Dr. Wei Yang at the Buddha Museum in June, 2022
炎炎夏日，佛館迎來了一位特殊的客人—英國社會科學院院士楊威博士。她為佛館注入了一陣來自英倫的清風。 6 月上旬從倫敦抵達佛館的楊威博士，早在2017年就曾將佛光山出版的《世界佛教美術圖說大辭典》推薦給大英圖書館，並促成了這套書的捐贈。而她與佛光山、與星雲大師的因緣更可以追溯到其外祖父，丁俊生居士。一九四九年，時任台灣監察委員的丁俊生居士參與營救了包括星雲大師在內的眾多被無故解押的僧侶。
Model of Garden Cities by Sir Ebenezer Howard
採訪中， 楊威博士首先解釋了什麼是「田園城市」。「田園城市」的概念，是 100 年前由英國霍華德爵士提出的。「田園城市」與「人間淨土」的理念有很多共通之處-「慈悲和無我」。建設一座「田園城市」，更多關注的是如何讓一個城市成為宜居的地方，讓人與自然能夠和諧共生，所有的人住在裡面心中能夠安住喜悅。
Summer heat at the Buddha Museum was chilled down by British breezes carried along by a special guest – Fellow of Academy of Social Sciences Dr. Wei Yang. Arriving from London in early June, Yang was the key figure who facilitated the donation of the Encyclopedia of Buddhist Arts to the British Library back in 2017. Her affinities with Fo Guang Shan and Venerable Master Hsing Yun can be traced back to her grandfather, Ding Junsheng. In 1949, being a Member of Taiwan Control Yuan, Ding rescued Venerable Master Hsing Yun and many other monks from detention.
Dr. Wei Yang with FGS Head Abbot, Most Venerable Hsin Bau and other Venerables in June, 2022
In an interview, Yang explained the concept of "Garden Cities", which was created by Sir Ebenezer Howard in Britain 100 years ago. Similar to the principles of “Humanistic Pure Land”, the concept of “Garden Cities” are based on "compassion and selflessness", and focus on how to make a city liveable, and how to live in harmony with nature, so that people can live with peace and joy.
Humanistic Pure Land and Garden Cities
When describing the Buddha Museum, Dr. Yang shared a four-line verse: the environment is natural and eco-friendly; the architecture is majestic and beautiful; there is harmony between people; and everyone is filled with peace and joy. In 2022, Yang used her time during Covid-19 lockdown to co-author a book, Humanistic Pure Land and Garden Cities with her friend, Venerable Ru Chang, Director of the Fo Guang Shan Buddha Museum. A reader opening it from one side will read about the Humanistic Buddhism; from the other, Garden Cities. This ingenious design highlights the interconnection between the two concepts of “Humanistic Pure Land” and "Garden Cities", especially their relevance and application in the 21st Century.