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On January 27, the exhibition "The Lotus Sutra--A Message of Peace and Harmonious Coexistence" co-organized by the Institute of Oriental Philosophy (IOP) together with Taiwan Soka Association (TSA) opened at TSA's Zhi Shan Culture Center in Taipei. Supporters of the event included Taiwan's Ministry of the Interior and Ministry of Culture (MOC), the National Palace Museum (NPM) and National Taiwan University (NTU).
On display were some 130 items including facsimiles of nine versions of the Chinese translation of the Lotus Sutra by Kumarajiva (344-413 C.E.) owned by academic and cultural institutions in Taiwan, as well as reproductions of other Lotus Sutra manuscripts in various languages. There were also facsimiles from the Lotus Sutra Manuscript Series published by Soka Gakkai and copies of the Kern-Nanjio edition (1902-12) of the Sanskrit Lotus Sutra. Some of the exhibits are on loan from Taiwan's National Central Library and the Taiwan-based Association for the Preservation of Chinese Culture and Fine Arts.
In addition, 86 panel images depicting wall paintings from the historic Dunhuang caves in China (300-1300 C.E.) and the history and transmission of the Lotus Sutra were exhibited, as well as a reproduction of the Lion Capital of Ashoka--a sculpture of four Indian lions standing back to back that adorned the top of the Pillar of Ashoka in Sarnath, India. There was also a corner of the exhibition designed specifically for children.
Guests at the opening ceremony included Administrative Deputy Minister of the Interior Lin Tzu-ling; Hsiao Tsung-huang, director of MOC's Department of Cultural Resources; Chen Ji-min, National Taiwan Museum curator; Lee Yu-min, director of NPM's Department of Painting and Calligraphy; and Duh Bau-ruei, dean of NTU's Office of Student Affairs.
Following speeches by TSA General Director Lin Chao and IOP Director Dr. Yoichi Kawada, Ms. Lin Tzu-ling from the Ministry of the Interior commented that the fundamental spirit of the Lotus Sutra is its recognition of the dignity of all people and that she felt the SGI aims to actualize Buddhahood in each individual based on this ideal.
Mr. Hsiao Tsung-huang thanked TSA for contributing to the development of art in Taiwan and urged people to visit the Lotus Sutra exhibition and to bring their children.
The opening also included comments on the philosophy of the Lotus Sutra by IOP Senior Research Fellow Hiroshi Kanno.
The exhibition will be shown at the Zhi Shan Culture Center until March 30, 2013.
[Adapted from articles in the February 5 and 19, 2013, issues of Harmony Press and the January 31, 2013, issue of the Seikyo Shimbun, Soka Gakkai, Japan; photos courtesy of TSA]
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