Beijing: Buddhism and Yoga, two of India`s most enduring spiritual symbols that made strong impact on China over the years, would be the focus of the attempts by
the two countries this month to expand the scope of cultural relations.
The two together are holding a major Buddhist conference in Beijing from June 18-20 this month and a India-China Yoga summit around the same time at the Chinese
city of Guangzhou in which eminent persons from the two countries were scheduled to participate.
The Buddhist conference will dilate on the theme "Mapping Asia`s history and culture".
"It will address how Buddhism defines Asia and became an integral part of its dynamic history," Arun Sahu, senior Indian diplomat, who heads the Indian Cultural Centre said today.
Like in the many South East Asian countries, the religion has taken deep roots in China ever since Huen Tsang (known as Xuan Zang in Chinese), the eminent ancient Chinese monk who travelled to India through the silk route in 630 AD
to bring Buddhism to his country.
Xuan Zang (602 AD - 664 AD) travelled to India, on foot to seek Buddhist sutras and brought about 657 Sanskrit texts with him and translated them into Chinese.
He along with another Chinese monk Fa-Hien paved the way for spread of Buddhism in China.
"While there were many different movements that integrated regions in Asia, Buddhism stood foremost as a cultural and intellectual event that linked the region in a unique way as it moved across the Asian space," Sahu said.
The conference would be addressed among others by Bihar Chief Minister, Nitish Kumar who will be arriving in China tomorrow for a study tour.
Simultaneously, the two countries are hosting China-India Yoga Summit at the industrial city of Guangzhou from June 16 to 19 in which the 93-year-old Indian yoga guru, BKS Iyengar would take part along with number of his
associates from China.
Iyengar name has become synonymous with yoga in China after several Chinese yoga enthusiasts travelled to India since mid 1990s to learn the art of yoga from him.
Currently, China has about 30,000 yoga clubs, 150,000 yoga teachers and approximately 20 millions yoga practitioners.
The summit was expected to be a big draw as this is the first time the octogenarian Iyangar is travelling to China, Indian Consul General to Guangzhou, Indra Mani Pandey