India has hosted scholars and experts from several countries under the banner of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO). The conference, held March 14-15, highlighted India's past, present and future role as a hotbed of Buddhist cultural exchange.
The SCO with members with delegates present included Bahrain, Belarus, China, Kazakhstan, Myanmar, Pakistan, Russia, Tajikistan and the United Arab Emirates.
“Cross-cultural ties between Central Asian and Southeast Asian nations need to be rekindled, and the spiritual artery of Buddhism remains in India,” an official told reporters at the conference. “And the effort is (ongoing) for the revival of Buddhist culture that the SCO can give impetus to given the common bonds despite the differences. (The Hindu)
The two-day conference was organized by India's Ministry of Culture, Ministry of External Affairs and the International Buddhist Confederation (IBC), as a beneficiary agency of the Ministry of Culture.
"The objective of the conference is to re-establish cross-cultural links, to seek commonalities between Central Asian Buddhist art, artistic styles, archaeological sites and antiquity in the collections of various museums in the countries of the 'OCS,' the IBC said in a statement. statement. (The Hindu)
Another conference official noted that Buddhism could be used to build a common cultural line among all SCO countries.
Dr. A. Imran Shauket, Advisor to the Pakistan Tourism Coordination Board and Promoter of Pakistani Buddhist Heritage, addressed the media at the conference. “This session is just a very clear example of the wonderful role that India is really playing. . . I am very, very impressed,” he said. “I look forward to India, Pakistan and other countries working together. " (Youtube)
Asked about the role of Buddhism in the process, Dr Shauket replied: “Obviously this Buddhist civilization, if we were to look at it, is actually the first glue that holds all these countries and cultures together. . . . It would be great to be able to go back in history and forget the differences and go back to how we were all connected back then. (Youtube)
Pakistan's Swat Valley was once a hub of Buddhist society, as Buddhist traders and missionaries traveled from India to Central Asia along the Silk Road. Today the valley is a site of great interest to archaeologists, with several hundred Buddhist monasteries yet to be discovered and explored.
Dr Shauket noted that the Peshawar Museum in Pakistan housed many important Buddhist artifacts, including the remains of several scripts written in the Sharda and Pali languages. He extended an invitation to Indian scholars saying, “The doors were open for Indian scholars to study and decode them, as well as to visit Buddhist sites in Pakistan.” (The Hindu)
Indian Union Minister G. Kishan Reddy expressed the hope that soon the whole world would receive the Buddha's message.
Chinese researcher Dr. Shengliang Zhao spoke about the historical ties between China and India. Speaking through a translator, he noted, “India and China are celebrating a huge and historic history. This is what brings India and China together. And this conference is a huge message from India and China coming together in all aspects, be it cultural or peaceful, so that they move forward together with this peaceful heritage. (Youtube)
Union Minister of State for External Affairs Meenakashi Lekhi suggested that Buddhism represented the unique thought and philosophy that held the SCO countries together: "When we look at the life of Buddha, Buddha is born here and his first sermon until his last breath, everything happened in India,” Lekhi said. (Devdiscourse)
“This particular thought has traveled far, and SCO countries are bound by one thought and philosophy which is Buddhism. India is the center in that sense from where the thought has spread everywhere,” observed Lekhi. “And it's time to connect with everyone. We are similar people and our current history predates everything that is happening. And it is time to return to Buddhist thought, to cooperate and work together on the principle of non-violence. (Devdiscourse)
Find out more
Scholars from SCO countries discuss ways to revive the common Buddhist lineage (The Hindu)
“India is playing a wonderful role…” Pak's delegation to SCO conference on “Shared Buddhist Heritage” (YouTube)
The history of India and China brings the two countries closer together: Chinese researcher (YouTube)
SCO countries linked by a single thought and philosophy which is Buddhism: Meenakashi Lekhi (Devdiscourse)
Shanghai Cooperation Organization Seeks Eurasian Regional Trade Alliances (Silk Road Briefing)
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