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Day of Peace Observed at a Forum in Taipei

Taipei, Taiwan - UPF-Taiwan organized an interreligious forum on the theme of "Education for Peace" on September 7 in commemoration of the International Day of Peace. UPF-Taiwan President Dr. Poya Chang opened the forum by expressing gratitude that there is no religious conflict in Taiwan. Senior adivsor Dr. Hong Dae Hee offered an invocation, and the UPF video “Creating a Family of Faith” was shown. The video showing religious leaders embracing is evidence of UPF’s role in promoting interreligious collaboration for world peace, commented Chairperson Mr. Chen Tuo Huan, Vice President of UPF-Taiwan.

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Professor Li Zi Yi, Master of Tientijiao and President of the Taiwan Conference on Religion and Peace, described Tientijiao’s focus during the cold war on offering daily prayers for world peace in order to defuse the threat of nuclear war. He said that Tientijiao emphasizes religious education, traditional education, and family education, viewing family education as the basis of all education. According to a Chinese proverb, if someone is your teacher for only a day, you should regard him like your father for the rest of your life. Tientijiao recognizes the three main sources of Chinese culture: Confucianism, Taoism, and Buddhism.

Tientijiao’s ultimate concern is religious harmony, world harmony, and harmony between Heaven (God) and human beings. In 1972, the Founder of Tientijiao predicted that the conflict between global political blocs would come to an end and conflict between religions would arise. He said that interreligious dialogue should be based on the motto of “Love the common, respect the different.” Practices and teachings differ among religious, but all are heading toward the same goodness. Religious believers should strive for absolute truth, goodness, and beauty and manifest the highest spiritual values.

Dr. Liu En Ting, Executive Director of the Chinese Cultural Foundation, spoke about Ikuantoa, a word meaning “doctrine of all-pervading unity.” All religions came about from logos or tao; all come from a similar source and adhere to similar core thoughts. The core principle of Ikuantoa is to venerate Heaven and Earth, revere divine beings, and aspire to work for harmony and the unity of all religions.

He cited an ancient Chinese proverb as an effective peace principle: “When the great Words of Heaven prevail, all things under heaven are shared equally and justly.” Wars start from killing one another, so the act of killing should stop, whether killing humans or animals. He referred to a Japanese farmer who leaves ten percent of the apples on each tree for the birds as an example of living for the sake of one another, including humans and all things.

Dr. Hsu Hui Chen from Unificationism explained that whenever Father Sun Myung Moon spoke about world peace, he focused on God’s will. Political approaches cannot build lasting peace, which can only come about through interracial, interreligious, and international collaboration. Selfishness is the origin of all evil, she said. Selfishness at the individual level causes ethical problems, in the family level will lead to family discord, in the social level will cause social injustice and unrest in the world, and in the international level will cause international confrontation and war. Conversely, selfless heart is the origin of all good, and we shall strive to "live for others" as philosophy of life. Father Moon promotes “parentism” in order to achieve world peace, just as parents can arbitrate and resolve disputes among children. A parental heart from God can motivate people to resolve the national, cultural, and interreligious conflict.

As examples of cooperation transcending traditional boundaries, Dr. Hsu cited cross-cultural marriages, a proposed international highway system, and interreligious dimensions of the Middle East Peace Initiative. She concluded with a reference to the Confucian philosophy of living for heaven, earth and people; inheriting knowledge from past sages; and promoting peace and prosperity for people to come.

After panelists from Buddhism, Islam, and Christianity offered their perspectives, the floor was open for discussion. Tientijiao Master Li Zi Yi reported that all three of his children married someone from another religion, thus confirming that interreligious marriage is possible and achievable. Finally, Secretary General of UPF-Taiwan Mr. Chai gave a ten-minute presentation about the proposal for an interreligous peace council.

See also reports from other nations of observances of the International Day of Peace 2013.

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