A two-day Buddhist International Conference on “Global celebration of Buddhist Heritage in Telangana” jointly organized by Buddhavanam Project and Telangana Tourism Department commenced here on Thursday.
Speaking on the occasion, Telangana Assembly Speaker S. Madhusudanachary said the only way one can break structures of discrimination prevalent in the society was by following the teachings of Buddha. Participating as the chief guest, the Speaker said Chief Minister K Chandrasekhara Rao agitated peacefully and led the Telangana movement following Buddhist teachings. Stressing that Telangana was the base of Buddhism, he said the number of villages named Buddaram only shows number of Aramas that existed in the State. However, this never came into light during the earlier regimes, he regretted.
“Dr B.R. Ambedkar, architect of our Constitution had included concepts of liberty, equality and fraternity in the Indian Constitution not from the French Revolution but from the ideals of Buddhism”, said Mallepalli Laxmaiah, Special Officer of Buddhavanam Project in his presidential address.
Though Buddhism spread to other parts of the world during Mourya King Asoka’s regime, it would be surprising to know that the teachings of Buddha had already become a part of the life of people of Telangana, he added. The abundance of love and compassion that Telangana people and life exhibit is because they embraced Buddhism from an early period, he said. Buddhism arose as a social revolution in India against prevalent superstitions, discrimination and exploitation of fellow human beings, Laxmaiah said.
The State government is determined to develop all the Buddhist sites identified in Telangana, said Minister for ST Development, Tourism and Culture Azmeera Chandulal. Buddhism is a revolution in human history and consciousness, said Dhammachari Subhuti, president of TriRatna Buddha Maha Sangha, United Kingdom in his key note address.
Tracing the course of Buddhism in history, he said that Buddhism was constantly suppressed and revived in India. Religion should not be superstitious, it should be supported by reason, wisdom and Buddhism meets this criterion, he said. Buddhist dharma is the basis to create a free and just society, he said. Ambedkar embraced Buddhism as it consist the principles of equality, liberty and fraternity, he added. Unleashing Buddhist heritage would help build a just society and change the mindset of society, he felt. The spirit and heart of people of this region is very friendly, cheerful and lively Subhuti complimented. He also congratulated the organizers for the remarkable initiative of new state to celebrate Buddhism.
Centuries ago Telangana people embraced multi culturalism and religion, now it’s time to recreate it, suggested Dato Ananda Kumaraseri, ambassador from Malaysia. Saying that intolerance, animosity and crime in today’s society only reflect the failure of present day education system, he pitched for bringing in holistic education. Leading a life in accordance with Buddhist principles, people of Telangana must become a role model for the rest of the world, said Kumaraseri. Saying that the Buddhavanam Project speaks about greatness of nature and harmony, and stressed that harmony with nature should become a part of everyone’s life. He suggested that the efforts of Buddhavanam Project should not be limited to physical restoration of sites, but help in transforming Telangana.
Buddhism spread from Badankurti to South India, said Sunita M. Bhagwat, Commissioner, department of tourism. She said that 28 Buddhist sites were identified in the state for development of which 9 would be developed as destination sites. This progress in the state can be described as rebirth of Buddhism, she added.
Earlier, Buddhist monks offered prayers at Buddha statue in Tank Bund. Konappa, MLA, N. R. Visalatchy, IPoS, Director of Archaeology & Museums, Smt. Dr. Christina Z. Chongthu, IAS, Managing Director, Telangana State Tourism Development Corporation, B. Venkatesham, IAS, Secretary, Youth Advancement Tourism & Culture Department and others participated.
Many Buddhist scholars from India and abroad have converged here to take part in the
Seminar. Around 63 delegates from 15 countries took part in the discussions held. While Srilanka topped with 22 representatives, Myanmar 10, Combodia 5, Bhutan 5, Thailand 6, Unied Kingdom, Tibet, Taiwan, Laos, Vietnam 2 each and one representative from USA, Malaysia, Indonesia, Canada, Bangladesh participated with great enthusiasm. Various exhibitions were inaugurated on the occasion of seminar. A photo exhibition of various Buddhist sites and excavations held by department of archaeology, a book exhibition on Buddhist literature, Handicrafts exhibition were inaugurated on Thursday morning. They were held to introduce the culture and literature of Telangana and Buddhism to the delegates. (NSS)