Silver Lining

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8th Global Conference on Buddhism passed resolutions against violence


Singapore — Delegates from Singapore and overseas attended the two-day 8th Global Conference on Buddhism, held in Singapore on 6 and 7 July 2013. Drawing on the presence of 1,200 delegates from the various Buddhist traditions, the Conference culminated in the passing of two resolutions concerning the on-going violence against Muslims in Buddhist countries, and the bombing of the MahaBodhi Temple in Bodhgaya, India on 7 July 2013.

The resolutions were a response from the Buddhist community towards these international incidents, and passed with an overwhelming majority of more than 95% voting in favour.

Resolution on the violence against Muslims in Buddhist countries

“We hereby wish to inform our Muslim brothers and sisters that as Buddhists, we are deeply concerned by the violent treatment of Muslims at the hands of people claiming to be Buddhists.

Islam is a religion of peace and Buddhism a religion of non-violence. These are ideals for all mankind, regardless of differences in beliefs and customs. We call upon the leaders of the Buddhist and Muslim communities to condemn all acts of violence and to use their influence to encourage all to be gentle and act with compassion. We also call on governments to take firm measures against murder, assault, arson, rape and other acts of violence and incitement to violence, and take the appropriate action against offenders, whatever their social status.”

Resolution on the bombing in India

“We are deeply saddened but we forgive those responsible for bombing the Mahabodhi Temple in Bodhgaya.

You may damage the most important temple in Buddhism but you will not destroy our faith in forgiveness and compassion. “

“Buddhism is a religion of compassion and wisdom,” said Ms Angie Chew Monksfield, organising chairperson of the Global Conference on Buddhism and President of Buddhist Fellowship, said: “While we are saddened by the violence in Myanmar and the bombings in India, we recognise that the only lasting solution towards such acts of violence is forgiveness. The resolutions are a concrete way of demonstrating our commitment to peace. We hope that these resolutions will contribute towards resolving the conflicts in a
peaceful and effective manner.”

Datuk Dr Victor Wee, President of Buddhist Gem Fellowship Malaysia, said: “I am heartened to see Buddhists from all traditions using this opportunity to engage each other on current issues of critical importance. We have discussed and passed public resolutions on these two issues, based on the Buddhist principles of kindness and wisdom.”

The Conference included topics and presenters such as “Search Inside Yourself” by Mr Tan Chade-Meng of Google, “Challenges to Buddhism: Taking the Buddha Seriously” by Professor Richard Gombrich of Oxford University, and “Buddhist Bioethics in Medicine and Research” by Dr Ho Eu Chin.


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