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22 April 2023: Global Buddhist Summit

Context:

The First Global Buddhist Summit, which the Ministry of Culture and the International Buddhist Confederation are hosting, was opened by the PM.

About the Summit

  • “Responses to Contemporary Challenges: Philosophy to Praxis” is the theme.
  • The Summit aims to bring together the leaders and scholars of the Buddhist Dhamma from across the world to discuss issues that are important to both Buddhism and humanity as a whole and to develop solutions for policy.

Highlights:

  • Eminent academics, Sangha leaders, and Dharma practitioners from all over the world participated in the Summit.
    PM also presented 19 distinguished monks with monk robes (Chivar Dana).
  • Four themes served as a framework for the discussions:
    Preservation of the Nalanda Buddhist Tradition; Buddha Dhamma Pilgrimage, Living Heritage, and Buddha Relics: a resilient foundation for India’s centuries-old cultural ties to nations in South, South-East, and East Asia. Buddha Dhamma and Peace; Buddha Dhamma: Environmental Crisis, Health, and Sustainability; Buddha Dhamma: Sustainability; and Buddha Dhamma: Environmental Crisis, Health, and Sustainability.
  • The Prime Minister cited Mission LiFE as an example of an Indian project that he said was inspired by Buddha.
    Atisa Dipankara Srijana’s work, the Panch Pradarshanwas exhibition, the travel diaries of a Buddhist pilgrim named Xuanzang, and the digital restoration of Ajanta paintings were all featured in the Panch Pradarshanwas, which was organized to commemorate the occasion.

Buddhism

  • Buddha’s founder was Siddhartha, also known as Gautama.
  • Birthplace: Lumbini, in what is now Nepal, in 563 BC.
  • He was a kshatriya and belonged to the Sakya gana, a tiny gana.
  • In search of knowledge, he gave up his princely position and material assets. During his years of wandering, he spoke with other thinkers and met them.
  • In Bodh Gaya, Bihar, under the peepal tree, he obtained enlightenment. His first sermon, known as the Dharma-Chakra-Pravartana (turning of the wheel of law), was delivered at Sarnath, close to Varanasi.
  • The remainder of his life was spent walking from place to place, instructing people, and eventually passing away in Kusinara.

Coverage

  • Buddhism also extended to western and southern India, where monks built dozens of caves out of hills to dwell in. It also moved south-east to Sri Lanka, Myanmar, Thailand, and other Southeast Asian nations, including Indonesia.
    Teachings
  • The Buddha stated that misery and suffering are inherent in life.
  • We all experience wants and desires, many of which cannot be satiated.
  • He also instilled in them the values of kindness and respect for all living things, including animals.
  • He held the view that both this life and the next are impacted by the consequences of our acts, sometimes known as karma.
  • To ensure that everyone could grasp his message, the Buddha taught in the language of the common people, Prakrit.

Its Importance for Global Peace

  • The core of Buddhism is the idea of peace. The Buddha is hence referred to as the “Santiraja” or “king of peace.”
    Being a Buddhist requires maintaining a calm, trouble-free style of life called “samacariya,” which directly translates to “a peaceful way of living with one’s fellow beings.”
  • The four infinite moods (appamanna) of loving kindness (metta), compassion (karuna), sympathetic delight (mudita), and serenity (upekkha) are what the Buddha insisted his followers pursue.
  • In order to practice “metta,” or universal love, one must first fill their own mind with it before spreading it to their family, neighbors, town, country, and the four corners of the universe.
  • Using Buddhism as a diplomatic tool, India
  • The way in which Buddhism was resurrected in the years following World War II is largely what gives it the ability to be useful in foreign policy.
  • The resurgence of the faith concentrated on crossing existing denominational and regional divides and had a strongly internationalist viewpoint.
  • Buddhism lends itself nicely to soft-power diplomacy since it places a strong focus on peaceful coexistence and has a significant pan-Asian following.
  • India’s Prime Minister has made a special effort to highlight shared Buddhist roots in remarks given during official international visits, including those to China and Sri Lanka, among other places.