Photo: Karma Gyeltshen

Vajrayana Conference to bring Buddhist practitioners from all over the world

After almost three years of pause due to the COVID-19 Pandemic, and with about 400 people, including 250 international participants from more than 30 countries, the 4th International Vajrayana Buddhism Conference will take place starting today till 4 October at Zhichenkhar.

The conference has a record number of speakers comprising prominent practitioners, teachers, scientific researchers, academics and independent scholars exploring and analyzing the central theme of Modernity of Buddhism.

Buddhism in the Digital Age, Vajrayana and Modernity, Women in Vajrayana, Applications of Vajrayana in our Daily Life, Ethics, Values, and Meditative Practices are some of the topics that the participants will delve into during the four-day conference.

In addition, other sub-themes include Vajrayana’s Skillful Techniques, Buddhism’s Social Contributions, Core Concepts of Buddhism, including emptiness, the Evolution of Vajrayana forms of Buddhism, and Myths and Legends in Vajrayana, etc.

The CBS and the Central Monastic Body of Bhutan have been organizing the conference since 2016.

Secretary General of International Buddhist Confederation (IBC) Ven. Dr Dhammapiya said that everyone follows the same teaching of Buddha, the only differences are in terms of culture, tradition, customs and environment of different countries.

“The conference is aimed at bringing people from all over the world to know about the importance of Vajrayana Buddhism, its practice and the branches of the Buddha dharma. This conference will give everyone an opportunity to learn on other’s tradition and lineage,” he added.

He further said that this kind of conference is necessary for the Buddhist people practicing different thoughts and ideas in different countries to come and witness in Bhutan, a Vajrayana Buddhist country.     

Bhutan and India have been sharing common heritage, culture and spirituality for centuries and this will further strengthen the ties between the two countries. It will also strengthen the bond among the Buddhist people, he said.

He said, “The concept of Bhutan, being GNH country, and the frustration of people being confined in their houses and temples for longer time, could be other reasons on high number of participants this time.”

Emphasizing on the theme Modernity of Buddhism, he said that Buddhism started 2,600 years ago and that time it was taught to the people as it was needed at that point of time.

“With time, many things have changed, and the teaching method back then may not be effective as it used to be in today’s world. The same teaching is relevant today, but the situation is different today,” he said.

Therefore, he said that they now have to look at the Buddhist teaching to suit and be useful for the modern society where science is an important aspect. Buddha’s teaching is not a kind of rituals and rights to just pray, but it’s a science of mind and action.

Understanding the teachings of the Buddha from the point of view of today’s need to elevate the suffering from the society is how they understand this year’s theme.

Of many topics that will be discussed during the course of conference, Women in Vajrayana is one important agenda that will be discussed. Woman is an important aspect of human existence.

Other discussed topics would be on science, SDG’s, business, climate change, etc., which is part and partial of one’s existence. The conference is for everyone, across the world, concerned about stability, peace and happiness. 

Keeping all those in mind, he said, “This conference will definitely bring a better understanding among the practitioners, and Buddhist members with different traditions.”

The continuity of the forum stands as a testimony to its flourishing history. And so far, it has shared knowledge and perspectives on various characteristics of Vajrayana Buddhism.

Center for Bhutan & GNH Studies (CBS) is hosting the conference and the Central Monastic Body of Bhutan is organizing the event in close collaboration with the International Buddhist Confederation (IBC), India.

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