help in efforts to build a
prosperous, stable and harmonious Hong Kong society," Jiang
Jianyong, vice chairman of China Religious Culture Communication
Association said, adding that this event showed the religious unity
of Hong Kong.
Tong Wai-ki, president of the Hong Kong Taoist Association said
that the Daodejing can provide the harmony of Tao for every
aspect of modern life. "If you can manage and practice the
philosophy hidden in the classic book, you will enjoy harmony for
yourself, for your relationships with others and in society, the
world and nature.”
Hong Kong's Secretary for Home Affairs Patrick Ho Chi-ping
further expressed his joy and heart-felt affection for the event,
hailing the flourishing social and economic situation of the
country for enabling such a rally to happen. Ho also said the event
was part of a series of activities marking the 10th anniversary of
Hong Kong's returning to China.
Behind this event, one can feel the steeped weight of history.
Commemorating the expansion of Laozi’s Preaching Platform at the
ancient Louguan Temple in Xi'an, Taoist associations across China
decided on a joint international forum to be held in April. In
honor of the largest such forum in 50 years, over 300
representatives from the mainland, Hong Kong, Macao, Taiwan as well
as from 16 foreign countries will be in attendance.
The Daodejing, penned by Laozi himself, studies the links
between human and nature, shedding light on the harmony that
permeates life itself and its influence can be felt in many areas
of traditional Chinese culture. The book, translated into over
thirty languages, has now seen over 400 foreign editions since it
first came to the Western world’s attention back in the 16th
century. Its numerous reprints over the last two millennia
highlight the capital importance of the most-widely studied Chinese
philosophical classic, considered one of the most important texts
in the world human heritage, second perhaps only to the Holy
(China.org.cn by Zhang Rui, April 22, 2007)