¡®Encyclopedia of Buddhist Arts¡¯ for Victoria University

Holding true to the concept of spreading Buddhism through education and spearheading the study of Buddhist Arts, in line with the promotion of inter-faith cultural exchanges, on the 3rd of November 2017, led by Venerable Abbess Manshin, a team from Fo Guang Shan (FGS) North Island carried out the gifting ceremony of ¡®Encyclopedia of Buddhist Arts¡¯ to Victoria University of Wellington. The FGS team consisted of Venerable Rulian, FGS North Island Chief Advisor Dolly Tsai, BLIA North Island No 3. Subchapter president Michelle Pang and 10 other Committee Members. They were welcome on arrival by Professor Paul Morris, Professor Joseph Bulbulia, Dr Geoff Troughton, Professor Michael Radich, Administration Manager Annie Mercer, all from the School of Art History, Classics and Religious Studies, Victoria University of Wellington. Also in the welcoming party were Librarians Justin Cargill and Olivia Baldwin-Denton, other Administrative Staffs and research students.

In the ceremony, Professor Paul Morris represented the University in receiving the ¡®Encyclopedia of Buddhist Arts¡¯. He promised that at all times, all efforts will be made to keep the Encyclopedia in good conditions, and he hoped the Encyclopedia will assist in the research work of the scholars and professors. Professor Morris recounted how he became a friend of Fo Guang Shan New Zealand (FGS NZ) and said that the people of Auckland are lucky to have Fo Guang Shan (FGS) Temple, a serene yet solemn place, to carry out their religious activities. Everyone is welcome to visit the Temple to recharge oneself. Professor Morris thanked Venerable Abbess Manshin for having her team in Victoria University of Wellington to hand over the Chinese and English editions of the 20 volume ¡®Encyclopaedia of Buddhist Arts¡¯. These rich and beautiful sets of books will not only be much sought after by the general readers, but will definitely be made full use of by the researchers and professors of the School of Art History, Classics and Religious Studies.

Venerable Abbess Manshin then proceeded to introduce to the audience the background behind to the creation of the Encyclopaedia; the interesting contents gathered therein and; the meticulous ways involved in its preparation. Every photo was counter-checked 7 times to ensure good value and high quality. As the materials came from different language backgrounds such as Pali and Sanskrit, they had to undergo translations and rigorous editing. It took 15 years to publish the Chinese version of the Encyclopaedia and another 2 years, the English version. FGS NZ was very pleased to gift both the Chinese and the English editions of the Encyclopaedia to Victoria University of Wellington and hoped that they would be of help in the researches into Buddhism. This would also strengthen the relationship between FGS NZ and Victoria University.

Professor Michael Radich, who had visited Fo Guang University, Taiwan and Hsi Lai University in United States, was awed by and full of praises for the efforts put into education by Fo Guang Shan. He thanked FGS, being a global organisation, for continuously providing valuable publications and educational materials to the Education Fraternity. An example of this is the publication of the ¡®Fo Guang Buddhist Dictionary¡¯ which enables the researchers and scholars to have richer and deeper understanding of Buddhism. The present set of ¡®Encyclopaedia of Buddhist Arts¡¯ is one of the most valuable gifts FGS has given to the World. Everyone should be grateful and appreciative of the effort put in by FGS.