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Chinese Consulate Kolkata Holds Celebrations to Mark Hsuan Tsang Monastery 50th Anniversary

On 14 March 2018, the celebrations marking the 50th anniversary of the Hsuan Tsang Monastery, which is the only Chinese Buddhist temple in Kolkata, India, were held in Kolkata jointly by the monastery itself and the Lingyin Temple in Hangzhou, China, with the assistance from the Chinese Consulate General in Kolkata.

Mr Ma Zhanwu, the Chinese Consul General; Mr Javed Ahmed Khan, Minister-in-Charge for Disaster Management and Civil Defense of the State Government of West Bengal; Professor Maria Fernandes, member of the West Bengal Commission for Women's Affairs; Master Huirong of the monastery; Master Guangquan, Abbot from Lingyin Temple of Hangzhou China; Dr. Chalinda Bhante and Dr. Denanand, respectively Chief Monk and Care Taker of the Mahabodhi Temple in Bodhgaya, Bihar, India; Ms Rituparna Sengupta the famous Indian actress, were present at the celebrations.

Consul General Ma said in the inauguration that the Hsuan Tsang Monastery was built in the 1960s and named after the famous Chinese Buddhist monk and traveller who came to India about 1400 years ago. The monastery has since provided services to the local Chinese community and served as a place for Buddhist and other exchanges between China and India, thus becoming a symbol of China-India friendship.

Mr Ma said that China-India friendly exchanges have a long history, and the two countries started commercial and other interactions several thousand years ago, which contributed to the development of what was later called the Silk Road. Hsuan Tsang came to India by the Silk Road and took large numbers of Buddhist scripts back to China, and this helped the development and spread of Buddhism in China. His travelogue called Records of the Regions West of Great Tang increased China's understanding of the world at the time and kept a detailed record of the developments in ancient India, and has therefore played a very important role in the study of the Indian history and the relevant archaeological work. The story of Hsuan Tsang is a very good example in the friendly exchanges between the two nations, and his experience exemplify the Silk Road spirit featuring peaceful cooperation, openness, inclusiveness, mutual learning and mutual benefit. The Hsuan Tsang spirit characterized by perseverance, dedication to the original mission and determination to achieve the goal serves as an inspiration for people throughout the world.

Mr Ma hoped that the celebrations would enable the Indian people to better know Hsuan Tsang and the Chinese Buddhist culture as well as the history of the friendly exchanges between the two countries. It is also his hope that people from both countries can carry on the spirit of Hsuan Tsang and work hard to promote friendly exchanges and cooperation between the two great nations, enhance their mutual trust and push for continuous development in the bilateral relations in the new era.

Talking about the renovation of the monastery, Mr Ma emphasized that the Hsuan Tsang Monastery is a temple situated in India that features Chinese Buddhism and its renovation would require efforts by people from both countries. He called on all those present to give a helping hand especially financial support so that the renovation can be achieved at an early date and the monastery can perform its functions better and play a greater role in the people-to-people exchanges between the two countries.

Master Guangquan and Master Huirong and the other guests of honor also spoke at the inauguration, calling on people to remember the spirit of Hsuan Tsang and work hard to achieve the renovation of the monastery as soon as possible and join hands for more exchanges and cooperation between the two great countries.

Minister Khan and the other Indian guest of honor spoke about the traditional friendship between China and India, and the need to strengthen the bilateral ties through enhanced interactions between the two great peoples. They also paid tribute to the much work the Chinese Consulate had been doing to promote relations between China and East India.

A tea ceremony featuring Chinese Buddhist culture and recitings by Buddhists from China as well as lion dance and some martial arts performances were also presented on the occasion.

Lingyin Temple is a well-known Buddhist temple located in Hangzhou, China, and was founded in 326 AD by a Buddhist monk from India called Huili in Chinese pronunciation.

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