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Dalai Lama leads historic conclave with Sri Lankan Buddhists

His Holiness the Dalai Lama presenting a member of delegation of senior Sri Lankan monks with a Buddha statue after their meeting in New Delhi, India on March 19. 2015. (Photo courtesy/Jeremy Russell/OHHDL)
His Holiness the Dalai Lama presenting a member of delegation of senior Sri Lankan monks with a Buddha statue after their meeting in New Delhi, India on March 19. 2015. (Photo courtesy/Jeremy Russell/OHHDL)

(TibetanReview.net, Mar21, 2015) – Tibet’s exiled spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama, on Mar 19 led a delegation of Tibetan Buddhist monks in a historic two-day conclave with a group of senior monks from Sri Lanka to discuss Vinaya, or monastic discipline, in India’s capital New Delhi. The Sri Lankan delegation included the chief prelates (Mahanayakas) of the three principal traditions of Sri Lankan Buddhism – the Ramanya, Shiyam and Amarapura Nikayas – besides members of the Asgiri Chapter and the President of the Mahabodhi Society.

Following a day-long discussion of the Vinaya, the Dalai Lama has said, “We compared the Theravada and Mulasarvastivada traditions, which are the Vinaya traditions of Sri Lanka and Tibet respectively, and found no significant differences between them.”

The two sides also talked about other religious texts and the Dalai Lama said, “We are spiritual brothers following Shakyamuni Buddha, but you are the senior students. I often mention that the Chinese are senior to us in their study of the Buddha’s teachings too. However, Tibetans make up for their junior status by the depth of their study and understanding. I am convinced we can learn from each other, and this has been a good beginning.”

The Sri Lankan monks expressed a unanimous wish, shared by a large number of people in Sri Lanka, to see the Dalai Lama visit their country. The latter replied that he would not only be very happy to come but that Sri Lankan monks too should visit Indian and exchange views with Tibetan monks.

His Holiness the Dalai Lama meeting with senior Sri Lankan monks in New Delhi, India on March 19. 2015. (Photo courtesy/Jeremy Russell/OHHDL)
His Holiness the Dalai Lama meeting with senior Sri Lankan monks in New Delhi, India on March 19. 2015. (Photo courtesy/Jeremy Russell/OHHDL)

He also referred to the relevance of Buddhism in the 21st century and noted that the Buddhist teaching of selflessness corresponded to the views of Quantum Physics.

The conclave was organized by the International Buddhist Confederation (IBC), a world umbrella Buddhist body headquartered in India, and coordinated by the IBC Sri Lanka Chapter.

A statement issued by India’s Home Ministry said this meeting of the two traditions (the Theravada tradition of Sri Lanka and the Nalanda tradition of Tibet and the Himalayas) was the first in 1300 years since the reign of King Harshavardhana in the 7th century.

IBC currently has a current membership of more than 300 Buddhist bodies spread over 39 countries, reported timesofindia.indiatimes.com Mar 19. The Dalai Lama and the supreme patriarchs from various Buddhist countries are among its patrons. It is recognized by the government of India as a “Cultural Organization with National Presence”, the report noted.

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