Inter-faith publication to be given to Unesco

Representatives from the Inter-Religious Organisation (left) praying together at the Inter-faith Chinese New Year Reunion yesterday. The set of books (below), to be made available to religious institutions, is not for sale.
Representatives from the Inter-Religious Organisation (above) praying together at the Inter-faith Chinese New Year Reunion yesterday. ST PHOTO: MARK CHEONG
Representatives from the Inter-Religious Organisation (left) praying together at the Inter-faith Chinese New Year Reunion yesterday. The set of books (below), to be made available to religious institutions, is not for sale.
The set of books (above), to be made available to religious institutions, is not for sale.ST PHOTO: MARK CHEONG

Set of 10 books by Singapore religious groups believed to be first of its kind

A publication by the inter-faith community in Singapore will be presented to Unesco in September, and is said to be the first of its kind in the world.

Simply titled 360, the publication is a compilation of 10 books.

Each book holds 360 scripture passages from holy texts of each of the 10 major religions here.

The project was initiated by Venerable Master Chin Kung, founder of a Buddhist college in Australia. Master Chin, a permanent resident here, worked with members of the inter-faith community, including the Inter-Religious Organisation, to produce the publication.

There was a soft launch in November last year and, yesterday, Master Chin spoke about the project for the first time.

Speaking in Mandarin to about 240 people at the event in Furama RiverFront hotel, he said: "(Perhaps) the various deities are hopeful that Singapore can become the model country for the rest of the world in... promoting cross-learning between the religions."

The event was presented by the hotel and IMC Organisation, which promotes multiculturalism.

He said each holy text can be voluminous, and it can take a long time to go through each one. The compilation features a "condensed version" of passages from each holy text , to make it easier for readers.

The 10 books have scriptural passages from the 10 main faiths practised here: the Baha'i faith, Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Islam, Jainism, Judaism, Sikhism, Taoism and Zoroastrianism.

Master Chin added: "We need to explain religious teachings clearly, explicitly and thoroughly, so that all followers have a clear understanding.

"Among religions, they need to mutually learn from one another. It is only through this that contradictions and conflicts can be avoided."

Education Minister Ong Ye Kung, guest of honour at the event, said having respect for other races and religions was important amid the growing trend of religious extremism. "The acts of extremists aim to harm what is most precious to our societies, which is the mutual trust and cohesion between communities. There is also worry of a rising political rhetoric that... propounds a more insular worldview and less tolerance for diversity," he said.

The publication is not for sale and will be made available to religious institutions.

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Education Minister Ong Ye Kung and representatives from the Inter-Religious Organisation at a lo-hei session.
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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 06, 2017, with the headline 'Inter-faith publication to be given to Unesco'. Print Edition | Subscribe