Fri, Jun 23, 2006 - Page 1 News List

Buddhist master says China could `eat up Taiwan'


Pope Benedict XVI met with visiting Master Hsing Yun (星雲法師), founder of Taiwan's Buddha's Light International Association, on Wednesday in a general audience at St Peter's Basilica, the Vatican.

During the meeting, Benedict XVI expressed his best regards for the Taiwanese and said he would pray for them. The pope also said that he would visit Taiwan if the chance arose.

Hsing Yun arrived in Rome on Tuesday.

In the company of Taiwanese Ambassador to the Vatican Tu Chou-sheng (杜筑生), the Buddhist master extended his respects to the pope on behalf of Taiwan's Buddhists and invited the leader of the Roman Catholic world to visit Taiwan.

Referring to himself as a "pilgrim," Hsing Yun said he hoped the visit would help to boost mutual understanding and cooperation between Buddhists and Catholics.

In a separate gathering with a group of overseas Chinese, Hsing Yun predicted that some day, when China becomes a rich country, it may "eat up Taiwan."

Taiwan has cringed at the idea of unifying with China because of its perceived poverty, he said.

"Now China is becoming richer and richer, and some day in the future it would not be incredible that it might eat up Taiwan as the ideas of inequality, such as rich and poor and big and small, are involved here," Hsing Yun said.

Sharing his experience in putting one's mind at ease, Hsing Yun said there were several ways of doing so, but that such fundamental principles as love, tolerance, cherishing what one has and making friends with all would always be important, no matter what approach one took to "finding a home for one's mind."

He said that a sense of equality was important because only by treating all living beings and all systems of belief equally would peace and harmony prevail in the world.

For that same reason, he said he would advise Taiwanese not to look down on their poorer neighbors in China, who may in the future grow rich enough to "bring Taiwan into its fold."

Hsing Yun founded the Fo Guang Shan Buddhist Monastery in 1967 in southern Taiwan, which has since then evolved to become the largest Buddhist monastery in the country.

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