World Economic Forum

Waldorf Astoria, New York, February 1, 2002

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On February 1 and 2, 2002, Master Sheng Yen attended the World Economic Forum (WEF) Annual Meeting in New York. The WEF invited religious leaders representing different religious and spiritual traditions from all over the world to discuss issues related to religion at this meeting. Master Sheng Yen was the only representative from the Buddhist tradition.

During the session on “What is Sacred in Today’s World?”, Master Sheng Yen was among the few religious leaders appointed to serve as discussion leaders. Master Sheng Yen pointed out that “humankind must understand that notion of “sacred” is interpreted differently in a multicultural pluralistic world, and that we should strive to seek for harmony. He asserted that such harmony can only be found by discovering the commonality within difference, and accepting the difference within commonality.

Among other topics discussed were the role of religious leaders in the use of moral resources internationally to construct a genuine cultural dialogue and the search for common values to connect different communities, issues on poverty, the widening gap between the rich and the poor, and environmental crisis.

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