Back to listMay 12, 2007

Institute of Oriental Philosophy European Center Relaunched

From left to right: IOPEC Director Jamie Cresswell, Director Ven Chueh Yahn Shih of the London Fo Guang Shan Temple and SGI-UK General Director Robert Samuels

On May 12, 2007, around 200 people attended the relaunch of the Institute of Oriental Philosophy European Center (IOPEC) at Taplow Court, SGI-UK's national center.

The relaunch aims to make IOPEC more accessible to scholars, the public and SGI members interested in researching Buddhism from a broad, ecumenical perspective. IOPEC's new website ( contains information on events, past lectures and an online library database. The IOPEC library now contains 13,000 volumes and has subscriptions to 100 journals.

Dunhuang dancers from Fo Guang Shan Temple

The May 12 event featured a traditional Chinese dance from the London Fo Guang Shan Buddhist temple that was inspired by the paintings and sculptures found in the Buddhist caves near Dunhuang, on the edge of the Gobi Desert in western China.

Dr. Peggy Morgan from Mansfield College, the University of Oxford, gave a talk on the relationship between the academic study of religion and studying a religion as a practitioner. This was followed by a lecture from Dr. Susan Whitfield, director of the International Dunhuang Project (IDP) at the British Library, who described how Buddhism traveled across the eastern part of the Silk Road and the discovery in 1907 of over 40,000 manuscripts, paintings and documents in the caves at Dunhuang. The goal of the IDP, which was founded in 1994, is to make the information contained in these Buddhist scrolls widely accessible through educational activities and the IDP website.

[Adapted from an SGI-UK report]