2019-02-21T14:38:10+00:00

Program
The 1st Makhapuja International Conference on
The Future of Buddhism in Asia
Co-hosted by Center for Chinese Studies, Wat Yannawa and Wat Thepthidaram
At The Royal Gems Golf Resort, Putthamonthon, Nakhon Pathom, Thailand
17 – 20 February 2019

Rationale

Buddhism in Asia, particularly in South and Southeast Asia, has been facing the threats from inside and outside of the religion. The inside threats are from the misbehavior of a number of monks who have not followed the Buddhist disciplines. They are also from the spread of “supernaturalism” (saiyasāt), “magic spell” (vetmon-khāthā), and the sale of “merit” (puñña) or other forms of Buddhistic commercialized activities by some monastery in Buddhist countries in Asia, including Thailand.
The outside threats are from the expansion of other religions which have been trying to undermine Buddhism since the colonial period. Some other faith has been trying to influence the key persons in the government and the parliament, by money and sexual attractions, so that they could use political and legal powers for the expansion of their faith. Sometime they use military action, including terrorism, to establish a state of their faith. They ultimately want to convert Buddhist countries in Asia to countries of their faith.
Recognizing the urgent problems facing Buddhism in Asia today, the Center for Chinese Studies (CCS) at Mahidol University, Wat Yannawa and Wat Thepthidaram co-host the 1st Makhapuja International Conference on “The Future of Buddhism in Asia.” This is the continuity of the previous four AEC Buddhist Conferences held in Pattaya (2014), Penang (2015), Phnom Penh (2016), and Mandalay (2017), but it extends the scope to cover all Buddhist countries in Asia. We hope to create a network and cooperation among Buddhist scholars, who are aware of these problems, for the future of Buddhism in Asia and beyond.

Objective

⦁ To celebrate Makhapuja Day—the Buddhist Sangha day.
⦁ To continue the previous four AEC Buddhist Conferences held in Pattaya (2014), Penang (2015), Phnom Penh (2016), and Mandalay (2017).
⦁ To identify the threats and the challenges facing Buddhism in Asia, especially in South and Southeast Asia, from the crisis inside and outside of Buddhism.
⦁ To create an academic atmosphere for Buddhist scholars to discuss and exchange their ideas, and a network among those who are aware of this important issue.

Target Group
100 participants. They consist of 50 international Buddhist scholars from AEC, Asia and around the world, staff from the CCS, and another 50 participants from Wat Yannawa, Wat Thepthidaram and other monasteries in Thailand.

Language
English
Venue and Date
The Royal Gems Golf Resort, Tel. 02-787-3383
170/148 M.3, Salaya-Bangphasi Rd., Putthamonthon, Nakhon Pathom 73170.
17 – 20 February 2019

Registration
Please register in advance for your participation in the conference by filling the attached form and send it to our office as early as possible. There is no registration fee. Those who present academic paper will be provided with room and board during the conference. Foreign participants will be met and picked up at the airport upon request.

Contact Us
Center for Chinese Studies,
Faculty of Social Sciences and Humanities,
Mahidol University, Salaya, Nakhon Pathom 73170, Thailand.
Tel. (+66) 02-800-2840—60 ext. 1620, E-mail: shccs@mahidol.ac.th
Website: http://www.sh.mahidol.ac.th/ccsmu/
Contact Persons:
Paper Collection: Ven. Ashin Zawana at zawanameister@gmail.com
Airport Pick-up: Ven. HU Chuang at huchuang2557@gmail.com

Schedule
Sunday 17 February 2019

Morning & afternoon Airport pick up
If you want to be met and picked up at the airport, please contact Ven. HU Chuang at huchuang2557@gmail.com, (phone +66 2 800-2840—60 ext. 1620) and indicate your flight numbers, arrival and departure dates and time, and the airport—Suvarnabhumi or Don Muang. Please plan to arrive at and depart from the airport before 6.00 pm.

17.00 Arrival of all scholars and participants.
Check in at The Royal Gems Golf Resort (Tel. 02-787-3383)
18.30 Welcome Dinner

Monday 18 February 2019

8.00 hr. Arrival of all the participants at the conference hall.
Registration
Master of Ceremony: Mr. Philip Wood

8.15 – 9.00 Opening Ceremony
Report by Phra Wisudthiwaraphon
Assistant Aboot, Wat Thepthidaram, Thailand
Opening Address by Phra Promwachirayan
Abbot, Wat Yannawa, Thailand

Awards Presentation for “Outstanding Buddhists”
By Phra Promwachirayan
Welcome Address by Assoc. Prof. Dr. Luechai Sringernyuang,
Dean, Faculty of Social Sciences & Humanities
Mahidol University, Thailand

Keynote Speeches:
9.00 – 9.45 Modern Challenges for Buddhism
Prof. Dr. Kapila Abhayawansa
Vice Rector, International Buddhist College, Sri Lanka
9.45 – 10.15 Western Media and Xinjiang Problem in China
Dr. Tavivat Puntarigvivat
Founder, AEC Buddhist Conference
Center for Chinese Studies, Mahidol University, Thailand
10.15 – 10.30 Coffee Break

10.30 – 11.00 The Future of Buddhism in Asia
Dr. Charoon Varnakasinanon
Leader, Mahabodhi Party, Thailand
11.00 – 11.30 The Scourge of Poverty and Proselytism: Socio-Economics of
Protecting Buddhist Heritage of Sri Lanka
Dr. Kalinga Seneviratne
Lotus Communication Network, Sri Lanka
11.30 – 12.30 Lunch

