"The Museum of World Religions belongs to all faiths. Its founding is inspiring
and encouraging interfaith dialogue so that we all work together to create peace
and understanding in the world we share."
If one sees Buddhist monks and nuns spreading their religion or raising funds among
the masses in Taiwan, the most usual explanations are that they wish to erect a
magnificent and reverent temple where monks and lay people can offer their worship
to Buddha or to build a hospital or refugee center. In other words, their desire
is to relieve people's physical suffering.Master Hsin Tao does not share this point
of view however. What he wishes to relieve is the suffering endured in people's
hearts and minds.
People are frequently inquisitive, wondering what kind of experiences might have
caused Master Hsin Tao to renounce the world and spend more than a decade in lonely
isolation, living in a cemetery pagoda and a rock cave on a desolate mountain, far
removed from the bustling and prosperous world. And, after Master Hsin Tao was awakened
to the truth and left this seclusion, what resources of strength and single-mindedness
of character propelled this bashful and modest man from Myanmar, who even when preaching
is soft-spoken, to work steadfastly to build an unprecedented museum of world religions
on the island of Taiwan, where most people care only about quick success and instant
Master Hsin Tao sees the world as a global village in which differences in nationality
or religious belief ought not to lead to division and disagreement. Unfortunately,
at present, religious conflict is a constant theme in numerous places around the
world. During the course of proclaiming the Buddhist truth, Master Hsin Tao has
learnt personally that the disorder that characterizes modern society is the result
of a decline in moral standards. At the same time, a loss of order amongst religions
themselves has left the general public unclear in its understanding of religion.
The traditional education system also fails to provide a good conduit for religious
belief. In response to these various problems, Master Hsin Tao's dream of the World
Religions Museum is to pioneer a correct form of religious education, to satisfy
the public's spiritual needs, and to provide a leisure place that serves both education
and enjoyment. He hopes to raise the standards of Taiwan's artistic and cultural
life, as well as to establish a tourist destination of international reputation
Taiwan has many different religions, and yet has no religious education system.
Moreover, a situation in which each religion is further split into numerous sects
and schools, including several who use the good name of religion to trick and swindle
the public, leaves ordinary people either very confused or reluctant to have any
dealings with religion. Alternatively, contact with a particular religious group
and a subsequent complete faith in the words uttered by an evangelist preacher,
leaves people with no means of distinguishing right from wrong which, at its most
serious, can cause grave problems in the family or society. Whilst not wishing to
pressurize everybody into embracing religion, Master Hsin Tao nevertheless thinks
that we ought to educate the general public in the basics of religious knowledge,
as only in this way can we prevent the a growth in superstitious beliefs and a wholesale
'loss of way'.
If, in following this reasoning, the Wu-sheng Monastery were to establish a museum
of Buddhist Teaching or to build a large temple, this would provide for the spiritual
care of local Buddhists. It would, moreover, be something the faithful would be
happy to see, and raising funds for such a venture would be easily accomplished.
Master Hsin Tao is aware, however, that such a plan would fall short of attaining
the broader objectives mentioned above. He is steadfast in his vision that the proposal
to set up a modern museum, which makes use of both educational and leisure to disseminate
and introduce religious knowledge, is the best approach and has yet to be improved
These experiences led to a process of careful consideration, from which emerged
the concept of a world religions museum heretofore unprecedented throughout the
world. Its mission is to emphasize international aspects and include every religious
belief of the world.