From 6 -7 February 2014, the 3rd International Conference Buddhism & Australia was held in Perth’s Trinity College, University of Western Australia. This annual Buddhist conference commenced with three welcome speeches. The first was by Master Vello Vaartnou, the Head of Estonian Nyingma and founder of Buddhism & Australia Conference; the second was spoken by Hon. Liz Behjat, on behalf of the Hon Peter Collier MLC, Minister for Education and Aboriginal Affairs and the third by Mr. Peter Stuart, Honorary Consulate of Mongolia.
It was also announced that Marju Broder, the Organising Secretary for Buddhism & Australia conferences, will now be the official organizer of the Conferences. Her duties would include Calling for Papers, handling correspondence and overall organization.
The presenters and attendees convened in Western Australia from America, India, Myanmar and Taiwan. Within Australia, they travelled from Melbourne, Sydney, Tasmania and Perth. The participants came from diversified cultural backgrounds. Everyone who attended the International Buddhist Conference came with an open mind towards an aspiration for higher knowledge.
The presenters and audience came from diverse backgrounds, such as teachers, professionals, scholars, non-Buddhists, ordained Buddhist monks and nuns, practitioners, devotees and followers of the traditional and philosophical teachings of Buddha.
During the conference, we had opportunities to express our views openly, share our research findings and enthusiastically raise questions to the presenters. The matters discussed were related to education, politics, social engagement, current affairs, and the influence of Buddhism in Australia within a multicultural context. The approaches used were comparing and analysing, adapting to the needs of the society, reconciling history with the modern world while associating the thoughts of Buddha with the body and mind.
At the end of the conference the Chairperson, Ms Marju Broder, awarded presenters with a certificate of attendance. After the 2-day event, our interaction continued with a tour of the University of Western Australia while sharing what we had benefited from the conference.
As this is an annual event, the International Buddhist Conference in Australia provides opportunities to socialize and engage with others whilst also advancing our potential. When we gather together, we observe, contribute and reflect.
With the modern world embracing a multicultural environment, there are several potential research areas in relation to the interpretation and transmission of Buddha’s discourses.
The forthcoming 4th International Buddhist Conference in 2015 will soon be here. Once again, it requires an international ground of support, contribution and participation. For more details, please refer to its website.
About Mengjee Foo
As a child I knew I had affinity with Buddha whenever I visited Chinese temples. However, my interest in Buddhist literature began in recent years as I wanted to know truth and reality. ?In 1994, I took refuge in the Triple Gems in Fo Guang Shan Buddhist Centre in London. At that time, I vaguely understood the significance of this refuge ceremony. After my relocation to Australia in 2001 several years later, I undertook the five precepts at Nan Tien Temple, Sydney, which appear to me to be the basic moral values in life. In 2010, I enrolled in the Department of Buddhist Studies at Fo Guang University, Taiwan. My field of research is in the cycles of life and death in Buddhist cosmology. In 2013, I graduated with a Masters of Arts.