SCO International Conference on “Shared Buddhist Heritage”

Mar 15: The two-day international conference of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) on “Shared Buddhist Heritage” was inaugurated at Vigyan Bhawan in New Delhi today, with a focus on India’s civilizational connection with the SCO nations.

The session was graced by Union Minister for Culture, Tourism and DoNER Shri G.K Reddy; Minister of State for Culture and External Affairs Smt Meenakshi Lekhi; Minister of State for Culture and Parliamentary Affairs Shri Arjun Ram Meghwal; DG, International Buddhist Confederation, Shri Abhijit Halder and delegates from China, Pakistan, Russia, Bahrain, Myanmar, UAE.

On the occasion, Shri G. K Reddy said that the conference will not only celebrate Buddhist common heritage but will also build stronger and deeper bonds amongst our countries. He also said that Buddhism with its profound vision of eternal harmony in the world has spread far and wide and it touched the lives of inhabitants in all the SCO countries centuries ago. Today, we have all gathered here, at a first-of-its-kind conference, because of this underlying link that binds us. The purpose of this Conference is to renew transcultural links and shared histories between the nations gathered here, the Minister explained.

Addressing the participants, Shri Arjun Ram Meghwal said that the teachings of Buddha about self-realization and self-examination are very relevant for the 21st century also. The Minister suggested that the SCO countries should take up programmes and projects on our shared Buddhist heritage which binds us together. He also suggested making Buddhist manuscripts in Pali be translated into a common language for SCO countries and will make them accessible to all the countries.

In her address, Smt. Meenakshi Lekhi said that heritage and history connect all the SCO countries. She also said that Lord Buddha talked about value-based living which is essential for our co-existence. SCO members are connected by Buddhist  philosophy which can make SCO a formidable force in terms of ethics and value system, the Minister added

The event, a first of its kind, under India’s leadership of SCO (for a period of one year, from 17 September, 2022 until September 2023)  brings together Central Asian, East Asian, South Asian and Arab countries on a common platform to discuss “Shared Buddhist Heritage”. The SCO countries comprise of Member States, Observer States and Dialogue Partners, including China, Russia and Mongolia. Several scholars – delegates from SCO are resenting research papers on the topic including Dunhuang Research Academy, China; State Museum of the History of Religion, International Theravada Buddhist Missionary University, Myanmar, among others.

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