“India and China share a long tradition of wisdom and spirituality,” said spiritual leader and humanitarian Sri Sri Ravi Shankar as he inaugurated the first Art of Living ashram on the outskirts of Beijing on Sunday, October 24, 2010.
Hundreds of Chinese devotees gathered for this event which was followed by a satsang. The event was attended by representatives of Chinese Peoples Association of Friendship of Foreign Countries (CPAFFC), a government- backed body.
Other dignitaries at the event included Hang da Lin, Executive Director Buddhism association and World Buddhist peace foundation; Cui Zhong San, Tai Chi association, Vice President Master of Yang’s Tai Chi; Lei Yuan, Dean, Beijing institute of Eastern studies; Li Quan Yang Xiao, CEO of Beijing Knowledge bank, Director, State Asset Administration Association; Sun Xue Qing, Director ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations); Qu Xiao Quang, Vice Secretary General, Beijing Anti-drug association.
Thanking the Communist party of China for their support, Sri Sri said, “Confucianism, Taoism, Buddhism and Upanishads all point to the fact that peace is within us and we need to share it with everyone. One of China’s contributions to the world has been Kung Fu and Tai Chi which has brought alertness and good health. India has taught yoga and breathing techniques since thousands of years. The Art of Living Beijing ashram will not only serve the purpose and needs of the people in China but will draw people from all over the world to experience the hospitality of the Chinese.”
On October 25, Sri Sri was received by Mr. Chen Hao Su, President of the CPAFFC. The meeting was part of the event to celebrate the 60th anniversary of Indo - China diplomatic relationship. Mr. Chen Hao Su said, “We hope to extend co-operation for your contribution to the health of our people. The main task of our organization is to set up good relations with other countries; also we need to establish harmonious relations with people.”
Monday afternoon witnessed the first of its kind Art of Living Health and Happiness yoga camp at the ashram. Wu Jian Wei, a businessman who participated said, “It was a wonderful workshop. I have done The Art of Living course earlier too. After doing it, there is harmony in the family. Chinese and Indian spirituality are like twin brothers from the same origin.”
During his two-day tour, Sri Sri will also be the Chief Guest at a program titled ‘Conversations of the Masters’. The program will be an interactive session between Sri Sri and other prominent religious leaders such as Mr. Chang Da Lin, Executive director of the Buddhist Association of China and President of the World Buddhist Peace Foundation, Pundit Ren Fa Rong, President of the China Taoist Association and member of National CPPCC standing committee, Mr. Cui Zhong San, Vice President of China Tai Chi Chuan Association and Professor Lei Yuan, Director of Cultural Institute of Historical Resources in Beijing University.
On October 26, Sri Sri will also address the management students on ‘How to be successful in various aspects of life’ at the Tsing Hua University in Beijing.
This is the first ever visit by an Indian spiritual leader to mainland China. Several Art of Living teachers from Bangalore have visited and trained over two dozen Chinese teachers in Shanghai and Beijing. The Art of Living courses are taught in 15 cities across the mainland since a decade. China now becomes the 9th country in the world to have an Art of Living ashram.