The weeklong "International Forum on the Daodejing" closed on April 27, 2007 with a declaration calling for building a harmonious world through the way of Tao. It stated that mutual respect and peaceful co-existence of different cultures, nationalities, and religions are the foundations for this endeavor.
"May the great Tao infuse the world and all under heaven live in great peace," the declaration said.
Translated into over thirty languages and reprinted numerous times throughout its 2,000 year history, Daodejing is one of the most studied and well-known Chinese philosophical classics and considered one of the most important texts in the human intellectual heritage. It analyzes the relationship between humans and nature, and reveals the truth of harmony in life.
The author of the text, Laozi, first delivered his lectures in Xi'an, Shaanxi Province. To commemorate this event, various Taoist bodies in Hong Kong and the Chinese mainland decided to organize an International Forum on the Daodejing both in Xi'an and Hong Kong.
The forum, the first international event of such a large scale held in 50 years, gathered over 500 Taoist leaders, scholars from the Chinese mainland, Hong Kong, Macao, Taiwan, and Singapore as well as people from all walks of life. They discussed Tao's application in culture, environmental protection, management, personal wellness, and exchanges between three main religions of China -- Taoism, Buddhism and Confucianism.
As the prelude of the forum, a total of 13,839 citizens recited Daodejing together at Hong Kong Stadium on April 21, setting a new Guinness record for "most people reading aloud simultaneously in one location."
The forum also held the largest Daodejing exhibition in the world, showing over 300 different editions and versions of this Chinese philosophical classic, including the "bamboo slip" Daodejing, the earliest edition known so far which could be dated prior to 278 BC.
"The wisdom of Tao bears great significance to building a prosperous, stable and harmonious Hong Kong society," Jiang Jianyong, vice chairman of China Religious Culture Communication Association said during the forum.
Secretary for Home Affairs Patrick Ho said such an event can only be held at a time when the country is in prosperity and the society is in harmony. As this year marks the 10th anniversary of Hong Kong's return to the motherland, he wished the world peace and Hong Kong fortune.
(Xinhua News Agency April 28, 2007)