Welcoming e-Generation and Moving Toward Internet Dhamma Propagation
During the second meeting of the sixth Executive Committee in Sri Lanka in April 1999, the location of the seventh General Conference was discussed. Representatives from Australia and Vietnam applied to be the hosting country. However, ROC was granted as hosting country because of the past experiences organizing the third and fifth General Conference. Another reason according to Chinese Secretary General, Ven. Liao Chung Mahathera, was to celebrate President Ven. Wu Ming Mahathera 90th birthday in 2000. Once Ven. Liao Chung Mahathera returned to Taiwan, planning for the conference was initiated right away. The Buddhist communities in ROC were mobilized for preparation for the next General Conference. Unfortunately, English Secretary General, Ven. Dr. M. Wipulasara Mahathera passed away due to renal illness on October 21. The Secretariat of WBSC contacted Assistant English Secretary General, Ven. Dr. B. Wimalaratana Mahathera to fill in the position to continue with conference preparation. In memory of Ven. Dr. M. Wipulasara Mahathera and his dedication to WBSC, special mourning ceremony for him was arranged during the opening of the seventh General Conference.
The seventh General Conference of which theme is "Welcoming e-Generation and Moving Toward Internet Dhamma Propagation" took place at Central Asia Hotel in Taipei on November 11th, 2000. Ven. Liao Chung Mahathera as the chairman of the conference preparatory committee, hosted the opening. There were 400 Buddhist leaders from Asia, Europe, South and North America, and 700 members and attendees. Many VIPs also attended the conference to give speech and congratulations including ROC President, Shui-bian Chen, President of the Legislative Yuan, Jin-Pyng Wang, President of Interior Ministry, Po-ya Chang, and Mayor of Taipei, Ying-Jeou Ma. During the next two days, there were two congregational meetings, youth committee meeting, celebration for President of WBSC, Ven. Wu Ming Mahathera 90th birthday held at Hsuan Chuang University in Hsinchu City. The chairman of Buddhist Association of the ROC, Ven. Ching Hsin Mahathera Ven. Liao Chung Mahathera gave the keynote speech about "The Sangha in the Twentieth Century". The third plenary meeting was held at Tzuyun Temple in Kaohsiung on November 14th. During the meeting, the seventh Executive Committee members were elected. The closing ceremony took place at Yuan Heng Temple on November 15th, 2000.
During the three plenary meetings, Secretariat of WBSC, committees from different areas gave reports. The attendees discuss with focus on the conference theme of Welcoming e-Generation and Moving Toward Internet Dhamma Propagation. They all acknowledged the importance of utilizing internet and learning new technology. The future goals would be to develop internet information to enable the WBSC to be the communication center for sangha all over the world and utilize new technologies to propagate dhammaduta activities and Buddha's teaching.
The seventh Executive Committee members were elected during the third plenary meeting during the seventh General Conference. The Vice President and Chinese Secretary General, Ven. Liao Chung Mahathera was elected as President unanimously by Buddhist leaders and delegates from twenty-two countries. Ven. Wu Ming Mahathera and Ven. Kok Kwong Mahathera from Hong Kong were appointed as Honorary President and Vice President. Ven. Hui Pen Mahathera as the chairman of China Buddhist Sangha Council ( English translation from its website of China Buddhist Sangha Council )was elected to be Chinese Secretary General and Ven. Dr. B. Wimalaratana Mahathera from Sri Lanka as English Secretary General.
During the closing ceremony at Yuan Heng Temple on November 15th, the mission statement was declared:
1. Buddhism has been prevailing for two thousand years in different eras and areas because its ability to integrate into regional cultures and adjustment to different ways to propagate Buddha's teaching. Therefore, it is necessary to improve how to preach Buddhism and to have a new thinking that keeps pace with the times.
2. The new century has arrived. Science is changing very passing day. This is the time r for rapid advancement in technology and the era of knowledge explosion. Internet information has become an indispensable part of everyone’s daily life. Therefore, the most convenient way to convey knowledge is internet. How to use internet wisely will be the key to convey knowledge effectively and efficiently. It should be WBSC's goal to develop web information and internet technology so the WBSC becomes the contact center for sangha.
3. Through this conference, understanding and practicing dharma is achieved. It is also imperative to learn internet information and new technology to promote Buddhism.
This conference was closed successfully. The delegates and attendees from different countries really appreciated the hospitality and warm reception from the organizer. They were very impressed with the modern and update teaching facilities at Hsuan Chuang University which was founded by Ven. Liao Chung. They all learned about the education philosophy of Ven. Liao Chung.
Based on the needs of development of WBSC's ministries, the Secretariat held two meetings after the seventh General Conference. The first meeting was in Taipei on March 12th, 2001 and the second meeting was in Kaohsiung on July 26th, 2001. President, Ven. Liao Chung hosted the meetings and people attended including Chinese and English Secretary General, Assistant Chinese and English Secretary General, and General Treasurer. The meeting agenda included discussion of secretariat work, personnel improvement, and the amendment of the articles of WBSC. It was decided the amendment of the articles of WBSC would be the main focus agenda for the next Executive Committee meeting in Sydney, Australia. Application of new membership would not be accepted before the finalization of constitution amendment.
Secretariat set up the email address as firstname.lastname@example.org based on the conclusion of the seventh General Conference. The website for WBSC was also completed as http://www.wbsc886.org . Hopefully, it will be used frequently by the members. The fax number for WBSC was changed to 886-2-23913770. Based on the decision of the second meeting of the sixth Executive Committee, the first meeting of the seventh Executive Committee was held in Sydney, Australia from November 9th to 13th, 2001. It was organized by Australia New Zealand Vietnam United Buddhist Association and led by Ven. Thich Phuoc-Hue Mahathera and Ven. Thich Phuoc-An Mahathera as secretary general. This meeting was the first international Buddhist meeting organized by Australia. WBSC activities were introduced to this multi-cultural and multi-religious emerging country.
The locaiotn of the second meeting of the seventh Executive Committee was decided at the second meeting of the sixth Executive Committee. The meeting was organized by Singapore Buddhist Association. Singapore Buddhist Association also kindly offered to planned the temporary meeting for constitution amendment from November 23rd to 27th, 2002. Under the leadership of chairman, Ven. Long Ken Mahathera, the preparatory committee actively carried out various tasks. It was greatly expected to amend the constitution successfully and lead the WBSC toward the milestone of the "e" era.