Buddhist Leadership Gets Revisit at WACANA 2008

The Buddhist Channel, Oct 24, 2008

Annual Buddhist Conference to address Buddhist leadership in Malaysia: Vision, Values and Vitality

Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia – Brickfields Buddhist Maha Vihara, Nalanda Institute and the Buddhist Gem Fellowship plan to revisit the development, directions, principles and dynamics of Buddhist leadership in the country through WACANA 2008.

<< Participants at last year's WACANA (Filepic)

Brought back by popular demand, WACANA, a home grown annual Buddhist conference will be making its second appearance this 7 December at Hotel Armada, Petaling Jaya, with the theme “Buddhist Leadership in Malaysia: Vision, Values, Vitality.”

Buddhist leadership in Malaysia appeared to have matured over the last decade with better management, systems and tools, as well as adequate programmes for the community.  However, the question remains if the programmes run are designed to produce good leaders of the future to cope with ever mounting social ills and changing demands of religious needs in the modern society.

“Leadership is not a subject that is born yesterday.  It has been around since time immemorial.  That shows how important leadership is in our daily life.  Righteous leadership supported by wisdom and compassion is the key to sustenance and growth of the Buddha’s teachings and the Buddhist community,” said Venerable K. Sri Dhammaratana, Chief High Priest of Malaysia.

A total of nine presenters will be sharing their thoughts on interesting subjects covering Visionary Leadership, Values of Buddhist Leaders, Buddhist Leadership Dynamism, as well as Leadership Renewal and Rejuvenation.

 The one-day event will be graced by senior High Priests of Malaysia, Venerable K. Sri Dhammaratana and Venerable B. Sri Saranankara.  Yang Berbahagia Datuk Dr. Victor Wee, the former Secretary General of the Ministry of Tourism Malaysia will be delivering the keynote address.

“Vision is the ability to see where the community is heading, values are the guidelines to keep us on track, and vitality is the actions that support and move us to the shared vision.  These three important pillars of leadership will be examined closely in the conference,” said Datuk Dr. Victor Wee.

“We are also interested to hear more ideas, programmes and synergies not only among members of one society but also partnership between Buddhist organizations and between neighbouring Buddhist countries during the paneling session,” he added.

Billed the most impactful Buddhist conference of the year, WACANA 2008 hopes to drive home the message on the importance of righteous leadership for all stakeholders to ponder upon as they set new course of actions for the next decade.

“WACANA has made encouraging progress last year as a number of its participants decided to make a difference by signing up for a one year Certificate in Teaching course with Nalanda Institute.  We certainly hope WACANA 2008 will be able to move more Buddhists to take on leadership roles and for existing leaders to propel the community forward along the right direction, principles and dynamics,” commented Dr. Tan Ho Soon, the Organizing Chairperson and Director of Nalanda Institute.

“We are fortunate to have with us a file of experienced presenters in the field of leadership education and hope that the participants can come prepared with ideas and questions to tap into the breath of knowledge and experience of these presenters,” added Tan.

Other prominent speakers include Venerable Jayasaro from Thailand and Venerable Santini from Indonesia, both of whom are principal educationists in their respective countries.  A paneling session with the participants will be presented by Venerable Chuan Guan from Singapore, Vijaya Samarawickrama, lecturer of World Religions, and Tan Huat Chye, a senior management consultant and advisor to a few Buddhist organizations in Malaysia.

Another prestigious and meaningful programme to look out for during the Conference is the 2008 Nalanda Awards which aims at recognising exemplary efforts of Buddhist individuals or organisations who have contributed much towards national development and harmonious living.

WACANA 2008 will be held on 7 December 2008, Sunday, 9:00am – 5:00pm at Hotel Armada, Petaling Jaya, Malaysia.  Registration is opened now until 16 November 2008.  For more information on WACANA 2008, please visit www.nalanda.org.my/wacana or contact the Secretariat at +6012.255.3280 or email wacana@nalanda.org.my.

About WACANA 2008
WACANA is a homegrown annual Buddhist conference serving as a platform for distinguished community leaders to gather and discuss pertinent issues involving Buddhist movement and Dharma propagation in the country and beyond.  It also serves to strengthen fellowship and cooperation amongst Buddhist community leaders, educationists and activists in promoting Buddhism.

The WACANA 2008 is jointly organized by Nalanda Institute, Buddhist Gem Fellowship and the Buddhist Maha Vihara.  Carrying the theme of “Buddhist Leadership in Malaysia: Vision, Values, Vitality”, WACANA 2008 aims to revisit the development, directions, principles and dynamics of Buddhist leadership in the country.

For more information, visit www.nalanda.org.my/wacana.

About Nalanda Institute
Nalanda Institute was established in 2007 to provide systematic Buddhist education and to serve as a resource centre to the Buddhist community in Malaysia. Nalanda Institute is affiliated to the Nalanda Buddhist Society in Serdang, Selangor.  The Nalanda Institute focuses on five areas - Pali and Buddhist Studies, Leadership & Management Training, WACANA Annual Buddhist Conference, Learning Resource Centre and Publications.  The institute runs free courses ranging from half-day short courses to half-year and one-year certificate courses.  Visit www.nalanda.org.my/institute for schedule of courses offered.

About Buddhist Maha Vihara
Buddhist Maha Vihara is one of the oldest Buddhist organisations in Malaysia. It was founded by the Sinhalese community based in Kuala Lumpur and the surrounding areas in 1894.  Under the leadership of its former abbot, the late Ven. Dr. K. Sri Dhammananda Nayaka Maha Thera, Buddhism has taken root in Malaysia especially among the English-educated Chinese through the various Dhamma-duta activities conducted.   For more information, visit www.buddhistmahavihara.com

About Buddhist Gem Fellowship
Buddhist Gem Fellowship (BGF) was established to promote the growth of Buddhism and to create a better world for all beings by tapping into intellectual resources of Buddhist professionals.  BGF focuses on three core areas - Spiritual Development and Dhamma Propagation, Training and Leadership Development, Publication and Research - to contribute towards the betterment of the community.  For more information, visit www.bgfbuddhism.org