Earlier this week, two of Tibet’s principal spiritual leaders addressed more than 250 delegates from 39 countries at the 1st Founding Members Conclave of the International Buddhist Confederation, which concluded yesterday in New Delhi, India.
In the Conclave’s opening speech, HH the Gyalwang Karmapa stressed the spiritual and practical value of focusing on those factors which unite religious people, and humanity in general:
“These teachings of the Buddha are like a golden wheel that the Buddha has given us. If we see ourselves as being people of different lineages, different traditions and different factions and do not come together, then it will be as if this golden wheel that the Buddha has given us will disappear.
“What is important for us is that although we come from different countries and different lineages and different vehicles, we all need to gather together in order to be able to preserve this golden wheel that the Buddha has given us. It is more important than ever before that we have harmonious connections with other, and the same unified commitment.”
The Karmapa also directly addressed recent Buddhist involvement in inter-religious violence in Asia:
“In recent times as we have seen, there have been religious conflicts between Buddhists and members of other religions. So when such conflicts happen, if we are able to have an authentic practice of Buddhist wisdom and Buddhist compassion, then I think that by using skillful means we will be able to resolve many of these conflicts and we will be able to reduce the problems.”
Read the full report about, and see the video of, the Karmapa’s address here.
Joining the Karmapa via prepared video, HH the Dalai Lama also sent a message to the opening session, referencing the conference’s location in Buddhism’s birthplace:
“With the growing interest in [the] Buddhist tradition in India,” reported the Tibet Post, “the Buddhist leader said ‘[the] time has come for India to revive this ancient tradition and combine its knowledge with modern education for the betterment of humanity.’”
According to a press release from the International Buddhist Confederation, the conference was organized “to launch a united voice of wisdom and compassion and bring Buddhism into the global discourse. The Conclave will address issues ranging from preservation of Buddhist heritage, traditions and practices to promoting equality, engaged compassionate action, inter-faith relations and protecting the environment.”