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The Way to Harmony: International Forum on the Daodejing
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The Tao is the cultural code of ancient China. It is an ideal, an image of completeness, wisdom, power, and direction.

In the West, the Tao represents a ray of light through the clouds. It is the logos, the truth, the life force, and a seed for the growth of culture.

When West meets East, when all mankind pursues a harmonious world, the Tao, conveying common collective values, can serve as a bridge of passage, an exchange of spirit.

Building a Harmonious World Through the Tao.

1. Rationale

Traveling westwards, Laozi wrote his Taoism classic Daodejing. His five thousand words are concise but the connotations are most profound. Reviewing his teachings, one always gains new insights. His Tao is of the past, yet it is still a guide for today.

The Daodejing is one of the most important carriers of traditional Chinese culture; it is a book that has more foreign-language versions than any other Chinese classic. Widely read throughout the world, it is acknowledged to rank among the great achievements of human civilization. For 2,000 years, philosophers, statesmen, strategists, writers, artists, scientists, and even average citizens have all learned from the Daodejing.

Today, globalization is bringing unprecedented changes to the world. However, as mankind advances, he faces many grave challenges. Holding spontaneity as its core tenet, the Daodejing calls on us to embrace higher values, principles and attitudes: simplicity and truth in life; a spiritual sense of calmness; an indifference to fame and fortune; valuing frugality instead of extravagance; a commitment to lead a harmonious life; a reasonable ecology of harmony between man and nature; and an orientation to be contented with oneself more than the enjoyment of objects. In the Daodejing, Laozi said:

Be content and there will be no disgrace.
Know to stop and there will be no danger.
Thus you can long endure.

For people from every walk of life, the thoughts and wisdom incorporated in the Daodejing are useful to enable them to evaluate themselves properly, to understand the values of life, and to deal with their interpersonal relations and with their relations with society and nature.

Since its very beginning, Taoism has respected Laozi as its founder, and his Daodejing as its fundamental classic. Ineluctably, Taoists are responsible for developing and spreading the founder's thoughts and serving contemporary society.

During recent years, relations between the Taoists of Chinese mainland and the Taoists of Hong Kong have become increasingly close, and both sides have cooperated to carry out a series of large-scale activities. This year will mark the 10th anniversary of the return of Hong Kong to the motherland, and coincidently, at the ancient Louguantai Temple in Xi'an, Shaanxi Province, an inauguration ceremony will be held for the expansion of Laozi's Preaching Platform. By synthesizing these great events, Taoists all hope to develop a vehicle that will research and spread the thoughts and wisdom in the Daodejing. And therefore it is with great pleasure that Taoists from the mainland and from Hong Kong announce that they have decided, together, to hold an International Forum on the Daodejing in Xi'an and Hong Kong in April 2007.

From Xi'an, an ancient capital of China with a profound culture, to Hong Kong, a vibrant modern metropolis, there will be a spiritual pilgrimage and an intellectual and cultural banquet.

2. Dates

April 22-27, 2007

3. Venues

Xi'an, Shaanxi Province (April 22-24)
Hong Kong (April 26-27)

4. Purpose of the Forum

The forum shall provide a unique opportunity for dialogue, for communication, among those who are interested in the Daodejing, who seek to study it, to explore it, or to apply its traditional wisdom, so that its rich insights and acumen can inspire human beings to solve their multiple and diverse problems.

5. Theme of the Forum

The theme of the forum will be "Constructing a Harmonious World Through the Tao." Harmony gives expression to goodwill, fosters friendship, and engenders a common spirit of cooperation that the entire human race should embrace. A world of vast differences of creed, race, religion, economics, social development, and political structures can be safeguarded only by the spirit of such harmony.

The Tao is the highest principle in the Daodejing. It is ever-present in time and space. "Harmony" is an important concept in the Daodejing. It is the nature of the Tao and the normal state of every thing. The Tao is a way to harmony. If one cultivates one's moral character with Taoism, one's soul will enjoy harmony. If everyone applies the principles of Taoism, society will become harmonious. If the world could be ruled by the Tao, all countries would live in harmony.

In the Daodejing, the Tao is the highest principle. The Tao is ever-current in time and ever-present in space.

6. Topics of the Forum

The forum will aim to expound the traditional wisdom of the Daodejing and thus foster a spirit of harmony.
    Areas for choice of topics:
a. the Daodejing and a Culture of Harmony;
b. the Daodejing and the Protection of Our Living Environment;
c. the Daodejing and Modern Management;
d. the Daodejing and Health.

