Monday, April 20, 2009

Buddhist and Hindu Leaders for Greater Global Voice

By Soy Sophea

Buddhist and Hindu religious leaders throughout Asia and the wider world have gathered in Phnom Penh to forge new partnerships and explore means to collectively address common problems. The religious conference was held at Svay PoPae pagoda on January 12.

Supreme patriarch of the Dhammarutta Order of Cambodia, Bour Kry, said during the opening of the 4-day conference that the event was an opportunity for Buddhist and Hindu religious leaders to gather together and voice the opinions of eastern religious scholars on global issues.

Sam Phalla, Secretary of State for the Ministry of Cults and Religions, said that the conference would forge links with the west and enable a meeting of minds to help overcome global problems such as the global economic crisis “…for people’s sake.”

Over 100 delegates from Sri Lanka, the United Kingdom, the United States of America, India, Uganda, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Myanmar and Cambodia, participated in the think tank, exploring ways to give a greater global voice to the religious traditions of the East. Cambodia was chosen as the location to launch this new initiative because Cambodia stands at the confluence of these two great traditions and it is where Hindu and Buddhist cultures have experienced the deepest integration.

“Giving a Global Voice to Eastern Wisdom” was organized by the Global Peace Initiative for Women (GPIW), the only international inter-religious organization created and run by female religious and spiritual leasers. Since its founding, GPIW has worked to create a global platform for women spiritual leaders and to increase global participation by Hindu and Buddhist religious leaders.

According to a report of “Giving Global Voice of Eastern Wisdom” of Global Peace Initiative of Woman said that the Eastern lineages have taken root in the west in part because of their experiential nature. The current generation is searching not so much for faith as for experiential knowledge. They are seeking to be shown, not told. Finding a balance between the East and West is essential now -- each offers vital perspectives, coming from a single source but differing in their language, tone and metaphor to suit different times and cultures. Now as we continue to struggle to become one world, one family, we must learn to accommodate our differences, to love them even, to incorporate from others when there is benefit to do so, and not to fear the loss of identity, because our essential identity is unchangeable.

The report noted that the eastern traditions offer an inclusive worldview – they see the world’s religions as many streams emanating from a single source, flowing into a single ocean – emerging from and returning to the One. The greatest challenge facing our world community is the need to outgrow the exclusive worldview that has held so much of the world in thrall for so many centuries, and to evolve a more inclusive world view so that we can truly learn to love and benefit from one another.

As material development from the West is flowing east, so too must the spiritual development from the East flow West. That will help us achieve the balance and wisdom needed to address the central challenges of our time. //////////////

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