Give up narrow interests to make world a better place: India PM

He also said that current times require that every person and country should worry about global world interests too, while looking after their own welfare, so that the world becomes a stable place.


PM Narendra Modi addresses the inaugural session of the Global Buddhist Summit 2023

April 21, 2023

NEW DELHI – Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday said that if the world were to become a happy and better place, it would have to adopt Buddha’s mantra of working not just for its own interests but to take care of others in neighbourhood, surviving with limited resources.

The current times require that every person and country should worry about global world interests too, while looking after their own welfare, so that the world becomes a stable place, the Prime Minister said, addressing the first Global Buddhist Summit.

The two-day summit has been organised by the Ministry of Culture and the International Buddhist Confederation with the theme “Responses to Contemporary Challenges: Philosophy to Praxis.”

The Prime Minister said Buddha’s life showed the path from problem to solution. He gave up the life of royal comforts and a kingdom not because he faced any discomfort. Buddha realised that while he lived in a palace, there was pain in the life of others, and he could not ignore this reality.

The Prime Minister said the present times are the most challenging times of this century as there is war, economic instability, terrorism and religious fanaticism, and the challenge of climate change with species disappearing and glaciers melting.

Amidst all this there are people who believe in Buddha and the welfare of all creatures, he said. “This hope, this faith is the biggest strength of this earth. When this hope gets united, the Buddha’s Dhamma will become the world’s belief and Buddha’s realization will become the belief of humanity.”

Mr Modi underscored the relevance of Buddha’s teachings by saying that all the problems of modern times lend themselves to solutions through the ancient teachings of the Lord. Lord Buddha, the Prime Minister said, preached abandoning war, defeat and victory for eternal peace.

He said enmity can never be countered with enmity and happiness lies in unity, the Prime Minister said. Similarly, Lord Buddha’s teaching that one should first look at the conduct of the self before preaching others can address the menace of imposing one’s own views on others so prevalent in today’s world.

The Prime Minister said “The path of Buddha is the path of the future and the path of sustainability. Had the world followed Buddha’s teachings, it would not have faced the problem of climate change.” This problem arose, the Prime Minister explained, as nations stopped thinking about others and coming generations.

This mistake accumulated to catastrophic proportions, he said. Buddha preached good conduct without any consideration of personal gain as such behavior leads to overall good.

The Prime Minister highlighted how each person is affecting the earth in one way or the other, be it with lifestyle, eating or traveling habits and pointed out that everyone can contribute towards fighting climate change.

Referring to Lifestyle For Environment, the Mission LiFE, an initiative by India influenced by the inspirations of Buddha the Prime Minister said that if people become aware and change their lifestyle, then this huge problem of climate change can also be tackled. “Mission LiFE is influenced by the inspirations of Buddha and it furthers Buddha’s thoughts,” Modi remarked.

He said there is the need to come out of the definitions of materialism and selfishness and imbibe the feeling of ‘Bhavatu Sab Mangalan,’ i.e., Buddha should not only be made a symbol but also a reflection.

He remarked that this resolution will be fulfilled only when words of the Buddha of not turning back and always moving forward are remembered. The Prime Minister expressed confidence that resolutions will become successful with everyone coming together.

The Prime Minister noted that the Global Buddhist Summit is taking place during India’s 75th year of Independence when the nation is celebrating Azaadi Ka Amrit Kaal. He said that India has a major goal for its future and new resolutions for the global good. The inspiration behind India achieving the recent global landmarks in various sectors is Lord Buddha himself, he said.

Minister for Culture G Kishan Reddy; Minister for Law and Justice Kiren Rijiju; Ministers of State for Culture Arjun Ram Meghwal and Mrs Meenakshi Lekhi;, and Secretary General of International Buddhist Confederation Dr Dhammapiya were present on the occasion.

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