On the morning of 5 September the INEB tour set off on the bus to return to Taipei. As the bus left Fo Guang Shan, Ajarn Sulak gave a talk about the importance of Buddhism adapting to the local culture. This promoted quite a lot of discussion. When the bus reached Taizhong we stopped at the Li-ren Organic Food Store (里仁有機商店). They kindly provided us with lunch boxes and we also had a little time to learn about their business. Again Buddhism was a strong influence on their business ideas. They believed there were three key points to promoting organic food: health, environmental protection and education.
When the bus reached Taipei the first stop was The Corporate Body of the Buddha Educational Foundation (佛陀教育基金會). I was familiar with this organisation as I have some of their publications, but I had never visited their office in Taipei before. I really admire the work this group does as all the books they publish are for free distribution. They have published books in twenty different languages.
Next we went to visit the Tzu Chi Hospital in Xindian where we were met by Ven. Chao Hwei. We had a short tour of the hospital followed by dinner. Everyone was very impressed by the high standard of the facilities. Ajarn Sulak had injured his finger shortly before he came to Taiwan and the staff at the hospital gave him some treatment for it.
The next day we visited BLTV or Buddha's Light Television (人間電視). This is a non-commercial television station run by Fo Guang Shan. BLTV broadcasts three kinds of programmes: news, Dharma talks and documentaries about NPOs. The latter was of most interest to INEB members. Some members have already produced documentaries about their work and others are working on making documentaries. BLTV could provide them with a chance to get their work screened.
The last place we visited on the tour was the Museum of World Religions (世界宗教博物館) in Yonghe. Master Hsin Tao (心道法師) came out of a retreat specially to meet with Ajarn Sulak. Master Hsin Tao gave a short talk and he mentioned the importance of tackling the problem of global warming. This issue is so important and I am glad that at least one religious leader in Taiwan is speaking out about it.
I walked around the museum with Ajarn Sulak. He then made the suggestion to Master Hsin Tao that a model of Angkor Wat could be added to the museum. Ajarn said there was already a model of Angkor Wat in the Grand Palace in Bangkok which could be copied.
On the final night in Taipei Ven. Chao Hwei and Ven. Shing Guang hosted a farewell dinner. It was a time for everyone to say thank you and good bye. I was grateful for the new friendships made and the old friendships renewed. The next INEB conference will be held in Siam in November 2009.