His Holiness the Dalai Lama, Sakya Gongma Rinpoche, Jangtse Chöje Rinpoche, Ganden Tri Rinpoche, during the prayer for world peace at the Mahabodhi Temple on December 23, 2023. (Photo:TPI)

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Bodhgaya, Bihar — The first International Sangha Forum concluded its three-day meeting with a resolution and a prayer for world peace at the Mahabodhi Temple on Saturday. His Holiness the Dalai Lama, Sakya Gongma Rinpoche, Jangtse Chöje Rinpoche, Ganden Tri Rinpoche and other high-ranking Buddhist lamas gathered to pray for world peace.

His Holiness the Dalai Lama attended the World Peace Prayer Ceremony with Sakya Gongma Rinpoche, Jangtse Chöje Rinpoche, Ganden Tri Rinpoche, and other high-ranking Buddhist lamas, on December 23, 2023 at the Mahabodhi Temple, Bodhgaya, Bihar, India. Buddhist delegates, who attended the International Sangha Forum 2023 and public also joined the prayer and prayed the world peace.

First, His Holiness the Dalai Lama and then Sakya Gongma Rinpoché, Jangtsé Chöjé Rinpoché, the Venerable Abbot of the Royal Thai Temple, Bodhgaya, Ganden Tri Rinpoché and the Deputy Sangharaja of Myanmar were invited to light a lamp of wisdom to give an auspicious opening to the gathering.

Geshé Ngawang Tenzin Gyatso, President of the International Buddhist Council (IBC), Bodhgaya, gave a welcome address. Then prayer for world peace recitated by Sangha members from India, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Myanmar, Bangladesh, Cambodia,Taiwan, Korea, Japan, Vietnam and Tibet began. After the prayer, His Holiness the Dalai Lama addressed the gathering.

His Holiness said,"All of us, including you my Dharma friends gathered here, know that the unique aspect of the teaching of the Buddha is that it deals with dependent arising—pratityasamutpada. When you combine this with the aspiration to attain nirvana, or liberation, you tread the paths of Arhats and Solitary Realizers. But when you combine it with the awakening mind of bodhichitta your path leads to Buddhahood.

“In the Nalanda tradition masters such as Nagarjuna have shown that we should examine the teaching of the Buddha in the light of reason, not relying solely on faith. I was born in the remote north-east of Tibet, but I came to Lhasa to study the Dharma with my tutors. By using my own intelligence through study and reason I discovered how profound were the Buddha’s instructions. In my daily practice I focus on bodhichitta and an understanding of emptiness. So, I can tell you that the Buddha’s teaching is not only vast and profound, it is also practical and effective in terms of inner development.

“As is indicated by the ‘Heart Sutra’ mantra, we aspire to reach Buddhahood by following the five paths. We are not confined to merely saying prayers, we must follow the direction shown by Nagarjuna and others and examine the teaching in terms of reason and logic. I have acquired good experience of both bodhichitta and emptines such that I can say I have reached the path of accumulation and hope to reach the path of preparation.

“From my own experience I have learned how practical the Buddha’s teachings are. If you integrate them with your mind, you’ll see their effect, which ultimately results in the attainment of Buddhahood. In other words, the Buddha’s teachings are vast and profound.

“I myself am a follower of the Buddha. I have studied his teachings, but I have also meditated on them. Through study and practice I have gained experience of how vast and profound they are. As a person with such experience, being here at this sacred place where the Buddha attained enlightenment, I feel most fortunate.

“None of us wants to suffer; we all want to be happy, but those who cultivate the causes of happiness through actually practising the path are few. Remember, the Buddha told us that the Enlightened Ones don't wash unwholesome deeds away with water, and they don't remove the sufferings of beings with their hands, nor do they transplant their own realization into others. It is by teaching the truth of suchness, revealing reality as they have experienced it, and the means to pacify restless minds, that they liberate beings. What’s more he stated, ‘You are your own master.’

“I can see how we rid ourselves of negative emotions, the causes of suffering by applying the teachings within ourselves. I can feel the impact the Dharma has had on my mind. If you too practise, if you study and practise, you’ll see how doing so brings about peace of mind. When you understand how mental afflictions can be subdued, you’ll see how we can reach the final goal of enlightenment by following the path.

Finally, Bhikkhu Pragyadeep, General Secretary of the International Buddhist Council, Bodhgaya offered words of thanks to His Holiness the Dalai Lama and to all.

The resolution of International Sangha Forum are following:

  • We commit to regular dialogues and conferences to facilitate understanding and to address challenges in a unified manner.
  • In line with the aspirations of His Holiness the Dalai Lama, we commit to hosting an international dialogue and exchange of monastics among different traditions, sharing their wisdom and exchanging experiences.
  • We honor the diversity of Buddhist traditions through promoting inclusivity, respect, and understanding among them, whether they are monastics or laypersons, and regardless of their cultural and geographical backgrounds.
  • We should make attempts to promote wisdom and compassion drawing from the rich Buddhist teachings to address the global and local issues such as climate devastation, social injustice, conflicts, wars together with physical and mental health.
  • We support initiatives that incorporate scientific understandings and technical innovations with Buddhist wisdom to create holistic solutions for contemporary problems.
  • We affirm the role of Buddhist teachings of the four brahma-viharas: loving-kindness, compassion, altruistic joy and equanimity, in nurturing our interactions with one another and the world at large for the promotion of peace and harmony.
  • With a shared commitment to the Dharma and collective aspirations for the well-being of all, we conclude this conference with a renewed sense of purpose and a clear vision for the future of humanity. May our efforts contribute to the flourishing of the Buddha's teachings and the happiness of all sentient beings.
  • We dedicate ourselves to the practice and promotion of the Buddha's teachings as a foundation for world peace and harmony among all beings.