Reading Between the Lines of Declaration of the Global Buddhist Summit in India

The first Global Buddhist Summit (GBS) took place in the capital of India, New Delhi, during April 20-21. The maiden conference was jointly organized by the Indian Ministry of Culture and the International Buddhist Confederation. The Conference was attended by delegates from 30 countries which included monks, Buddhist scholars and practitioners of Buddhism and heads of Buddhist organizations from across the globe. At the end of the Summit, a Declaration was adopted in front of 170 delegates from foreign countries including Mexico, Cambodia, Laos, Thailand and Japan and 150 from India.

The Declaration of the GBS emphasized the need to address the burning challenges both within human beings and the global community so as to offer a sustainable model for a better future.

One of the major objectives of the GBS was to discuss contemporary global issues from a Buddhist perspective. The Indian Union Minister of Culture, G. Kishen Reddy elaborated on it saying that the Summit “aimed to find solutions to problems such as climate change, poverty and conflict, among others, by exploring Buddhist teachings and practices.” The Prime Minister of India in his inaugural speech at the first GBS on April 20 asserted that centuries-old Lord Buddha’s teachings remain an immensely useful way of life and guide despite addressing the problems from armed conflicts to ecological crisis of the contemporary world.

The Declaration has urged the global community to imbibe and follow Buddhist tenets to find answers to the problems today facing the world. The main elements of the Declaration of the GBS included an emphasis on the promotion of peace and harmony, recognition of deterioration of the environment and promotion of sustainable development to diminish carbon emissions, promotion of genuine and lasting happiness through inner calmness and satisfaction, highlighting the significance of Buddhist pilgrimage, need for a paradigm shift in human attitude towards nature and preserving value education and character building.

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