December 27, 2023
HCM CITY — Buddhist leaders from Việt Nam, Laos and Cambodia have vowed to strengthen relationships between their countries and other Buddhist nations to foster a peaceful and harmonious world at their second annual conference being held in HCM City.
The Buddhist Leaders’ Conference has the goal of promoting traditional relationships, solidarity and co-operation in Buddhism between the three countries.
Speaking at the opening ceremony on Monday, Deputy Minister of Interior Vũ Chiến Thắng said Buddhism played an important role in shaping and improving society and contributing to the development of the three countries.
He also alluded to the geographical, cultural, historical, and religious similarities and shared Buddhist values between them.
Most Venerable Thích Thiện Nhơn, president of the Vietnam Buddhist Sangha, said the conference was an opportunity for the leaders to commit to sustainable co-operation, particularly in light of environmental degradation and climate change affecting the Mekong River, an essential part of the region’s identity.
He called on them to continue working closely together to address environmental challenges, poverty and social inequality.
Most Venerable Vong Kim Sorn from Cambodia called for making education, culture and humanitarianism the foundations of new relationships and nurturing compassion.
Most Venerable Mahabounma Simmaphom from Laos said it was essential to upgrade the relationship between Vietnamese, Lao and Cambodian Buddhism and share their wisdom.
The “Buddhist Views on Environmental Management: Nurturing a Sustainable World” conference focuses on the role of Buddhism in promoting peace, harmony and environmental protection in the region.
The conference is being held in HCM City on December 24 and 25 and in Lâm Đồng Province on the 26th and 27th.
It aims to facilitate dialogue and implement initiatives guided by Buddhist principles that address issues such as interdependence, environmental justice, sustainable living, mindfulness, and simplicity.
It also serves as a platform for promoting mindful consumption, sharing resources from Buddhism and encouraging multi-cultural dialogue on environmental issues.
It covers six sub-themes: understanding interdependence, seeking Buddhist solutions to environmental injustices, guiding sustainable living through mindfulness and simplicity, inspiring action through mindful practice and interconnectedness, promoting mindful consumption, developing resources from Buddhism for various audiences, and promoting multicultural dialogue on environmental issues.
The conference will conclude with a prayer for world peace.
With over 15,000 Buddhist worship places and 600 recognised pagodas, Việt Nam has a rich Buddhist heritage clearly embedded in its culture, traditions and beliefs.
The first conference was organised in 2018 in Vientiane, Laos. — VNS