The Third International Conference on Vajrayāna Buddhism began yesterday in the capital with the theme—Techniques in Vajrayana Buddhism.
The two-day conference was organized by the Centre for Bhutan and GNH studies (CBS) in collaboration with the Central Monastic. As per the CBS, the conference, in essence will address issues of continuity and changes within Vajrayāna Buddhist traditions with a special emphasis on body-mind practices that have been shown to bring significant improvements to human health and wellbeing—as well as extending humankind’s spiritual and cognitive capacities.
The conference also aims to explore diverse ways in which the techniques of Vajrayāna Buddhism can be adapted and made relevant.
The conference included sessions on the path of skillful means, philosophical basis of Vajrayāna Buddhism, and mind-body practices in Vajrayana.
Panelists ranged from religious leaders to neuroscientists, academics, and prominent international scholars and practitioners who have adapted Vajrayāna Buddhist methods of individual and collective transformation to the priorities and concerns of the 21st century.
Lyonchhen (Dr.) Lotay Tshering said at the opening of the Conference said, “Over the years as I embraced the profession of a medical practitioner, my comprehension of the religion narrowed to one aspect – of being motivated by compassion in everything I do. Today, at the helm of governance, this is the same principle that I apply.”
Lyonchhen said that compassion for him is religion and that for an ordinary Bhutanese, life is defined by the ambience of spirituality.
Choten Dorji’s paper on the meditation in early Vajrayana Buddhism- insight and techniques seeks to gather the major types of early meditation and discuss different techniques gathering from several perspectives of sutras to striking insight of Milerepa.
He says that Vajrayana Buddhism has come a long way whose views regarding the universe and enlightenment are developed from ritual practice and mediation.
His session also seeks to illustrate the extent to which people can understand the profound insight and techniques laid down in the Vajrayana Buddhism with written records dating back to at least 400C.E. “The steps to enlightenment, including various meditation practices were clearly laid out by great Indian sages and Tibetan masters,” he writes.
Rajiv Mehrotra, who looks into the relevance of Buddhism and Vajrayana today through his session, seeks to look at Buddhism’s potential to nurture inclusiveness, its engagement with Science, mind training, Social, emotional and ethical learning protocols in education, the empowerment of women, and the environment among others.
He also looks to convey the factors that have enabled Buddhism to be widely assimilated. He wrote that 10 percent of the world’s populations are practicing Buddhism. “A pew Research Center survey suggests that Buddhism is the largest religion in the US after Christianity and Judaism. It is the fastest growing particularly in Western societies, amongst new converts and those who describe themselves as friends of Buddhism those who study and practice core aspects of Buddhism without formally embracing it. Counties with high growth rates include Qatar, the United Arab Emirates, parts of Russia, South America and some African countries.
The conference was held at Zhichenkhar, the newly constructed six-storied landmark building called the Library of Mind, Body, and sound- CBS.