The international Buddhist organization Fo Guang Shan has announced that the Nan Tien Institute, Australia will host the 8th International Symposium on Humanistic Buddhism, under the theme “Humanistic Buddhist Responses to Modern Crises.” The free three-day forum, running from 6–8 November, will be held online and is open to all.
“The COVID-19 Pandemic has presented the world with challenges that have spread across all sectors of life, including our economy, physical and mental health, environment, and social life,” the symposium’s organizer’s said in an announcement. “Despite this being a major crisis and disruption to our daily lives, Nan Tien Institute views the pandemic as a means to assist its community through a humanistic approach. Leading international Buddhist studies scholar Emeritus Professor Lewis Lancaster and Australia’s top social researcher Hugh Mackay are the symposium’s keynote speakers. The topic of their dialogue is ‘Never Waste a Crisis: A Human Response to Disruption.’” (The 8th International Symposium on Humanistic Buddhism)
This year’s event marks the first time that this major conference has been hosted outside of Taiwan.
The conference will feature 24 panelists, including revered Dharma teachers, scholars, scientists, activists, and authors, who will participate in six panels to examine the following topics:
• Creating an Inclusive Society
• Working Toward a More Humanistic Society of the Future: Challenges for the Self within Complex Systems
• Learning from Australian Responses to Modern Crises
• Revaluing Buddhist Adaptations in the Modern World
• Examining Humanistic Approaches to Health and Well-being
• Putting Compassion into Action
For full details of the program of events, click here.
“Unlike traditional academic conferences, the intention of the symposium is to encourage interdisciplinary dialogues, stimulate creativity, and show how humanistic values can be applied within the context of issues that have arisen in contemporary society,” Fo Guang Shan shared. (The 8th International Symposium on Humanistic Buddhism)
Click here to register for the symposium.
“The first major topic for panel discussion is on the impact of isolation versus community strength, as well as what happens when a crisis shatters social norms and disrupts aspects of peoples’ lives, welfare, and social worlds,” the symposium organizers explained. “The discussion will then focus on doors that have been opened to change—with potentially positive results for our personal and social worlds, as crises allow us opportunities to reorganize.
“With a particular focus on extending what we can learn from the COVID-19 pandemic to other crisis situations, the dialogue will then shift to the issue of climate change, which, like the pandemic, affects the entire human race. Finally, the dialogue will frame how the current crisis must be seen as a stimulus for positive action, as we need to project forward to specific actions that deal with global problems, even in the face of differences of opinions and agendas.” (The 8th International Symposium on Humanistic Buddhism)
Fo Guang Shan is a Buddhist monastic order founded in Taiwan in 1967 by the renowned monk and teacher Master Hsing Yun. Since then, Fo Guang Shanto has grown into an international network of Buddhist temples and lay and monastic communities promoting the philosophy of Humanistic Buddhism, which focuses on integrating the practices of engaged Buddhism into everyday life. Fo Guang Shan has attained widespread recognition for its efforts to modernize Chinese Mahayana Buddhism and for operating one of the largest charity organizations in Taiwan, carrying out charitable and humanitarian work across the world. Master Hsing Yun has stated that he views Fo Guang Shan as an “amalgam of all Eight Schools of Chinese Buddhism.”
As the founder of Fo Guang Shan, Master Hsing Yun is popularly known in Taiwan as one of the “Four Heavenly Kings” of Buddhism, the others being Master Sheng Yen, founder of Dharma Drum Mountain; Master Cheng Yen, founder of Tzu Chi; and Master Wei Chueh, founder of Chung Tai Shan. These four global Buddhist orders, correspondingly known as the “Four Great Mountains,” have expanded to become among the most influential Chinese Buddhist organizations in the world.
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