By Jason Cheng / Moscow, Russia
Right after his visit to New York, the president of the Federation of World Peace and Love (FOWPAL) and Zhang-men-ren (grandmaster) of Tai Ji Men, Dr. Hong, Tao-Tze, immediately led the FOWPAL Cultural Goodwill Group to Russia on September 25 to promote love, peace, and the movement of An Era of Conscience through cultural exchanges. This is another peace trip for the group, following its meetings with Pope Benedict XVI, former UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan, heads of state, and leaders from different fields on previous journeys. Over the years, the group has been spreading positive energy to help stabilize the world.
"We Russians are peace-loving people, and we hope you can deliver this message to other countries in the world," said one of the many kind-hearted Russians the group met during the trip. They eagerly expressed that they were peace-loving and would like to change people's stereotype of Russia.
St. Petersburg, often referred to as the Venice of the North, is a historical and cultural city in Russia. With the crystal clear Neva River flowing through it, the city is blessed with extremely beautiful river banks. Since Peter the Great built the Peter Paul Fortress in St. Petersburg in 1703, the city has witnessed important chapters of the Russian history and preserved numerous treasures of traditional Russian culture.
On the afternoon of September 27, the group was invited to the Smolny Institute, the office of the Governor of St. Petersburg, and was received by Mr. Viacheslav Kalganov, Deputy Chairman of the Committee for External Relations of St. Petersburg, on behalf of the governor. Mr. Kalganov praised FOWPAL's fostering love and peace and Tai Ji Men's promoting the culture of qigong and martial arts. He was interested in Dr. Hong's idea about love and peace and humbly asked for his advice on municipal administration and methods of promoting martial arts. He showed his willingness and enthusiasm to facilitate Dr. Hong’s promotion of love and peace. After watching the video of Tai Ji Men's performance titled “Passing on the Torch, Heart to Heart" at the 2017 Universiade opening ceremony, Mr. Kalganov was very impressed and amazed by the presentation of profound qigong and martial arts.
Dr. Hong explained that Tai Ji Men qigong and martial arts have been passed down from generation to generation for thousands of years. It is not for competition, but for the promotion of martial morality. Dr. Hong also shared that he went through a war when he was one year old, and escaped bombing in his mother's arms in a bomb shelter.
For this reason, Dr. Hong deeply realized the cruelty of war and the importance of the promotion of love and peace, which requires the joint efforts of every country in the world. This is why he still continues leading the group, which has visited over 70 countries, to unite the hearts of all mankind through cultural exchanges, and FOWPAL members have always self-funded their trips. Dr. Hong wished all heads of state to ring the Bell of World Peace and Love and to embrace the wisdom of defusing conflicts and creating peace so as to lead their people and global citizens toward a world free of wars and sufferings.
Dr. Hong has a profound understanding of how culture can impact a nation's development. As Russia has been making efforts in preserving traditional Russian culture, it has also brought great benefits to the development of the country. A fine culture brings quality education, which leads to good economic development, and that enhances peace and affluence in a nation. When there is peace, there is love. All human beings are equal, and we are all brothers and sisters of this big global family.
Mr. Kalganov admired Dr. Hong's philosophy and concrete actions. He wished to join Dr. Hong to promote peace. He also hoped that Dr. Hong on his world trip could tell the world that Russians are peace-loving. Mr. Kalganov gave an exquisite clock to Dr. Hong, wishing that whenever Dr. Hong sees the clock, he would remember to schedule another visit to Russia. Dr. Hong also gave gifts to Mr. Kalganov, including his papers published over the years at different international conferences. Dr. Hong hoped that the wisdom of the balance of Tai Ji and the philosophy of yin and yang could help global leaders turn the crisis into an opportunity for the world to change for the better at this crucial moment of human history.
P1: President of FOWPAL, Dr. Hong, Tao-Tze (right) presented a customized crystal featuring a celestial dragon to Mr. Viacheslav Kalganov (left), Deputy Chairman of the Committee for External Relations of St. Petersburg.
P2: FOWPAL Cultural Goodwill Group was invited to the Smolny Institute, the office of the Governor of St. Petersburg, on the afternoon of September 27.
P3: On behalf of the Governor of St. Petersburg, Mr. Viacheslav Kalganov, Deputy Chairman of the Committee for External Relations of St. Petersburg, praised FOWPAL's fostering love and peace and Tai Ji Men's promoting the culture of qigong and martial arts.