On January 28, the Hong Kong Spiritual Assembly of Bahá'ís held its annual interfaith event, World Religion Day, celebrated since 1950. The aim is to highlight the potential of religions to unite humanity, rather than to divide it. and the idea that the spiritual principles underlying the world's religious traditions are fundamentally harmonious. The event celebrated the role of young people with the theme: “Youth as light of the world: fostering spiritual and community well-being.”
This year's World Religion Day was held at Citic Tower in the Central business district, and EY wavespace provided the venue. The Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá'ís of Hong Kong has always played a leading role in connecting the city's different religious communities in a spirit of interfaith friendship and mutual understanding. Dr. David A. Palmer, professor at the University of Hong Kong (HKU) Institute of Humanities and Social Sciences, Department of Sociology and Office of Bahá'í Community Relations, served as Master of Ceremonies . Guests and friends from diverse backgrounds came together to mingle and exchange ideas and experiences in dialogue sessions, prayers, devotions, performances and small group discussions.
As is the case with every World Religions Day in Hong Kong and around the world, Bahá'ís brought together different songs, prayers and performances to uplift and inspire the audience and participants. Dr. Palmer moderated a series of speakers from Islamic, Sikh, Christian and other religious traditions, all of whom gave speeches about the role they envisioned for young people in their communities and the world at large. Students from several Hong Kong universities made up a large portion of the participants. Then the room divided into different groups to discuss guided questions among themselves, such as how young people could leverage their faith tradition to help them find their calling in life. Many groups came to the conclusion summed up by the idea that young people are both particularly vulnerable, but also more empowered, more informed and more motivated than ever, young people represent the future of the entire planet and of the humanity.
The Buddhist speaker chosen for this year's occasion was Stream of the Hong Kong University Students' Union Society for Buddhist Studies. He gave a presentation on how he began taking Buddhism seriously while studying and how Buddhist teachings of non-attachment, wisdom and compassion can benefit young people. The Society for Buddhist Studies seeks to demystify Dharma practice and philosophy for busy and stressed university students. It has a threefold purpose: to understand and promote Buddhism among classmates, to share the compassion, wisdom and peace of the Buddha with students, and to enhance students' understanding of and interest in the Dharma.
The event concluded with a Buddhist Vajrayana mantra, a Catholic prayer and, finally, a Baha'i devotional song. The hope of the Bahá'í community, which sees all faiths as possessing an underlying unity, is that young people make "decisive contributions to the advancement of spiritual and material civilization." (The Bahá'í Faith)
The Bahá'í Faith in Hong Kong
YOUTH (The Bahá'í Faith)
Bahá'í Community of Hong Kong 香港巴哈伊團體
香港大學佛學會 Buddhist Studies Society, HKU Facebook
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World Religion Day in Hong Kong, 2023