Thailand hosts World Buddhism conference

Bangkok Post, May 8, 2006

Nakhon Pathom, Thailand -- Thailand is hosting an international Buddhism conference, marking the World Visakha Puja Day and the auspicious occasion of the 60th anniversary of His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej's ascension to the throne this year.

The World Visakha Puja Conference, hosted by Thailand for the third consecutive year, is organized at Buddha Monthon in the country's central province of Nakhon Pathom from May 7-10.

More than 1,500 Buddhist leaders from 45 countries across the world are participating in the four-day conference, chaired by Somdej Phra Puthajarn, a senior Thai monk, on behalf of the country's Supreme Patriarch.

The United Nations has designated Visakha Puja Day, a holiest day of all Buddhists marking the birth, enlightenment and nirvana of the Lord Buddha, as a world significant day--the World Peace Day--and Thailand as the World Buddism Centre.

The world Buddhist leaders are discussing approaches to publicize Buddhism worldwide and to effectively apply the Buddha's teachings to world peace, focusing on three principles, including happiness, peace and warmness.

An exhibition on World Visakha Puja Day--the World Peace Day--was also organized at the four-day forum.

Most Ven.Tibatuwawe Sri Sumangala Maha Nayaka Thero, a Sri Lankan Buddhist leader, told the conference on Sunday that the world todays needs the Buddha's teachings to promote peace and solve such international problems as terrorism, rising population, drug and human trafficking and gender discrimination.

Most Ven. Ajarn Brahmavamso, an Australian Buddhist leader representing western Sangkha, said that the Buddhism is a religion of peace applicable to the modern world.

He urged the world Buddhists to conserve the traditional Bali language and to publicize the Buddha's teachings worldwide through the Internet.

Somdej Phra Puthajarn said that the world Buddhist leaders would join a mass prayer, also attended by more than 20,000 Thai Buddhists, at the Temple of the Emerald Buddha here on May 9 to pay tribute to His Majesty the King on the auspicious occasion of the beloved monarch's 60 years on the throne this year--also as the world's longest reigning monarch.

The religious rite will be live broadcast on the government-run TV Channel 11.

Thai Buddhists normally make merits and attend sermons at temples on Visakha Puja Day, falling on May 12 this year. In the evening, Buddhist monks lead the laity in a magnificent candle-light triple circumambulation of Buddhist chapelss throughout the country.