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Buddhists gather across the Strait

BUDDHIST masters from both the Chinese mainland and Taiwan have voiced their expectations for closer and stronger exchanges ahead of the Second World Buddhism Forum, the first of its kind to be held on both sides of the Taiwan Strait.

"The forum is a vivid example that cross-strait relations are moving toward the direction of peaceful development. It will be a landmark event in the history of exchanges between Buddhists on both sides," said Master Ming Sheng, vice president of the Buddhist Association of China at a press conference in Wuxi, east China's Jiangsu Province.

He expected Buddhists on both sides to have more chances to communicate with each other.

"Exchanges between Buddhists across the Taiwan Strait have never stopped. The upcoming forum is a result of synergy of condition," said Venerable Yi Kung, board director of Buddhist's Light International Association World Headquarters, at the same press conference.

"I believe there will be closer and more comprehensive exchanges in the future."

The second World Buddhist Forum, from today until Wednesday, will be in two stages -the first in Wuxi and the second in Taipei.

The BAC and China Religious Culture Communication Association from the mainland, Taiwan-based BLIA and the Hong Kong Buddhist Association will jointly hold the forum.

More than 1,200 people from about 50 countries and regions will take four charter flights from Nanjing to Taipei on Monday. "We are very happy to co-host the forum," said Yi Kung, who is also spokeswoman of the forum's host in Taiwan.

Representatives of about 500 temples from all Buddhism schools in Taiwan will attend the forum and discuss various issues facing Buddhism today, she said.

"It will be a wonderful gathering that bridges different schools."

At the closing ceremony in Taipei, a grand ritual will be held with more than 20,000 monks and followers praying for world peace, she said.

"The Taiwan authorities have paid great attention to the forum's preparation and gave us lots of support in entry procedures, security and transport," she said.


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