365 Days for Travelers: Sep 29


Buddhism originated in ancient India. After it was
introduced into China, the religion went through
an extended period of integrated development with
the indigenous Confucianism and Taoism and finally
became the Buddhism with Chinese characteristics,
thus making a deep impact on the religious belief,
philosophy, literature, art, etiquette and customs
of the Chinese people. Xuanzang, the Tang monk
who endured untold sufferings as he went on a
pilgrimage to the west for Buddhist scriptures, gave
full expression to the determination and fortitude
of the Chinese people to learn from other cultures.
I am sure that you have all heard about the Chinese
classics Journey to the West, which was written on
the basis of his stories. The Chinese people have
enriched Buddhism in the light of Chinese culture
and developed some special Buddhist thoughts.
Moreover, they also helped Buddhism spread from
China to Japan, Korea, Southeast Asia, and beyond.

There are three main issues regarding cultural
exchange and mutual learning. First, as the origins
of war are from human ideology, it is imperative to
nurture the ideas of protection and peace. Second,
as how civilization is enriched and flourishes, it is
vital to have exchanges and mutual learning to
promote the improvement of humanity and the
peaceful development of the world. Third, to allow
culture to become the motivation for human
improvement in order to promote creative
transformation and the innovative development in
the Chinese culture.

In 1987, twenty exquisite pieces of colored glaze
were excavated at the underground chamber of
Famen Temple in China’s Shaanxi Province. These
East Roman and Islamic relics were brought into
China during the Tang Dynasty. Marveling at these
exotic relics, I thought hard and concluded that as
we approach the world’s different civilizations, we
should not limit ourselves to just admiring the
exquisiteness of the objects involved. Rather, we
should try to learn and appreciate the cultural
significance behind them. Instead of satisfying
ourselves with their artistic presentation of people’s
life in the past, we should do our best to breathe new
life into their inherent spirit.

The Chinese dream will be realized through
balanced development and mutual reinforcement
of material and cultural progress. As China
continues to make economic and social progress,
the Chinese civilization will keep pace with the times
and acquire greater vitality.