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  • [法]法宝法师:The Role of the Buddhist Sangha

     法宝法师

     

    The Most Venerable Members of the Mahasangha;

    Your Excellencies

    Distinguished Buddhist leaders

    Ladies and Gentlemen,

      It is my great honour to be in the People’s Republic of China to attend the Fourth World Buddhist Forum. I congratulate the Buddhist Association of China for their initiative to host the forum with the auspicious support of the Chinese government. It is also a great opportunity for us to visit the historical region of  Wúxī  to witness the unbroken Buddhist cultural  heritage of China and its deeply rooted Buddhist civilization.

      I am happy to recall the chosen theme of ‘Common Aspirations and Actions: Exchanges and Mutual Learning’. We can share our wisdom and experience to address global issues through the philosophy of the Buddha. As representatives of worldwide Buddhist community, we cannot ignore human suffering that affects millions of human lives. In addition to that, Political, economic, spiritual, social, and natural disasters threaten human security, progress, and peaceful life.

      The Human Civilization has progressed in various ways, but we have not yet found a way to sustain peace and harmony. Although the modern society has advanced science and technology, human minds and actions have not changed much. From competition and conflict comes unrest, and we have not found true happiness.

      Your Holiness,

      I appeal to your attention to global threats to international safety. The Buddhist leaders who have gathered in this historical city of Wúxī have worked with spiritual, political, and other organizations worldwide to protect this planet. The recent earthquakes in Nepal are a reminder that Earth is endangered. Therefore, we need to develop a campaign to stop destruction from human causes. It is to be noted that in Pāli scriptures have recorded instructions given by the Buddha to his Buddhist order to live peacefully with nature, to protect the environment, and to respect all living beings, including plants. This is an astonishing message for humanity because the Buddha knew that our destruction affects all living beings. In consideration of the advice of the Buddha, the international Buddhist community should act now to protect the world. For example, in several months, the proposed United Nations Climate Change Conference will feature participation by heads of state. This event can be an opportunity to offer Buddhist philosophy and other suggestions to be implemented internationally. We Buddhists can also increase awareness to save the planet and protect environment.

      Distinguished Delegates,

      The members of the Buddhist order must regain their roles as teachers to educate our communities and to offer vocational trainings, and moral and ethical education to make our people to become successful global citizens. As we aware of many social crises have developed due to unequal opportunity and discrimination. To reduce such situation, we need to provide a Buddhist model of education to harmonize modernity with spiritual practice and to uphold human dignity. We believe that the time has come to follow the example of the Buddha to heal human sufferings and to improve life conditions of people. For such achievements, all Buddhist leaders can play an important role to change the society and its inspirations.

      As leaders of Buddhism, it is necessary to discuss the role of religious institutions and its impact to civil society. It is not an exaggeration to say that many people have lost confidence in religion due to a degradation of spiritual values as well as conflict among different spiritual traditions. It is unfortunate that religions today make questions when most people simply seek inner peace; but unfortunately misinterpretations of doctrines, intolerance, and violence regarding religion have turned people away. Therefore one can ask that if religions feature values that are based on peace, tolerance, and respect, then why religious unrest is being continued?  As a solution, we Buddhist leaders should strengthen ongoing dialogues among different spiritual traditions to maintain confidence, mutual trust, respect and dignity for all people.

      Distinguish Delegates,

      I would like to recall that many international conferences have discussed unethical conversion, which has plagued traditional Buddhist nations in Asia. Certain religious institutions do this despite the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which allows every human being to choose one’s own belief. According to above declaration religious freedom is important, but extreme poverty is a more urgent issue in the world. In this occasion, I am obliged to mention that ancient Pāli scriptures has very clearly noted  that the Buddha has advised to kings and rulers in his days to alleviate poverty in order to reduce social and political conflict. Taking into consideration of above teachings of the Buddha, we Buddhists must study how to resolve economic problems as part of our mission towards human society.

      In conclusion, I emphasize that we Buddhist leaders have the responsibility to disseminate the teachings of the Buddha in healing human problems. Therefore, I strongly believe that our common effort and collective wisdom will help to engage some effective solutions and to strengthen decisions makers of the planet in order to create this world a better place to live for generations to come.

      Thanks.

     

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