Global Buddhist Conference promises to narrow sectarian differences
The importance of this conference can be gauged by the fact that the Chinese were keen to hold it in their country
Hardnews Bureau Delhi
In a significant event, top Buddhist leaders from over 39 countries gathered at the Hyatt Regency in New Delhi to chalk out ways of narrowing down the gaps between different sects of Buddhism and to prevent growing extremism amongst believers in different countries . The four day conference held from September 9 to September 12 was the first founding members body conclave of the International Buddhist Confederation, a new body founded in 2011 “with an aim for a unified action to strengthen the Buddhist community and traditions.” The importance of this conference can be gauged by the fact that the Chinese were keen to hold it in their country.
“There is a need to focus on the common ground amidst all the diversity in the Buddhist traditions and preserve the heritage,” a monk pointed out. “Buddhist teaching methods have not kept pace with the modern world,” another young delegate complained. Meanwhile a nun took to task the male speakers for their ignorance and inability to properly address the women delegates. “Why are there so few women delegates? It is also an important question we must ponder upon,” she conveyed her angst in her address.
Leaders from different countries also expressed concern over the growing violence and extremism, and said that the right to religious freedom needs to be honoured at all costs, and that there was a pressing need for more inter-faith dialogue. They also resolved to be wary of attempts by the political class to use religion as a pretext for violence against other religious groups.
This aspect gains importance as incidents of communal violence against the minority Muslim community have spiked in several Buddhist majority countries especially Burma causing great unease in the Muslim world. These incidents of violence against Rohingyas in Burma have been exploited by the radical Muslim groups including the ones in Pakistan to feed violent extremism in their own societies. The after effects were also felt in India when some of the inflammatory material was circulated online through social media networks, post the deadly clashes between the Bodos and Muslims in Assam. Many even claim that the recent bomb blast at the Bodh Gaya complex was in retaliation to the persecution of Muslims in Burma.