Close this search box.


Dalai Lama Inaugurates Four-Day International Sangha Forum in Bodh Gaya, India


His Holiness the Dalai Lama inaugurated the first International Sangha Forum on 20 December.* The conference is aimed at promoting collaboration and dialogue among practitioners from various Buddhist traditions, while contemplating Buddhism’s role in the 21st century. The event, held in Bodh Gaya, India, commenced with more than 2,000 leaders and monastics from 30 countries participating.

The four-day event began with Theravada monks reciting the Karaniya Metta Sutta in Pali, followed by monks from Sanskrit University in Varanasi chanting the Mangala Sutra in Sanskrit. The secretary of the International Sangha Forum, Wee Nee Ng, welcomed distinguished guests and stated that the purpose of the event was to build ties between various Buddhist traditions and to look to the future of Buddhism.

International Buddhist Confederation director general Abhijit Halder. From

The director general of the International Buddhist Confederation (IBC), Abhijit Halder, expressed hope that the conference would have significant impact. Halder added that humanity had recently seen an increase in natural disasters and urged people to ask themselves what they had done to make nature so angry.

During the forum, the Dalai Lama stressed the importance of avoiding harmful actions and cultivating virtues. He emphasized the significance of benefiting others and maintaining a compassionate heart.

“Whether you believe in religion or not, what is important for us to do is to avoid doing bad actions or accumulating bad karmas because bad karmas not only harm others but also are a cause of ruin to oneself,” he told the audience. “Therefore, as much as possible, it is critical to cultivate a wealth of virtue.” (RFA)

The Dalai Lama highlighted the essence of the Pali and Sanskrit traditions, focusing on practices such as bodhicitta (Skt. heart-mind of awakening) and understanding emptiness as fundamental aspects of his daily practice.

“Being of benefit to others with a good heart and doing your best to remove their sufferings, that is the most important teaching of the Buddha,” he said as he sat flanked by fellow Buddhist leaders. (RFA)

This gathering aimed to bridge differences among the diverse Buddhist traditions and to enhance mutual learning and enrichment. Pema Khandu, chief minister of Arunachal Pradesh, expressed gratitude for such forums, echoing the Dalai Lama’s vision of unifying the Pali and Sanskrit traditions. He emphasized the integration of the Buddhist teachings into policy frameworks.


Devotees from various nations, including Bhutan, India, Nepal, Russia, and Taiwan flocked to Bodh Gaya during the Dalai Lama’s visit, seeking blessings and glimpses of the spiritual leader. The assembly witnessed an influx of pilgrims, including a 93-year-old Tibetan Army veteran, Migmar, who traveled 950 kilometers to receive the Dalai Lama’s blessings.

The forum’s discussions encompassed adapting the Buddha’s teachings to contemporary needs while preserving their authenticity. The Dalai Lama also noted that people were growing disillusioned with materialism.

“Under these circumstances, if can cultivate warm-heartedness, we’ll not only feel physically at ease, but our minds will be full of joy,” the Dalai Lama stated. “What’s more, this will be a cause for being more warmhearted in life after life.” (Mangalorean)

The event culminated on 23 December with a prayer session for world peace at the Maha Bodhi Temple, one of Buddhism’s most sacred sites.

The forum signifies a crucial platform for global Buddhist leaders to converge, discuss shared practices, and envision the future role of Buddhism while addressing pressing issues of global significance. This gathering at the historic site of the Buddha’s enlightenment underscores the ongoing relevance and unity within the various Buddhist traditions.

* Dalai Lama Undertakes First Visit to Sikkim in 13 Years, Embarks on Pilgrimage to Bodh Gaya (BDG)

See more

Dalai Lama calls for greater harmony among different Buddhist communities (Radio Free Asia)
Dalai Lama inaugurates first International Sangha Forum, stresses on altruism (Mangalorean)
His Holiness the Dalai Lama Inaugurates First International Sangha Forum (Central Tibetan Administration)

Related news reports from BDG

Dalai Lama Invited to Major Buddhist Conference in Mumbai after Urging Non-Violence in World Affairs
India Grants US$15 Million to Strengthen Buddhist Ties with Sri Lanka
Dalai Lama Offers Prayers, Donation after Deadly Floods in Northern India
Indian PM Modi Meets Buddhist Scholar Robert Thurman and Other Thought Leaders during US Visit

Related features from Buddhistdoor Global

Related news from Buddhistdoor Global

Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments