Buddhist luminaries to deliberate on global sustainable development goals

Bangkok: Buddhist luminaries from across the world will gather in Thailand on Tuesday evening to deliberate on how faith-based organisations can help the international comity of nations to achieve the globe’s sustainable development goals (SDG)

The opening ceremony of the three-day meeting (March 1 to 3) will commence at 4.45 p.m. local time at the Wat Maha That, or the “Temple of the Great Relics”, in Ayutthaya city. The event is being jointly organised by three institutions-the International Buddhist Confederation (IBC), the Thammasat University and the International Network of Engaged Buddhists (INEB). The Governor of Ayutthaya, Prayoon Rattanasenee, will be the guest of honour.

The keynote address will be delivered by the United Nations Representative in Thailand Luc Stevens.

Luminaries of the Buddhist world who will be in attendance include Her Royal Highness Ashi Kesang Wangmo Wangchuk, Princess of Bhutan, Rev. Khamba Lama Gabju Choijamts Demberel, Supreme Head of Mongolian Buddhists, His Holiness Sanghanayaka Suddhananda Mahathero, Supreme Patriarch of Buddhists in Bangladesh, Ven. Banagala Upathissa, President, Mahabodhi Society of Sri Lanka, Chief Sangha Nayaka of Japan, Ambassador Lalit Mansingh, former Foreign Secretary of India, His Eminence Telo Tulku Rinpoche, Shadjin Lama, Kalmyk Republic, Russian Federation and Ven. Banagala Upathissa, President, Mahabodhi Society of Sri Lanka.

Apart from high ranking Buddhist monks from around the world, scholars, opinion-makers, special invitees (from 24 countries) and members of various Buddhist organizations will also attend the meeting. They include Buddhist members from Africa, Mexico, Brazil, Jamaica, Germany, France, Argentina, Japan, Mongolia, Australia to name a few, besides South Asia, South East Asia and the Far East, with diverse and interesting perspectives on complex global issues.

The International Buddhist Confederation (IBC) is a global umbrella Buddhist body headquartered in New Delhi. Founded in 2012, it has a current membership of over 320 Buddhist organizations, both monastic and lay, spread over 39 countries and representing every Buddhist tradition worldwide.

The Supreme Patriarchs and the highest ranking monks of all Buddhist countries, including Sri Lanka, Myanmar, Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam, Laos, South Korea and Mongolia are among its Council of Patrons that include His Holiness the Dalai Lama.

Other high ranking monks and nuns and leading opinion makers of the Buddhist world are also a part of IBC as members of its Supreme Dhamma Council, Presidium and Governing Council.

The motto of the organization is “Collective Wisdom, United Voice”, in other words giving a united voice to the collective wisdom of all Buddhist traditions to ensure that Buddhist values and principles become an important part of the contemporary global social and political discourse on important issues, including conflict and environment.

Some of the pointers that could be taken up for discussion are as follows:

1. IBC Stands for Conflict avoidance instead of conflict resolution.

2. With the growing influence of the Buddhist way of life around the world, delegates from Mexican, African and Latin American offer very diverse experiences.

3. Heritage preservation and development

4. Environment and conservation

5. Gender issues and women’s ordination

6. Inter-faith dialogue and understanding: a key challenge to religious intolerance

7. Young leadership

8. Art, Culture and Media (ANI)