Invitation for South Asian Buddhist Conference 18-20 October 2018

The Revival of Buddhism in India and its impact on Buddhist Dynamics in South Asia.

Nagarjuna Institute, Nagpur

The 21st Century is becoming known as the Asian century, the time when the centre of influence in the world moves to Asia.  Buddhism is at the heart of much of Asian culture and has the capacity to influence the way it develops. Even though it died out in India, the land of its birth, over 700 years ago, Buddhism is now reviving in a remarkable manner, in a way that can contribute to peace and harmony in Asia. In order to do so, these developments in India need to link up with positive developments in Buddhism in other parts of Asia. This conference is an attempt to aid this process, starting with South Asia.

Buddhism returned to India dramatically in October 1956, with the conversion of Dr. Ambedkar and 500,000 followers, mostly from the so-called Untouchable communities. Despite having suffered from extreme structural violence, Dr. Ambedkar was never attracted to the path of violence but to the peaceful transformation of society. He concluded this was only possible through following the teaching of the Buddha. Now there are an estimated 50 plus million Buddhists in India, the great majority inspired by Dr. Ambedkar. The new Buddhist movement is young but its growth, vitality and potential is staggering; it is not unreasonable to envisage there being 300 million or more Buddhists in India within the next 50-100 years.   The new conversion movement has changed the religious and social landscape of India more than anything else since the Buddha and Ashoka, and it is going to continue doing so. It is a peaceful, egalitarian and grass roots’ movement, which is already having a considerable influence on Indian society and politics. It will eventually have a considerable impact on other Asian societies at a time when Asia is taking the lead in the world. The first objective of this conference is to make known the character and potential of this movement.

The second objective is to understand something of the present situation and positive initiatives for peaceful social development in Buddhism in the societies with the greatest interaction with India. In Sri Lanka, many developments have been taking place since Bodhisattva Anagarika Dharmapala brought about renewed vigour in the practice of the Buddha Dharma.  Given its cultural and geographical proximity, the new Indian Buddhist movement is especially receptive to Sri Lankan Buddhism.

The glorious Chinese Buddhist traditions are going through a period of remarkable creative growth, as they engage with the modern world, inspired by great reformers such as Ven Master Tai-xu.  Buddhism is increasingly appreciated as a positive social and cultural influence, as well as a harmonising influence for the whole of Asia. Every year more and more Chinese pilgrims visit the Indian Buddhist Holy Places and soon they will constitute the largest number of pilgrims. While Chinese Buddhism has developed in a different culture than Indian Buddhism, its energy and creativity have much to contribute to the new Indian Buddhist Movement.

Anagarika Dharmapala, Ven Master Tai-xu and Dr. Ambedkar were all convinced that Buddhism could make a significant and peaceful contribution to development in the modern world. Given this, the third objective is to explore ways to develop communication and partnerships to strengthen Buddhist values to contribute to a progressive and harmonious Asia.

The conference will take place at the Nagarjuna Institute, in Nagpur. The inauguration ceremony will take place with a large public programme on the morning of 18th October, the anniversary of Dr. Ambedkar’s conversion. The main part of the seminar will take place on 19th and 20th. The languages of the conference will be English and Chinese.

Ven Master Ren Da (Abbot Boshan Zhengjue Monastery, Shandong, China) has kindly agreed to inaugurate the conference.

Ven Master Chong Hua (Abbot, Ching Sheng Temple, Dali, China) and Ven Athuraliye Rathana Thero ( M.P.,  Sri Lanka) have kindly agreed to give key note speeches.

On the evening of 18th October, being the anniversary of Dr. Ambedkar’s conversion,  we will take our guests to visit the place where this took place, and where sometimes one million people gather on this day.

The Nagarjuna Institute will look after the food, accommodation and local travel of all participants from the moment they arrive in Nagpur until the moment they leave. There will be no charges for the conference, however our funds are very limited (we have no sponsors at yet), and so we request participants to consider making a donation where possible.

Speakers and participants are requested to arrive on 17th October and depart not earlier than the evening of 20th  October.

For more information, please contact naginstconf@gmail.com or visit our website: www.nagaloka.org

Please fill in the form below for joining us as an “Speaker” or as an “Participant” before 20th of September 2018


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Important Guidelines:

  1. Speakers and participants are requested to arrive on 17th  October and depart not earlier than the evening of 20th October.
  2. The food will be Indian vegetarian.
  3. Smoking and drinking of alcohol is not accepted on the campus. Please respect this.