The spread of Zen and the compatibility of cultures
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Professor Xu, who is also Director of the
“We are grateful to Professor Xu for sparing time to share his insights on Buddhism with us,” said Professor H K Chang, CityU President. “His enthusiasm in pursuing knowledge of spiritual topics like Buddhism reflects his serious attitude towards knowledge acquisition.”
The inspiration of Buddhism
In his lecture, Professor Xu recapped the major doctrines of Buddhism, and how it spread to
During the expansion of Buddhism, the differences and similarities among cultures were acknowledged. "Each culture needs nourishment from another culture," Professor Xu said. “A reluctance to accept differences hampers the advancement of culture and leads to decay... A time of peace is also critical to the successful convergence of different cultures,” Professor Xu observed. “Peace facilitates the development of multi-culturalism.” Buddhism spread from
To absorb a different culture, Professor Xu asserted, it must become part of oneself. The transformation has to begin from the outermost layer, that is, the physical and material aspects of life, such as food and clothing. Literature, arts, etiquette, law, policies and religions comprise the middle layer of culture, while values contribute to the innermost layer.
It takes time for cultures to converge and merge. While it took 600 to 700 years for Zen to spread into
CityU has clear and unique positioningIn addition to delivering his lecture, Professor Xu also met with the Senior Management and Faculty/School Deans, and toured the Chinese Civilisation Centre, the Language Information Sciences Research Centre and the School of Creative Media. Professor Xu was impressed with the achievements of CityU despite its brief history and relatively small campus. He recognized the University’s wise deployment of resources and its efficient and advanced management systems. Professor Xu commended CityU’s vision in accurately positioning itself as a provider of professional education. “CityU has gained a unique position. The strengths of the University are well-matched with the needs of
Though technology-based, the University places great emphasis on fostering international collaboration and promotion of Chinese culture. Professor Xu praised CityU’s efforts and success in utilizing technology for teaching Chinese culture. He remarked that cultural literacy is a key to the nurturing of talented people and he urges university students to pursue cultural studies. Professor Xu hopes that more mainland universities will come to CityU to learn from the Chinese Civilisation Centre's example.
CityU as a convergent point of cultures
Professor Xu also shared Professor H K Chang’s view that CityU serves society beyond
Professor Xu said that Chinese and foreign cultures converge either linearly or at specific points.
“Professor Xu’s remarks and advice to CityU are very encouraging,” Professor Chang responded. “We'll continue to do our best to live up to Professor Xu’s expectations.”
CityU will hold two more 20th anniversary Distinguished Lectures: one by Mr Xiao Yang, President and Chief Justice of the Supreme People’s Court of China; and another by Mr Orhan Pamuk, a renowned Turkish writer, on 12 and 25 November, respectively.