The first international Buddhist cultural festival opened Monday in Mount Wutai, China's well-known tourism destination and Buddhist sanctum, located in north China's Shanxi Province.
Sponsored by the Xinzhou city government, the one-month festival has attracted more than 3,000 monks and nuns from the Republic of Korea, Japan and China's three famous Buddhist mountains, Emei, Putuo and Jiuhua.
Besides Buddhist religious services -- including a grand ceremony to pray for world peace -- the festival will display a great number of calligraphy and painting works, pictures and cultural relics concerning Buddhism.
An international Buddhist culture and art forum will be held during the festival, during which Buddhism experts, such as Lou Yulie, head of the religion institution of Beijing University, will made speeches.
Mount Wutai has the largest group of Buddhists in the world, according to local officials. There are 47 temples and more than 3,000 Buddhist monks and nuns in the area. It is also a summer resort.
(Xinhua News Agency August 18, 2004)