Global Buddhist Conference in Colombo

ColomboPage News Desk, March 14, 2005

Colombo, Sri Lanka -- The two-day Global Buddhist Conference on ?Buddhist Humanitarian Services in a Post-tsunami Context' organized by the Asian Buddhist Congress and the Buddhist Resources Centre, Sri Lanka will be held at the BMICH on March 19 and 20.

Delegates from 16 countries including the West will meet in Sri Lanka with a view to form the first international Buddhist relief organisation similar to Red Cross and Red Crescent.

The idea to hold such a conference has been canvassed by the coordinator of the Buddhist Resource Centre, Sri Lanka, and former senior advisor to the Royal Government of Cambodia, Dr. Hema Goonatilake. The delegates will discuss the structure of the organisation based on Buddhist principles.

Asian Buddhist Congress President Olcott Gunasekera explaining to the media the aim of establishing a Buddhist Humanitarian Service Organisation said the recent tsunami disaster created the need for such an organisation.

The tsunami disaster turned the temples to centers providing relief and virtually became camps for the displaced. "We have seen for ourselves how the Buddhist monks treated all who came to them disregarding their race, religion or colour. They did really put into practice the teaching of the Buddha to serve all out of compassion for the many, for the good and welfare of them,? he said.

The disaster also gave the opportunity to erase from the minds of those holding wrong views of the Buddhist monks. "If the world had held the view that Buddhist monks were racists or extremists, the conduct and the way the `Bhikkus' assisted people who were the victims of the tsunami disaster have given them an opportunity to change their views," Gunasekera said.

Incumbent monk of the Toronto Maha Viharaya, Canada, Ven. Ahangama Rathanasiri Thera was also present at the media conference in Colombo.