Pray for World Peace Feb 17, 2005

Taipei, Taiwan -- A group of performers of Buddhist music from the Chinese mainland has held a religious ceremony on the Taiwan island. The performers say their ceremony is a prayer for world peace, but is also aimed at promoting Buddhist exchanges across the straits.

People from Buddhist communities on the island welcomed the mainland performers with a grand ceremony. Seven masters from well-known mainland temples such as Shaolin, Baima and Dingguo were their most distinguished guests.

Shi Yongxin, abbot of Songshan Shaolin Temple, Henan, said, "I hope our visit will let more people on the island get a better understanding of Buddhist culture on the mainland. And I also hope this visit will promote cross-strait friendship."

Later, masters from the two sides chanted a famous Buddhist sutra together, and prayed for world peace. Monks from the Shaolin Temple also held a martial arts performance for the audience.

Lin Yishi, president of China Shaolin Association, said, "This is a rare chance for Buddhist communities from both sides. And it will help a lot in future cooperation between us. It also provides an opportunity for us to learn from each other."

This is the first time Buddhist communities from both sides of the Taiwan Straits have performed religious music on the same stage. The show will start next Friday and run for four days in Taipei and Kaohsiung. The performers will then take their music to Macao, Hong Kong, the United States and Canada.