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Mon, May 15, 2000 - Page 2 News List

Buddha `the best cross-strait envoy'

STAFF WRITER

President-elect Chen Shui-bian clasps his hands during a ceremony yesterday at Taipei's Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall celebrating the Buddha's birthday.

PHOTO: CHIANG YING-YING, TAIPEI TIMES

Buddha is the best envoy to promote peace and security across the Taiwan Strait, said President-elect Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) yesterday.

Speaking at a ceremony in Taipei celebrating the Buddha's birthday, Chen said he had drawn inspiration from Buddhist teachers to overcome difficulties during his presidential campaign.

Vowing humility in working for Taiwan and its people, Chen also called on Chinese leaders to join in the study of Buddhism and "wipe the dirt from the mind."

"There is no distance or barrier between the two sides ... because we have a shared historical experience, origins and culture. We also share a common religion, as well as the same understanding of that religion," Chen said.

Other speakers at the ceremony included outgoing Vice President Lien Chan (連戰) and People First Party Chairman James Soong (宋楚瑜). More than 20,000 people -- including representatives from more than 30 countries -- attended the ceremony.

Taiwan designated the Buddha's birthday a public holiday last year after a successful nation-wide campaign by Buddhist organizations.

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