Prime Minister's Office

English rendering of PM's Inaugural address at the Global Buddhist Summit, Delhi

Posted On: 20 APR 2023 1:39PM by PIB Delhi

Namo Buddhaya!

Members of the Union Cabinet present in the program Shri Kiren Rijiju ji, G. Kishan Reddy ji, Arjun Ram Meghwal ji, Meenakshi Lekhi ji, Secretary General of the International Buddhist Confederation, all the respected monks who came from India and abroad, other Excellencies, ladies and gentlemen!

All of you have come from different parts of the world to attend the inaugural Global Buddhist Summit. The tradition of this land of Buddha is- 'Atithi Devo Bhava'! That is, guests are like gods to us. But, when so many personalities, who have lived through Lord Buddha’s ideals, are in front of us, we feel the presence of Buddha around us. Buddha is beyond the individual, it is a perception. Buddha is a thought that transcends the individual. Buddha is a thought that transcends form and Buddha is a consciousness beyond manifestation. This Buddha consciousness is eternal, ceaseless. This thought is eternal. This realization is distinctive.

This is the reason why today people from so many different countries and from so many different geographical and cultural environments are present here. This is the expansion of Lord Buddha, which binds the entire humanity in a single thread. We can imagine this power of crores of followers of Buddha in different countries of the world that when they take a resolution together, how limitless their energy becomes.

When so many people work together with one idea for a better future for the world, the future is bound to be monumental. And therefore, I believe the first Global Buddhist Summit will create an effective platform for the efforts of all our countries in this direction. I heartily congratulate the Ministry of Culture of India and the International Buddhist Confederation for organizing this event.

Friends,

There is another reason for my intimate attachment to this summit. Vadnagar in Gujarat, where I was born, has a deep association with Buddhism. Many archaeological evidences related to Buddhism have been found in Vadnagar. Once, Buddhist traveller Hiuen Tsang also visited Vadnagar. And all the things have been put up in the exhibition in detail. And see the coincidence! I was born in Vadnagar and I am the MP from Kashi, and Sarnath is also situated there.

Friends,

The Global Buddhist Summit is being hosted at a time when India has completed 75 years of its independence and is celebrating the ‘Amrit Mahotsav’ of its independence. India also has huge goals for its future as well as new resolutions for global welfare in this ‘Amrit Kaal’. Today, India has taken new initiatives on several issues in the world. And our biggest inspiration behind those initiatives is Lord Buddha.

Friends,

You are all familiar that the path of Buddha is ‘Pariyatti’, ‘Patipatti’ and ‘Pativedha’. That is, Theory, Practice and Realization. India is moving fast on all these three points in the last nine years. We have continuously propagated the values of Lord Buddha. We have worked with a sense of dedication to take the teachings of Buddha to the masses.

‘Patipatti’ is at the forefront whether it is the development of Buddha Circuit in India and Nepal, efforts to rejuvenate pilgrimage centres like Sarnath and Kushinagar, the construction of the Kushinagar International Airport, the India International Centre for Buddhist Culture and Heritage in Lumbini with the cooperation of India and IBC. It is the legacy of Lord Buddha's teachings that India considers the grief of every human being as its own. Be it peace missions in different countries of the world, or calamity like the earthquake in Turkey, India stands with humanity in times of every crisis by exerting its full potential. Today the world is watching, understanding and accepting this sentiment of India's 140 crore people. And I believe that this forum of the International Buddhist Confederation is giving a new extension to this feeling. It will give new opportunities to all like-minded and like-hearted countries to spread Buddhism and peace as a family. The discussion on how we handle the current challenges is not only relevant, but also holds a ray of hope for the world.

We have to remember that the journey from problems to solutions is the actual journey of Buddha. Buddha did not leave the palace because he had any problems. Buddha left the palace, gave up the royal luxury, because he felt that he had all the comforts available to him whereas there was misery in the lives of others. If we want to make the world happy, this Buddha mantra of totality is the only way to go beyond the idea of self and narrow mindedness. We have to think about the poverty-stricken people around us. We have to think about the countries dealing with a scarcity of resources. This is the only way to establish a better and stable world, it is necessary. Today, it is the need of the hour that the priority of every individual and every nation should be the interest of the world, the 'Global World Interest', along with the interest of the country.

