China starts English training program for Buddhists

Xinhua, Nov 5, 2008

SHANGHAI, China -- China on Tuesday launched an English training program for Buddhist followers to better prepare them for foreign exchange.

The program, organized by the China Religious Culture Communication Association (CRCCA) and the Buddhist Association of China (BAC), opened at the Shanghai International Studies University.

Qi Xiaofei, deputy head of the CRCCA, said at the opening ceremony that the half-year course would train translators and interpreters for the Second World Buddhist Forum, scheduled to be held in China next year.

More than 20 Buddhist followers from monasteries nationwide, who had a certain level of English proficiency, were selected for the training.

Qi said he hoped the project would serve as a beginning course to attract more Buddhist followers to learn foreign languages so that China could have more followers with a global view.

Elder Master Yicheng, president of the BAC, said that with the rise of China's national strength, exchanges between the Chinese Buddhist circle and those elsewhere in the world had become more frequent.

It was imperative for China to train people who could spread Buddhist teachings in other languages and the program was a step in that direction, he said.

China hosted the first World Buddhist Forum in April 2006.