Buddhist studies varsity in Sanchi

by LALIT SHASTRI, August 22, 2012

Sanchi, India -- Sanchi University for Buddhist Studies is being set up at the initiative of the Madhya Pradesh government at Sanchi — the historic town near the state capital known for the world heritage Buddhist monuments dating back to the period of Ashoka in the third century BC.

Briefing mediapersons, MP culture minister Laxmikant Sharma said the Sanchi University for Buddhist Studies will be devoted to the study and research on Buddhist thought in all its dimensions. He announced that the university’s foundation stone would be laid on September 21. Coinciding with the foundation laying ceremony, Bhopal will be hosting the first ever international conference on “Dharma-Dhamma” (Dharma in Sanskrit means religion and Dhamma in Pali also means religion but is focused around Lord Buddha’s teachings) on September 22-23.

Mr Sharma said that the Bhopal conference is significant from the state’s point of view in several ways. “It will underscore the pre-eminence of Sanchi in Particular and Madhya Pradesh in general in the context of our spiritual heritage,” the minister observed.
The New Delhi-based India Foundation’s Centre for Study of Religion and Society, Mahabodhi Society of Sri Lanka and Madhya Pradesh culture department are jointly hosting the conference.

Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn of Thailand has been invited to be the chief guest at the inaugural function on September 22. Ananda Guruge and David Frawley (both from USA), Ven. Banagala Upatissa Thero (Sri Lanka), Prakash Ambedkar, former Union ministers Arun Shourie and Murali Manohar Joshi will be among the main speakers. At the sideline of the conference, there will be a week-long artists’ workshop and an exhibition of Mandala and Thanka paintings.