|The conference, the first and largest of its kind, was organised by the HCM City University of Social Sciences and Humanities and the Viet Nam Buddhism Institute. — Photo phatgiao.org.vn
HCM CITY (VNS)— Buddhism plays a major role in maintaining peace, environmental security and sustainable development as well as enhancing regional cooperation, speakers said at an international Buddhism conference that opened yesterday in HCM City.
More than 100 Vietnamese and 40 international scientists, managers and Buddhism researchers from the US, China, India, Thailand, Myanmar, Cambodia and other countries are participating in the two-day "Buddhism in Mekong Region: History and Development" conference.
The conference, the first and largest of its kind, was organised by the HCM City University of Social Sciences and Humanities and the Viet Nam Buddhism Institute.
Professor Vo Van Sen, rector of the HCM City University of Social Sciences and Humanities, said the conference aimed to create global awareness about peace, environmental security and sustainable development in the Mekong region.
It also aims to contribute to international cooperation in economy, culture and environmental protection, and maintain cultural heritage of each country, based on the United Nations' Millennium Development Goals.
The event also celebrates the vital role of Buddhism in maintaining territorial integrity on the basis of international law and sustainable development.
More than140 presentations will be delivered during the conference, of which 40 presentations will be from foreign researchers.
The speeches will focus on Buddhism's development path and protection of the environment in relation to globalisation and sustainable development.
Speaking at the event, His Holiness Thich Tri Quang said that environmental protection and treatment in the Mekong region in the context of climate change was one of the focuses of conference's main themes.
Buddhist researchers suggested the application of Buddha's teachings in raising social consciousness about environmental protection in the Mekong region, particularly the Mekong Delta in Viet Nam.
Quang pointed out the need to reduce abusive exploitation of natural resources, to ensure environmental sustainability, and to meet the demand of future generations, according to UN guidelines.
The Most Venerable Dr Thich Nhat Tu said the conference would collect opinions about creating a foundation for regional and international cooperation, thus enhancing sustainable and comprehensive development in the region.
The Mekong River is one of the world's longest rivers, dominating political, economic, cultural and religious life of many countries such as Viet Nam, Cambodia, Laos, Thailand, Myanmar and China.
The Mekong sub-region countries not only share a regional civilisation and culture, but have also witnessed historic changes.
The introduction and development of Buddhism in the region has contributed to forming the values of cultural identity from the past to today.
As for the heritage and culture of the Mekong sub-region, the wisdom of Buddhism is a spiritual and cultural heritage of humanity, from ancient times to the modern age, Tu said.
In the context of globalisation, changes have occurred in social, cultural, political and economic structures, which have increased interactive and cultural integration in the Mekong region.
The conference also plans to discuss Buddhist culture as well as the activities of the Buddhist community as it relates to cultural awareness and behavior with the aim of reducing poverty and bringing prosperity and happiness.
Buddhism is a major religion in the Mekong region countries, including Viet Nam, Laos, Cambodia and Thailand. Buddhism came to Viet Nam in the 2nd century.
Buddhists constitute the largest religious community in Viet Nam, with more than 12 million followers, 40,000 monks and nuns and nearly 15,000 temples, monasteries and other places of worship. — VNS