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Dalai Lama leads prayers for world peace after three-day inter-Buddhist conference at Bodh Gaya

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(TibetanReview.net, Dec23’23) – Delegates of followers of different traditions of Buddhism from some 33 countries have on Dec 23 held prayers for universal peace under the shade of Bodh Gaya’s Bodhi tree where Buddha Shakyamuni attained enlightenment over 2,500 years ago. The event was led by His Holiness the Dalai Lama after the conclusion of a three-day inter-Buddhist conference at the first International Sangha Forum organized mainly by his office and the Delhi-based International Buddhist Confederation.

As announced by the forum’s moderator, the Ven Mahayano Aun, the prayers were chanted by representatives of 11 Sangha communities belonging to Pali and Sanskrit traditions.

“We are all followers of the same Buddha,” he has said, “May our prayers contribute to peace and harmony among all living beings.”

Referring to the three-day conference on “Bridging Traditions, Embracing Modernity: A Dialogue on the Buddha’s Teaching in Today’s World” that had been concluded just the day before, Geshé Ngawang Tenzin Gyatso, President of the International Buddhist Council (IBC), Bodh Gaya, has said in his welcome address: “Our primary focus has been to establish an ongoing dialogue and collaboration among the various Buddhist communities belonging to the Pali and Sanskrit traditions. This is a day for joy and happiness as we witness members of these traditions praying together for the welfare of all humanity.”

Prayers for universal peace were then chanted by Sangha members from India, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Myanmar, Bangladesh and Cambodia, all in Pali. This was followed by monks from Taiwan reciting the “Heart Sutra” in Chinese. Monks from Korea, Japan and Vietnam then chanted the “Heart Sutra” in their respective languages as they beat a wooden fish to keep their rhythm. Lastly, Tibetan monks recited the “Prayer of the Three Continuums” and others.

Sangha members of eleven different countries taking turns chanting prayers for world peace at the Mahabohdi Temple in Bodhgaya, Bihar, India on December 23, 2023. (Photo courtesy: OHHDL/ Tenzin Choejor)

In his vote of thanks, Bhikkhu Pragyadeep, General Secretary of IBD, has said: “It is His Holiness who has explained Buddhism in such a way that it has attracted great interest. Due to your efforts many people in different parts of the world are paying attention to what the Buddha taught. Your presence brings Buddhism alive for people. Therefore, we pray you will live long.”

Ven Mahayano Aun has expressed hope that with a shared commitment to the Dharma and a collective aspiration for world peace, “the prayers said today would spread love, wisdom and compassion around the world leading all sentient beings to live in peace and harmony.”

Requested to address the congregation after that, the Dalai Lama has said: “I can see how we rid ourselves of negative emotions, the causes of suffering by applying the teachings within ourselves. I can feel the impact the Dharma has had on my mind. If you too practise, if you study and practise, you’ll see how doing so brings about peace of mind. When you understand how mental afflictions can be subdued, you’ll see how we can reach the final goal of enlightenment by following the path.”

And so, he has called on everyone to “integrate the teaching of the Buddha within ourselves.”

The aim of the three-day forum, attended by over 2,000 delegates, was to identify and emphasize the shared benefits of study and practice across all the different Buddhist traditions, while nurturing an appreciation and understanding of the unique strengths of each tradition.

(Source: Dalailama.com)

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