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World Buddhist Summit And Message For Peace

World Buddhist Summit And Message For Peace

By Kamala Sarup

The second World Buddhist Summit, attended by more than 150 delegates from 28 countries including government representatives from none countries - India, China, bhutan, Myanmar, Cambodia, Vietnam and Egypt at Lumbini with the hope of spreading peace in the world.

The foreign representatives not only wished for peace in the globe, but also urged for a lasting peace in Nepal. They also suggested that the constitutional forces should join hand for developing a consensus for peace.

Wishing for peace in the whole world, the Second World Buddhist Summit concluded in Lumbini issuing the Lumbini Declaration on Thursday. The Second World Buddhist Summit, which began on Tuesday in Lumbini- Nepal the birth place of Lord Buddha, the summit has appealed the warring factions-the governments and Maoists- to end the ongoing battle in Nepal. Nearly 600 Buddhist devotees and peace lovers, including 112 foreign delegates and government representatives from 28 nations were also present during the inaugural ceremony in the sacred garden of Lumbini where Lord Buddha, the apostle of peace was born more than 2,600 years ago.

The 10-point declaration has proposed the government to make Lumbini –the birthplace of Lord Buddha - the World Peace City. The declaration has also requested the government to take initiatives for the development of other religious sites in Lumbini that includes Kapilvastu, Devdaha and Ramgram to attract national and international visitors. Likewise, the participants of the summit has stressed on the construction of Gautam Buddha International Airport in Lumbini at the earliest. The three-day summit that started on Tuesday was formally inaugurated by King Gyanendra on the second day amid a gathering of hundreds of Nepalese and foreign dignitaries. UN Secretary General Kofi Annan in his greetings to the 2nd World Buddhist Summit in Lumbini on Wednesday urged for world peace and said, "The Buddha's message was one of peace and compassion, but also one of mindfulness-of being fully aware of oneself, one's actions and the world which one lives."

Visiting Minister of State for Foreign Affairs of India Rao Inderjeet Singh said "We are diverse in language, culture and tradition, but we should never allow ourselves to engage in dispute on the basis of these things," he said and added that all of us should be united for a common cause.

Sri Lankan deputy minister for foreign affairs after reading out the message from the island nation's President Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga maintained that the timeless message of Buddha, the message of peace and non-violence, is a message which should reach the four corners of the world.

Lumbini has been internationally recognised as an important centre of Buddhist worship among pilgrims since Buddhism was introduced over twenty five centuries ago, and that pilgrims from Sri Lanka have been visiting the hallowed grounds of Lumbini, the birthplace of Gautam Buddha for many centuries".He said.

In his message, King of Bhutan Jigme Singye Wangchuk said the world today is faced with a host of political, social and economic problems, which are compounded by man's seeming indifference to the suffering of others and that in this light Lord Buddha's teachings are a beacon of hope for mankind.

Cambodian King Norodom Sihamoni, in his message, expressed hope that the summit would become a symbol for the firm power of unity of Buddhist followers throughout the world.

In his message, Bangladesh President Prof. Dr. Iajuddin Ahmed, has said that in a world today fraught with tension and conflicts, the teachings of Buddha of peace, love and fraternity have an enduring relevance, and added that the humanity as a whole will benefit immensely following the path of peace, fellowship, tolerance and primacy of humane conduct so forcefully advocated by Buddha.

Messages of best wishes were also received from UNESCO Director-General Koichiro Matsuura, President of the World Fellowship of Buddhists Phan Wannamethee, Supreme Patriarch of Thailand His Holiness Somdet Phra Nyanasumvara, President of Asian Development Bank Tadao Chino and from the China Committee on Religion and Peace. A peace rally was also organised from Eternal Peace Flame to the conference venue. Various Buddhist organisations and communities performed rituals at the Mayadevi temple wishing for the restoration of peace in the country.

Addressing the Second International Buddhist Summit in Lumbini Wednesday, the Prime Minister also said "The government is eager to see peace firmly established in this nation where the lord of peace lived 2,600 years ago.,"

He said that the doors are open for dialogue and negotiations with those who have chosen the path of violence. Premier Deuba maintained that the Maoist who had been resorting to indiscriminate killing of innocent people, abduction of school children, extortion, blasts and destruction of infrastructure would never succeed to win the heart of people.

Deuba also said the world community must learn from Lord Buddha's message of love, compassion, tolerance, forgiveness and co-existence to guide itself to achieve a peaceful life. Prime Minister Deuba, who is also the chairman of the main organising committee of the Second International Buddhist Summit-2004, said, "The government is fully committed to develop Lumbini as per its manifestation in the Lumbini Master Plan." "Once Lumbini is fully developed it will emerge is a holy centre of peace and Buddhist learning as the International Buddhist University is also going to be established soon." He further added.

Thay Huyen Dieu, president of the International Buddhist Federation who has been living in Lumbini for over 10 years and has founded the Vietnam Phat Quoc monastery there, said if the Nepal government and the Maoists agreed to meet in Lumbini for peace talks, a miracle would happen.

"The present summit is a good opportunity for Nepal to show the world that it is a peace loving country and it genuinely wants peace. It is also a chance to demonstrate to the world that foreigner are safe here and they can come to this country, which has both natural beauty and historical importance". Amrit Pandey argued.

Nepal aims to promote pilgrimage tourism and enhance its image as the peace loving country by organizing the Summit, the organizers said. Even the Maoists have called a two-day strike in Rupandehi district where lies the Summit venue today and tomorrow coinciding with the event despite the call by various Buddhist organizations and human rights organizations to withdraw the strike. The rebels triggered a number of explosions in the rural parts of the district last night on the eve of the Summit. However, no damage and injuries were reported by the explosions. Many local people could not reach the site to participate in the Summit due to the Maoists'' strike.

The foreign participants have expressed their desire to see peace prevail in Nepal, the land of Buddha".

Buddha and Nirvana

Gautam Buddha lived and died in about the fifth century before the Christian era. He belonged to the Sakya clan of the Kshatriya or warrior caste. The principal teachings of Gautama Buddha can be summarised in what the Buddhists call the "Four Noble Truths":Buddha's teachings include non-violence, peaceful existence between body, mind and soul. Gautam Buddha is the star of the world for many people and taught about spiritual peace and freedom - Nirvana. He gave the knowledge of an ultimate reality and a purpose of life.

>From time to time we all experience agitation, irritation, disharmony, suffering; and when one suffers from agitation, one does not keep this misery limited to oneself. One keeps distributing it to others as well. The agitation permeates the atmosphere around the miserable person. Everyone who comes into contact with him also becomes irritated, agitated. Certainly this is not the proper way to live. There is suffering and misery in life . The cause of this suffering and misery is desire. Suffering and misery can be removed by removing desire. Desire can be removed by following the Eight Fold Path. The essential message of Buddha's life is that each of us (irrespective of sex or creed) is capable and deserving of Nirvana, having a potential Buddha hidden in us.

People learned from each of his mistakes, making it a springboard for all future, and finally the ultimate success. The day we realize and awaken the Buddha within, that would be our own Nirvana, which though personal, would bind us to all humanity like never before.

(Kamala Sarup is editor to Peace Media

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