Buddhism is now more significant: Narendra Modi

by Sharique N Siddiquie, Zee News, January 16, 2010

Vadodara, India -- Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi on Friday inaugurated International Buddhist Convention in Vadodara. The three-day seminar will focus on Buddhist heritage in Gujarat.

Speaking about the significance of Buddhism in today’s scenario at the inauguration ceremony, Modi said, “Buddhism is now more significant as we live in a world full of conflicting interests, which then pose nagging threat to the world peace.”

Linking Gujarat’s history with Buddhism, the Gujarat Chief Minister noted: “It will be news to many, but during the times of Maitraka kings there were more than 13,000 monks in Gujarat. We also had one of the greatest Buddhist universities ‘Vallabhi Buddhist University’ in Vallabhi pur in Gujarat during that period.”

“I consider that this seminar is the first in the series of initiatives we are painstakingly planning to undertake in order to locate Gujarat in the context of Buddhism,” he added.

The seminar is being held at the Maharaja Sayaji University, Baroda, and will focus on the Budhhist heritage, recently excavated in Gujarat after a research by the university researchers.

Also present on the occasion was His Holiness The Dalai Lama, who stressed that Buddhism is the religion of peace and its teachings are very relevant at time when the world is sitting at the threat of global terrorism.

Speaking at the function, the Dalai Lama said: “Twentieth century was the most important century in the world history as a lot of inventions took place in it. But on the other hand nearly 20 crore people were killed in wars and conflicts.”

He further said: “The 21st century is no different and it is a matter of grave concern because this is the century of economy and financial powers.”

Stressing on the need of non-violence, the Dalai Lama said: “When America bombed Iraq, thousands of protestors across the globe took to streets and that shows that desire for peace is still alive.”

The seminar was very well managed by the university students working as volunteers.

Also present at the seminar were, Bhutan’s Minister of Works and Human Settlement, Lyonpo Yeshey Zimba who was the chief guest; His Holiness Ogyen Drodul Trinley Dorje, the 17th Gyalwa Karmapa; Swami Dayanand Saraswati, University chancellor Dr Mrunalini Devi Puar; Maha Bodhi Society of India, Dr Bhupendra Kumar Modi apart from other eminent Buddhist leaders across the globe.