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Back to listJun 11, 2008

Expert on Confucian Studies Lectures at Taiwan Soka Association's Center

Professor Tu Weiming lectures on Professor Tu Weiming lectures on "A Dialogical Civilization and a New Humanism" in Taipei

On June 11, 2008, Professor Tu Weiming, a leading authority on Confucian studies and professor of Chinese history and philosophy at Harvard University, delivered a lecture entitled "A Dialogical Civilization and a New Humanism" at Taiwan Soka Association's Jin-Zhou Culture Center in Taipei. Taiwan Soka Association (TSA) General Director Lin Chao, Women's Leader Chen Jen-Jen, Culture and Education Committee Chair Hsieh Hsiu-Sheng and more than 300 students and educators attended the lecture.

Professor Tu focused his talk on reasons why we should engage in dialogue and how it should be conducted, stating that dialogue cultivates the virtue of listening, broadens our horizons and deepens our introspective capacity. According to Professor Tu, true dialogue is not to persuade. Nor is it to showcase ourselves or to correct the misunderstandings others may have of us. To engage in dialogue, qualities such as tolerance, acceptance, respect, consultation and learning are crucial. Professor Tu observed that dialogue can only be carried out by someone whose heart celebrates diversity.

Following his prepared remarks, Professor Tu answered questions from the audience. In one of his responses, he commented that leaders in the 21st century must not only have the ability to build economic assets, they must also be capable of creating cultural and social assets.

Advances in information technology now make it possible for people to interact in a virtual environment. While many people worry about the possible adverse effects this may have on humanity, Professor Tu made clear his optimism, stating "Technological advancement allows one to experience the profundity of the all-encompassing truth of the universe and humbles his soul" and commented that truly great scientists are naturally drawn to universal and profound philosophical traditions.

During August, Professor Tu will travel to Singapore and Malaysia to lecture at the Singapore Soka Association Headquarters (Aug. 20) and the Wisma Kebudayaan Soka Gakkai Malaysia Center (Aug. 23), respectively.

Professor Tu and SGI President Daisaku Ikeda have collaborated on Toward a Civilization Based on Dialogue: On a Philosophy of Peace and Hope (tentative translation), published in 2007 in Japanese. In the book, Professor Tu and Mr. Ikeda share their views on building a dialogical civilization. Professor Tu discusses topics such as peaceful coexistence and the nature and potential of dialogue from a Confucian perspective while Mr. Ikeda shares his views on the same subjects from a Buddhist standpoint.

Adapted from an article in the June 20, 2008, issue of Harmony Press, Taiwan Soka Association; photo courtesy of Harmony Press]