International Buddhist Conference begins in Capital

KATHMANDU: Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli said that Lumbini, the birthplace of Shakyamuni Gautam Buddha, the proponent of peace, is the centre of world peace.

Inaugurating the International Buddhist Conference organised as a part of the celebration of the 2560th Buddha Jayanti here today, he said he felt greatly honoured to have the opportunity to live in the land of the Buddha.

The Prime Minister reiterated that the Buddhist philosophy is a useful doctrine to humankind across the world.

"Lord Gautam Buddha is not only the Light of Asia, but of the whole world. Buddhism is a strong basis for establishing peace," the PM declared.

Since Buddha's teaching helped in the promotion of social harmony, tolerance, forgiveness and selfless service, it inspired humanity to follow the path of truth and non-violence, he said.

Stating that the Buddhist philosophy and literature that the Buddha propounded was significant for human welfare, PM Oli opined that it has enriched the human civilisation and culture also.

He also expressed the government's commitment to effectively implementing the Greater Lumbini Development Plan that has been brought to develop the Buddha's birthplace as a major tourism hub by promoting religious tourism.

Minister for Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation Ananda Prasad Pokharel stated that the government hosted the International Buddhist Conference for the first time after the promulgation of the Constitution.

He also believed that the conference would spread the message of world peace from Nepal.

Representatives of various countries shed light on different aspects, practices and religious sects of Buddhism in the conference that kicked off under the theme- "Lumbini, Nepal: The Birthplace of Lord Buddha and the Fountain of Buddhism and World Peace."

Prime Minister Oli had inaugurated the conference by reciting the Peace Prayer.

Religious gurus of the three sects of Buddhism - Theravada, Mahayana and Vajrayana - were present on the occasion. Singer Ani Choying Drolma presented songs about the Buddhist philosophy.

Government representatives, Buddhist religious leaders, monks and nuns and scholars on Buddhism from 28 various countries are participating in the conference.

President Bidya Devi Bhandari is scheduled to inaugurate the Buddha Jayanti main celebration function in Lumbini on May 21. A Lumbini Declaration will be issued at this function, incorporating the conclusions drawn from the seminar.