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India Hosts International Conference “The Spread of Buddhist Thought”

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Meenakshi Lekhi, Minister of State for External Affairs and Culture. Image courtesy of Upender Rao

The international conference “The Spread of Buddhist Thought” was held online from 27–28 October, with a focus on reflections of Indian Buddhist thought throughout the world.

The forum—organized by Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU), New Delhi, in collaboration with the Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR), the Indian government,and the International Buddhist Confederation (IBC)—was a regional conference conducted as part of the first-ever Global Buddhist Conference, planned by the ICCR in collaboration with the IBC and Nava Nalanda Mahavihara for 19–20 November under the theme “Buddhism in Literature.”*

Speakers presented research papers on various topics related to Buddhist ethics and philosophical traditions that have spread and taken root in various parts of the world. They also discussed Buddhist practices, arts, philosophical schools, literature, and other aspects of Buddhist heritage.

 Conference director Prof. Chowduri Upender Rao. Image courtesyof Upender Rao
Some of the conference participants. Image courtesy of Upender Rao

The conference began on 27 October with an inauguration session, which included speeches by the chief guest, Meenakshi Lekhi, Minister of State for External Affairs and Culture, and guests of honor Ven. Dr. Dhammapiya, secretary general of the IBC, and Chinmoy Naik, deputy director general of the ICCR. Prof. Chowduri Upender Rao, conference director, professor of Sanskrit and Pali at the School of Sanskrit and Indic Studies at JNU, delivered a welcome address. 

During the inauguration session, Lekhi congratulated the organizers and participants: “I am happy to know about this conference on the theme of [the] spread of Buddhist thought. We all know that the Bhagavan Buddha lived in Kapilavasthu in his early life. He found the Four Noble Truths, propagated the Middle Path, and many other teachings. According to tradition, as recorded in the Pali Canon and the Agamas, Siddhartha Gautama attained the Bodhi sitting under the Bodhi tree, situated in Bodh Gaya. Later the Buddha . . . traveled in several parts of northern India and gave his teachings around 45 years. Later the Buddhist thought spread throughout the world. It has grown in distinct streams and practices. I congratulate Prof. Upender Rao and his team on this noble endeavor. I congratulate all participants from various countries. Thank you, Jai Hind.”**

The conference was divided into six sessions, with 24 presentations by speakers from India, Bulgaria, Indonesia, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Thailand, Ukraine, and Vietnam. In-depth discussions followed most of the presentations.

Presentation by Le Chi Luc. Image courtesy of Upender Rao

The valedictory session at the end of the two-day conference included an address by Prof. Upendra Rao and concluding speeches from Prof. Battu Satyanarayana,vice-chancellor of the Central University of Karnataka, Kadaganchi; chairperson Prof. Santosh Kumar Shukla,dean of the School of Sanskrit and Indic Studies at JNU; and guests of honor Prof. Amarjiva Lochan, dean of international relations at the University of Delhi, and Ven. Dr. Tejawaro Thero, vice president of Golden Mountain Monastery, Kaohsiung, Taiwan.

The organizers of the conference will upload an ebook of presentation abstracts and conference proceedings to the ICCR website.

* India Plans “First-Ever” Global Buddhist Conference in November (Buddhistdoor Global)

** “Jai Hind” is a salutation that in contemporary colloquial usage usually means “Long live India” or “Salute to India.”

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