7. Sponsoring, Organizing and Supporting Bodies

China Religious Culture Communication Association
The China Religious Culture Communication Association is an organization formed voluntarily by residents of the Chinese mainland, Taiwan, Hong Kong, and Macao, and overseas Chinese of all walks of life devoted to the cause of religious cultural exchange. It is a nonprofit social organization registered in Chinese mainland. Its purpose is to strengthen and promote contacts and exchanges between members of the religious sector in the Chinese mainland and their counterparts in Taiwan, Hong Kong and Macao, as well as in other countries and regions; to widely make friends, increase friendship and promote cooperation; to jointly unearth positive and beneficial religious content; and to carry forward and promote China's traditional culture. Fu Tieshan, vice chairman of the Standing Committee of the NPC, and Pagbalha Geleg Namgyai and Ding Guangxun, both vice chairmen of the CPPCC National Committee, are honorary chairmen of the association. Ye Xiaowen, director of the State Administration for Religious Affairs, is president of the association.

The China Taoist Association
The China Taoist Association was founded in the 1950s by the Taoist luminaries Yue Chongdai, Yi Xinying and Chen Yingning. As the principal Taoist organization on the Chinese mainland, it is a united patriotic religious group. Its purpose is to assist the government in carrying out its policy of freedom of religious belief and safeguard the legitimate rights and interests of the religious community; to initiate Taoist undertakings, promote Taoist doctrines, spread Taoist culture and promote morality in society; to carry on and foster the outstanding traditions of Taoism and strengthen the self-improvement of Taoism; to unite all the country’s Taoists; to participate actively in the country’s socialist, material, political, and cultural development; and to contribute to creating a harmonious society, promoting the reunification of the motherland, and safeguarding world peace. The president of the association is Taoist Master Ren Farong.

The Shaanxi Organizing Committee for the International Forum on the Daodejing
The organizing committee is led by Zhang Wei, deputy governor of Shaanxi Province; Hu Yue, vice chairman of the CPPCC Shaanxi Provincial Committee; and Ren Farong, chairman of the Shaanxi Provincial Taoist Association. The organizing committee has nine subcommittees: the coordinating committee, the opening ceremonies committee, the academic exchanges committee, the Louguantai Temple excursion committee (where Laozi spread his teachings), the evening variety show committee, the reception committee, the publicity and information committee, the security committee, and the fund-raising committee.

The Hong Kong Organizing Committee for the International Forum on the Daodejing
Headed by the Hong Kong Taoist Association, this committee has Master Tong Wai Ki as its chairman. The committee is comprised mainly of the organizations participating in its 21st executive council. Its working groups are charged with publicity and public relations, reception, the forum, the concert, banquets, the thanksgiving ritual, and the closing ceremony.

Institute of World Religions, China Academy of Social Sciences
Centre for the Study of Taoism, Shaanxi Academy of Social Sciences
Institute for the Study of Chinese Taoism and Religious Culture, Sichuan University
Centre for the Study of Taoism and Traditional Culture, Xiamen University
Religious Culture Press
China Religion Journal

8. Main Activities of the Forum

1. Opening ceremony
2. Forum speeches
3. Ceremony celebrating the completion of the expansion of Louguantai Temple and praying for world peace
4. Evening musical variety show with rich Taoist culture
5. Exhibition of Taoist culture
6. Tour of the Terracotta Warriors Museum, the Hanyang imperial tombs and the Eight Immortals Temple

Hong Kong:
1. Forum speeches
2. Lecture on Taoism by Master Ren Farong, president, China Taoist Association
3. Grand benediction ceremony officiated by 81 senior Taoist priests.
4. Exhibition of editions and translations of the Daodejing.
5. Performance of Taoist music
6. Closing ceremony


  Date Time Activity Venue
1 21 Apr 2007 (Sat) 13:00 - 14:30 (Admission, pre-show)
14:30 - 16:00
Record-breaking Attempt Recital of the Daodejing Hong Kong Stadium
2 27 Apr 2007 (Fri)
9 May 2007 (Wed)
10:00 - 18:00 (Mon - Sat)
10:00 - 19:00 (Sun, Public Holiday)
Closed on Thursdays
Exhibition on the translations and commentaries of the Daodejing and Taoist cultural heritage Hong Kong Heritage Discovery Centre
3 26 Apr 2007 (Thu) 13:30 - 16:30 International Forum on the Daodejing Jockey Club Auditorium of the Hong Kong Polytechnic University
4 26 Apr 2007 (Thu) 20:30 - 22:30 Concert of Taoist Music Jockey Club Auditorium of the Hong Kong Polytechnic University
5 27 Apr 2007 (Fri) 09:00 - 12:00 International Forum on the Daodejing - Conclusion Queen Elizabeth Stadium
6 27 Apr 2007 (Fri) 14:30 - 17:00 Forum Closing Ceremony Queen Elizabeth Stadium

( April 19, 2007)

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