Press Release for the 5th International Daoism Forum
Statement Released by the Taoist Association of China
Zhang Gaocheng, Vice President of the Taoist Association of China
(September 24, 2023)
Distinguished members of the press, ladies and gentlemen,
Good day to all! On behalf of the Taoist Association of China (TAC), one of the primary organizers for the 5th International Daoism Forum, I extend my heartfelt gratitude to you all for gracing this press conference. We deeply appreciate your enduring interest and unwavering support for this event.
Looking back, in 2007, we held an International Forum on the Dao De Jing in Xi'an and Hong Kong, themed "Harmonious World Communicates Through the Dao". This event provided a platform for enthusiasts, scholars, and practitioners of the Dao De Jing from around the world, facilitating profound discussions on the rich nuances and wisdom embedded within Daoist culture. The positive reception and success of this forum not only resonated with many but also accumulated invaluable experience for hosting international Daoist cultural exchanges. Building on this foundation, in 2011, we expanded the scope of the forum and successfully held the International Daoism Forum in Nanyue (Southern Sacred Peak), Hunan Province, focusing on "Respect to the Dao and Honor Virtue for Harmonious Co-existence". This further deepened the accomplishments of the previous forum, emphasizing the foundational teachings of Daoism and its advocacy for harmony and unity. In 2014, at Longhu Mountains in Jiangxi, we hosted the third session of the International Daoism Forum, centered around the theme "Promote the Dao and Establish Virtue, Aid the World and Benefit Others". This continued our exploration of Daoist insights into ethics, wellness, and environmental conservation. By 2017, we shifted our venue to Wudang Mountains in Hubei for the fourth iteration, themed "Dao - the Brick of Nature, De - the Fabric of Civilization". This forum showcased the inclusive and holistic spirit of Daoism, emphasizing the reverence for the Dao and the value of virtue, while highlighting the unique features of Wudang Daoist culture, such as Tai Chi and wellness. It also amplified our efforts in real-time reporting through digital and new media platforms.
The year 2023 marks a momentous juncture. This March, President Xi Jinping introduced one of his "Three Major Initiatives", emphasizing a Global Civilization Initiative that underlines the significance of respecting the diversity of world civilizations and the building of a community with a shared future for mankind. Central to this initiative is the commitment to fostering exchanges and mutual learning between different civilizations. Prioritizing the sound and robust transmission of Daoism, and leveraging its rich cultural heritage to enrich global civilization, has become the paramount focus of our endeavors.
As an old Chinese saying goes: “A time will come to ride the wind and cleave the waves. I'll set my cloud-white sail and cross the sea which raves!” Seizing this golden moment, and following a successful 16-year trajectory since hosting the International Forum on the Dao De Jing, we are privileged to organize the 5th International Daoism Forum, themed "Revering the Dao and Upholding Virtue, Moving Forward with the World", taking place on September 24th and 25th at Maoshan in Jiangsu Province. This esteemed forum is jointly sponsored by the Taoist Association of China and the China Religious Culture Communication Association, organized by the Jiangsu Organizing Committee of the 5th International Daoism Forum, and co-hosted by the Taoist Associations of Hong Kong, Macao, and the Taoist Association Headquarters(Taiwan). We've extended invitations to over 500 delegates from both domestic and international Daoist communities, academia, and related fields.
This iteration of the forum endeavors to amplify the accomplishments of its predecessors, delving deeper into Daoist wisdom as it pertains to well-being, moral edification, cultural propagation, and international dialogue. Our aim is to accentuate Daoism's modern relevance and global appeal, showcase its robust legacy, foster increased interaction within Daoist communities from Mainland China, Hong Kong, Macao, and Taiwan, strengthen the nexus of Chinese and international Daoist, cultural, and academic realms, and cultivate Daoism's external communication brand.
The forum's comprehensive itinerary includes a prayer, the Inaugural Meeting of the World Federation of Daoism, and an opening ceremony scheduled for September 24th. Activities on the 25th encompass the main forum, several sub-forums, TV forums, new media forums, and a closing ceremony. Concurrently, there will be an exhibition showcasing Daoist culture.
The five sub-forums will be centered around the following themes: "Dao Guiding the Past and Present: The Contemporary Value of Daoism", "Adapting Teachings to Different Circumstances: Heritage and Innovation in Daoism", "The All-Pervading Great Dao: The Practice of Internationalization of Daoism", "The Boundlessness of the Great Dao: The Global Communication of Daoism" and "Transmitting Daoist Principles: Daoist Capacity Building". Notably, two of these sub-forums will primarily feature speakers from the academic community, while two will predominantly host speakers from the Daoist realm. The TV forum topic is "The Profound Simplicity of the Great Dao: Daoism and Well-being", and the new media forums will discuss "May Heaven be Preserved Eternally: Daoism and Ecological Governance" and "Grotto-Heavens and Blissful Lands: Daoism and the Immortal Realm Maoshan".
These themes, rooted deeply in Daoist cultural principles, reflect contemporary contemplation in today's context. The intention is to explore how Daoism can maintain its essence, innovate, and progress with the times, engaging in meaningful dialogue and mutual learning with other civilizations.
Taking advantage of the momentum of this forum, the long-anticipated establishment ceremony for the World Federation of Daoism will be convened during the event. Comprising 52 founding member organizations from 20 countries spanning Asia, Europe, the Americas, and Oceania, the establishment is not only a grand and joyous occasion for the entire Daoist community but also a monumental milestone in the millennia-long history of Daoism. It holds profound significance for propelling ancient Daoism onto the global stage and plays a pivotal role in promoting peace, development in human societies, and fostering a shared destiny for mankind.
Through this forum, we aspire to gain a deeper understanding of Daoism's principle of "Moving Forward with the World", elucidate its philosophy advocating harmonious coexistence among individuals, society and nature, and harness the vitality Daoism offers, not only for its own renaissance but also to contribute its unique wisdom to the sustainable development of China and our “global village”.
In conclusion, I wish you tranquility and good fortune, prosperity for our nation, and peace and serenity for the world.
Thank you all!