The Buddha beckons

by Lama Lobzang, Hindustan Times, November 25, 2011

New Delhi, India -- To celebrate the 2600th year of Sambodhiprapti (enlightenment of the Buddha), over 800 world Buddhist leaders and scholars are going to have  brain-storming sessions in New Delhi from Nov 27 to 30, under the umbrella theme - 'Collective Wisdom, United Voice'. Organised by Ashoka Mission, New Delhi, the congregation will be aptly known as Global Buddhist Congress.

Since India has been the birth place of Buddhism, the congregation is being organised at an international level to highlight the contribution of Buddhism in world peace so that progress and social development take place unhampered in a cordial and peaceful manner.

Representing 32 countries, the delegates have set the objective of finding out newer ways and means to examine the capacity and the resilience of Buddhism to engage itself and be useful in giving a more peaceful and progressive world. And hence the topics to be discussed include conflicts and violence, social disparity, environmental degradation, the role of ethics and values, besides seeking novel ways to make Buddhism play a more effective role in evoking the conscience of the people in the trouble-hit regions of the planet we live in.

Besides all-faith prayer meetings, a 'dhamma yatra' will end with the planting of saplings from the sacred Boddhi trees from sacred locations like Bodh Gaya, Sarnath and Sri Lanka.

A Buddhist cultural heritage festival (Sambodh) will highlight the richness and the beauty of the cultural "assets" of various nations and how they can be used as cementing bonds between the countries. Focus will also be on how to locate and preserve the priceless Buddhist artifacts and monuments all over the country and elsewhere, where they remain neglected and in pretty bad shape.

India, the mother of many cultures, will indeed be richer if we can care for our heritage and love of humanity. That was the message the Buddha had left 2600 years ago. And the message will reverberate over the next week as the world Buddhist leaders will chant in unison the peace mantra of the Buddha for a more loving and caring planet to live in.