International Buddhist Confederation (IBC) is partnering with Gautam Buddha University (GBU) to celebrate the International Abhidhamma Divas, known popularly as Abhidhamma Day. This auspicious event is scheduled to take place on the full moon day of Śharada Pūrṇimā, which falls this year on 28 October of the lunar calendar, at the GBU campus in Greater Noida, Uttar Pradesh. This international conference is titled “The Tenets of the Buddha Dhamma and Global Well-Being: Nature, Significance, and Applicability” and will be held from 28 to 30 October.
This year’s celebration holds special significance as it coincides with the centenary year of Dr. Satya Narayan Goenka, who is popularly known as the “Vipassanā Ācārya” that brought mindfulness meditation to the West. The conference and celebrations promise to be a platform for “profound discussions, reflections, and the exploration of Buddhist teachings for the betterment of global well-being.” (IBC)
Founded on 2 November 2012, IBC’s work falls under the aegis of the Ministry of Culture, of the government of India, is a body of soft diplomacy focused on promoting Buddhism. Based in New Delhi, its objective is to serve as a common platform for Buddhists around the globe. Founded in 2008, GBU is a research institution with a general focus on the sciences and technology. (Gautam Buddha University)
Primarily celebrated in Theravada countries, Abhidhamma Divas marks the descent of the Buddha from the celestial realm of Trāyastriṃśa after imparting to his mother Maya the Abhidhamma. Shri Abhijit Halder, IBC’s director general, said that the International Abhidhamma Divas is the organization’s third flagship program this year. It: “. . . commemorates the day when the Buddha descended from the celestial domain of the thirty-three divine beings to Sankassiya, which is presently known as Sankisa Basantapur in Farrukhabad district of Uttar Pradesh. The significance of this event is documented by the Aśokan Elephant Pillar, signifying its importance. The Buddha is believed to have taught the Abhidhamma to the Devas and his mother before his descent, making it a pivotal moment in Buddhist history.” (IBC)
Furthermore, this year’s celebration coincides with the end of the Rainy Retreat (vassa) and its concluding Pavāraņā festival, adding to its spiritual significance. The centenary year of Goenka is another noteworthy aspect of 2023’s Abhidhamma Divas. “Dr. Goenka, a luminary in the world of meditation and mindfulness, played a crucial role in propagating Vipassanā meditation worldwide. His teachings, marked by simplicity and universality, have impacted countless lives, making meditation accessible to diverse communities. Dr. Goenka’s centenary celebration honors his enduring legacy, emphasizing his contributions to the well-being of humanity,” said Prof Ravindra Panth, director of IBC. (IBC)
Prof. Ravindra Kumar Sinha, vice-chancellor of GBU, said that the objectives of the conference are to “. . . explore the profound teachings of Buddha in the context of peace, prosperity, compassion, tolerance, non-violence, spirituality, and harmony. It seeks to draw scholars, academia, and practitioners to discuss the role of Buddhist principles in addressing contemporary global issues.” (IBC)
“The conference’s main themes and sub-themes cover a wide range of topics, from Abhidhamma philosophy to Vipassanā meditation, mental health, gender discrimination, global warming, and the impact of Buddhism on various aspects of life,” said Dr. Arvind Kumar Singh, GBU’s conference director. (IBC) Invitations for abstracts were sent to scholars, researchers, and practitioners in the field of Buddhist Studies and related areas. The deadline for abstract submission was 15 October, and full papers are expected by 25 October.
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