Friends,

It is universally accepted that the current time is the most challenging time of this century. Today, on the one hand, two countries are at war for months, while on the other hand, the world is also going through economic instability. Threats like terrorism and religious fanaticism are attacking the soul of humanity. Climate change is looming large over the existence of the entire humanity. Glaciers are melting, ecology is being destroyed and species are becoming extinct. But in the midst of all this, there are millions of people like us who have faith in Buddha, who believe in the welfare of all living beings. 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.

Friends,

There is no problem in the modern world whose solution we could not find in the teachings of the Buddha hundreds of years ago. The war and unrest that the world is suffering today, the Buddha had given solutions centuries ago. Buddha said: जयन् वेरन् पसवति, दुक्खन् सेति पराजितो, उपसंतो सुखन् सेति, हित्व जय पराजयः i.e., Conquest begets enmity; the conquered lie down in distress. The unconscious person lies down in happiness, dismissing victory and defeat alike. Therefore, we can be happy only by discarding defeats, wins, fights and quarrels. Lord Buddha has also told the way to overcome the war. Lord Buddha has said: नहि वेरेन् वेरानी, सम्मन तीध उदाचन्, अवेरेन सम्मन्ति, एस धम्मो सन्नतनो। i.e. enmity does not calm down enmity. Enmity is pacified by affinity. Lord Buddha's words are:  सुखा संघस्स सामग्गी, समग्गानं तपो सुखो। i.e. happiness lies in the unity between the unions. There is happiness in living together with all people.

Friends,

Today we find that imposing one's thoughts, one's faith on others is becoming a big crisis for the world. But, what did Lord Buddha say?  Lord Buddha said: अत्तान मेव पठमन्, पति रूपे निवेसये i.e. one should practice good behaviour before preaching to others. In the modern era, we see that whether it is Gandhiji or many other leaders of the world, they got inspiration from this spirit. But we have to remember, Buddha didn't just stop there. He went a step ahead and said:  अप् दीपो भव: i.e. be your own light. Today the answer to many questions lies in this sermon of Lord Buddha. Therefore, a few years ago, I proudly said in the United Nations that India has given the world Buddh, not Yudh (war). Where there is Buddha's compassion, there is coordination and not conflict; there is peace and not discord.

Friends,

The path of Buddha is the path of the future, the path of sustainability. Had the world followed the teachings of Buddha, we would not even have faced a crisis like climate change. This crisis developed because some nations stopped caring about others, about the future generations in the last century. For decades, they were of the view that the effect of this tampering with nature would not affect them. Those countries blamed it on others only. But Lord Buddha has clearly said in the Dhammapada that as a water pot is filled with drop by drop, so the repeated mistakes become the cause of destruction. After alerting humanity in this way, Buddha also said that if we correct mistakes and do good deeds continuously, then solutions to problems are also found. माव-मईंएथ पुण्यीअस्, मन् तन् आग-मिस्सति, उद-बिन्दु-निपातेन, उद-कुम्भोपि पूरति, धीरो पूरति पुण्यीअस्, थोकं थोकम्पि आचिनन्। i.e. do not ignore the good deeds thinking that the fruit of any work will not come to me. The pot gets filled drop by drop of water. Similarly, a wise man, accumulating little by little, fills himself with virtue.

Friends,

Every person is affecting the earth in one way or the other. Be it our lifestyle, our dresses, eating or travelling habits, everything has an impact, it makes a difference. Everyone can also fight the challenges of climate change. If people become aware and change their lifestyle, then even this big problem can be dealt with and this is the way of Buddha. With this spirit, India has started Mission LiFE. Mission LiFE means Lifestyle for the Environment! This mission is also influenced by the inspirations of Buddha, furthering the thoughts of Buddha.

Friends,

Today, it is very necessary that the world should come out of the definitions of materialism and selfishness and imbibe this feeling of ‘भवतु सब्ब मंगलन्’ (May all be well). Buddha should not only be made a symbol, but also a reflection, only then the resolution of ‘भवतु सब्ब मंगलन्’ will be fulfilled. Therefore, we have to remember the words of the Buddha:  “मा निवत्त, अभि-क्कम”!  i.e. Do not turn back. Move forward! We have to move forward, and keep moving forward. I am sure together we will take our resolutions to success. Once again, I express my gratitude to all of you for coming here on our invitation. With this belief that humanity will get new light, new inspiration, new courage, new power from this two-day discussion, my best wishes to all of you.

Namo Buddhaya!

DISCLAIMER: This is the approximate translation of PM’s speech. Original speech was delivered in Hindi.

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