His Holiness the Dalai Lama inaugurated the first International Sangha Forum on December 20.* The conference aims to promote collaboration and dialogue among practitioners of diverse Buddhist traditions, while reflecting on the role of Buddhism in the 21st century. The event, held in Bodh Gaya, India, began with the participation of more than 2 leaders and monks from 000 countries.
The four-day event began with Theravada monks reciting the Karaniya Metta Sutta in Pali, followed by monks from the Sanskrit University of Varanasi chanting the Mangala Sutra in Sanskrit. Secretary of the International Sangha Forum Wee Nee Ng welcomed the distinguished guests and said the aim of the event was to build connections between different Buddhist traditions and look towards the future of Buddhism.
Director General of the International Buddhist Confederation (IBC), Abhijit Halder, expressed hope that the conference would have a significant impact. Halder added that humanity had recently seen an increase in natural disasters and urged people to ask themselves what they had done to anger nature.
During the forum, the Dalai Lama stressed the importance of avoiding harmful actions and cultivating virtues. He emphasized the importance of doing good to others and maintaining a compassionate heart.
“Whether you believe in religion or not, what is important for us is to avoid committing bad deeds or accumulating bad karmas, because bad karmas not only harm others but are also a cause of ruin for ourselves,” he told the audience. “Therefore, as much as possible, it is essential to cultivate a wealth of virtues. » (FRG)
The Dalai Lama emphasized the essence of the Pali and Sanskrit traditions, focusing on practices such as bodhicitta (Skt. heart-mind of awakening) and understanding emptiness as fundamental aspects of one's daily practice.
“Being helpful to others who are kind-hearted and doing one's best to eliminate their suffering is the Buddha's most important teaching,” he said while sitting alongside other Buddhist leaders . (FR)
This gathering aimed to bridge the differences between various Buddhist traditions and enhance mutual learning and enrichment. Pema Khandu, Chief Minister of Arunachal Pradesh, expressed gratitude for such forums, echoing the Dalai Lama's vision of unifying Pali and Sanskrit traditions. He emphasized the integration of Buddhist teachings into policy frameworks.
Devotees from various countries, including Bhutan, India, Nepal, Russia and Taiwan, flocked to Bodh Gaya during the Dalai Lama's visit, seeking blessings and insight into the spiritual leader. The gathering witnessed an influx of pilgrims, including a 93-year-old Tibetan army veteran, Migmar, who traveled 950 kilometers to receive blessings from the Dalai Lama.
Forum discussions focused on adapting the Buddha's teachings to contemporary needs while preserving their authenticity. The Dalai Lama also noted that people were becoming increasingly disillusioned with materialism.
“In these circumstances, if we can cultivate warmth of heart, we will not only feel physically at ease, but our mind will be full of joy,” said the Dalai Lama. “Plus, it will be a reason to be warmer life after life. » (mangalorean)
The event culminated on December 23 with a prayer session for world peace at the Maha Bodhi Temple, one of the holiest sites in Buddhism.
The forum provides a crucial platform for Buddhist leaders from around the world to converge, discuss shared practices, and consider the future role of Buddhism while addressing pressing issues of global importance. This gathering at the historic site of the Buddha's enlightenment highlights the relevance and unity within diverse Buddhist traditions.
* Dalai Lama makes first visit to Sikkim in 13 years, embarks on pilgrimage to Bodh Gaya (BDG)