Pakistan is hosting a three-day conference on Gandharan Buddhism this week in hopes of fostering greater harmony between Buddhist and non-Buddhist nations in the region and showcasing their preservation of ancient Buddhist sites. The symposium, titled "Cultural Diplomacy: Reviving Gandhara Civilization and Buddhist Heritage in Pakistan", is attended by a number of diplomats, tourism promoters, interfaith experts and others from China, Malaysia, Nepal , South Korea, Sri Lanka, Thailand and Vietnam.
Pakistani President Arif Alvi said the country hopes to step up efforts to promote diplomacy through religious tourism. During his address at the symposium, Alvi noted that hatred, polarization and conflict are on the rise in the world, giving greater urgency to those who wish to promote dialogue between nations and cultures.
The event was organized by Prime Minister's Task Force on Gandhara Tourism, Islamabad Institute for Strategic Studies (ISSI) and Directorate of Archeology and Museums of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Government.
The head of the Prime Minister's Task Force on Tourism in Gandhara, Dr. Ramesh Kumar Vankwani, said the event aims to promote peace, interfaith harmony and a welcoming atmosphere for tourists in Pakistan.
"The objective of the symposium is to raise global awareness of the historical and cultural significance of the Gandhara civilization and the Buddhist heritage in Pakistan," he said. “After this great event, we will organize a nationwide Gandhara Art Competition to involve students and artists in promoting Gandhara tourism at home and abroad. » (Pakistan today, dawn)
Prof. Haridaya Ratna, former Vice Chancellor of Lumbini Buddhist University, Nepal expressed his joy upon arriving in Islamabad for the symposium.
“The Mahayan Buddhism that we practice in Nepal came from Gandhara in our country and I am deeply touched to be here. It is a heritage and a legacy that we share between Kathmandu and Pakistan,” Prof. Dr. Ratna said. “People went from Gandhara to Nepal via Tibet and now we pay tribute to Taxila and other regions by visiting these places. It is the place from where the light of Buddhism has spread all over the world. (Dawn)
Malaysian monk Ven. Jue Chenk supported this view, saying that Buddhists from all over the world should come to Pakistan. “I feel very touched, I can't explain it. I am impressed by the hospitality of the Pakistanis; it's a beautiful country,” Ven. said Jue Chenk. “Pakistan has a precious history. (Dawn)
Gandhara was one of the most important regions for the development of early Buddhism, as it spread beyond northwest India, where it originated. Located in present-day Pakistan and Afghanistan, Gandhara once hosted a thriving trade between the Greek and Persian empires to the west, India to the south and east, and China to the north and east. all connected by the Silk Road, which traveled first north and then east through Dunhuang in central China.
The rediscovered cities of the Gandhara region display elements of art from many civilizations and periods, providing archaeologists with often detailed clues to life and practices of the time. Paintings, sculptures, pottery and coins all offer glimpses of a still-veiled past.