12.30 – 15.00 Paper Presentation I (Room A, Room B)
15.00 – 15.30 Coffee Break

15.30 – 17.30 Paper Presentation II (Room A, Room B)

17.30 – 18.00 MC: Mr. Philip Wood
Summary of Presentations by
Rapporteur (Room A): Mr. Fredric Prager
Rapporteur (Room B): Mr. Philip Wood
Discussion
Moderator: Dr. Yuan De

18.00 Closing Ceremony
By Phra Thepwisutthimedhi,
Abbot, Wat Thepthidaram, Thailand

18.30 – 20.00 Dinner

Tuesday 19 February 2019

7.00 – 8.00 hr. Breakfast
8.30 – 10.00 Study Trip: Buddha-monthon Park
10.30 – 11.30 Sunthon Phu Museum, Wat Thepthidaram
11.30 – 12.30 Gala Lunch (Wat Thepthidaram)
13.30 – 16.30 Cultural Trip: Saladin Floating Market (Local Thai way of life,
Lotus field, Pomelo garden, Orchid garden, Local Thai cooking)
16.30 – 17.30 Dinner (Pae Salaya Floating Restaurant at Klongyong Canal)
19.00 – 20.00 Makhapuja Ceremony at Wat Yannawa

Wednesday 20 February 2019

7.00 – 9.00 Breakfast
9.00 – 12.00 Free time
12.00 noon Check out & Departure

The 1st Makhapuja International Conference on
The Future of Buddhism in Asia
Co-hosted by Center for Chinese Studies, Wat Yannawa and Wat Thepthidaram
At The Royal Gems Golf Resort, Putthamonthon, Nakhon Pathom, Thailand
17 – 20 February 2019

List of Papers and Speakers

Please be advised that:

1. There are 2 presentation rooms: Room A and Room B. Please check the room for your presentation. In each room there is a Moderator who will facilitate the presentations (within 4½ hours), and a Rapporteur who will take note and present the essential points of all papers and discussions at the Summary session.
2. The moderator will first invite each speaker to make presentation for 20 minutes, followed by Q&A for another 10 minutes. Further discussion can be made at the Summary and Discussion session.
3. If your presentation is enhanced by software like Power Point, please email your soft copy presentation a few days earlier to Khun Kosoom at kosoom.pra@mahidol.ac.th to enable the organizers to test for compatibility and make the necessary arrangement.
4. The length of each paper should be around 3,400 words (approximately 10 pages) with flexibility. Pāli or Sanskrit words should be written with diacritical marks and in italic (if suitable). Please keep in mind that it is quality of the paper, rather than quantity of the paper, that is main concern.
5. After the conference, please revise your full paper according to the comments and suggestion during the discussion. Your revised paper will be considered to be published in the proceeding publication. Please submit your revised full paper (in both MS Word and Acrobat pdf format) to Khun Kosoom at kosoom.pra@mahidol.ac.th, phone +66 2 800 2840—60 ext. 1620 by the deadline of 31 March 2019.

Keynote Speeches:

  • Modern Challenges for Buddhism
    Prof. Dr. Kapila Abhayawansa
    kapila1939@gmail.com
    Vice Rector for Academic Affairs
    International Buddhist College, Sri Lanka
  •  Western Media and Xinjiang Problem in China
    Dr. Tavivat Puntarigvivat
    Tavivat01@gmail.com
    Founder, AEC Buddhist Conferences
    Center for Chinese Studies, Mahidol University, Thailand
  •  The Future of Buddhism in Asia
    Dr. Charoon Wonnakasinanont
    buddhateera@gmail.com
    Leader, Mahabhodhi Party, Thailand
  •  The Scourge of Poverty and Proselytism: Socio-Economics of Protecting
    Buddhist Heritage of Sri Lanka
    Dr. Kalinga Seneviratne
    sen1954@yahoo.com
    Lotus Communication Network, Sri Lanka

Theme A: The Challenges of Buddhism in Asia

  • The Role of Language and Culture for the Future of Buddhism in Asia
    Dr. Suthira Duangsamosorn
    suthiraduangsamosorn@yahoo.com
    Independent Scholar, Germany
  • Thai Sangha Order Needs a Diametrical Change for its Survival
    Dr. Jiraporn Phansawang
    cartoon.may@gmail.com
    Mahamakut Buddhist University
    Roi Et Campus, Thailand
  •  Some Specific Features of the Adoption of Buddhism in Thailand
    Mihail Ignatev
    ignatev-mihail@rambler.ru
    Saint Petersburg University, Russia
  •  Missionary Sangha in Crisis
    Thinzaw Kyaw
    wfamous89@gmail.com
    International Buddhist College, Myanmar
  •  Contemporary Myanmar Buddhist Nuns: Challenges and Prospects
    Bhikkhuni Tikkhanani
    tikkhananinma@gmail.com
    International Buddhist College, Myanmar
  •  Chadhātu-Based Meditative Education in Myanmar and Its Impact
    on the Propagation of Buddhism
    Ven. Pannyavara
    pannyavara@gmail.com
    Gautam Buddha University, India
  •  How Cambodian Buddhist Sangha Cope with the Comtemporary World
    Ven. San Pisith
    sanpisith04@gmail.com
    International Buddhist College, Cambodia
  • Buddhist Transmission in Bangladesh: Past through Present
    Sanjoy Barua Chowdhury
    sanjoybaruachy@hotmail.com
    Mahachulalongkornrajavidyalaya University
    (MCU), Bangladesh
  •  A Comparative Study on Huineng and Luangpor Teean:
    Life Stories and Teachings on Sila, Samadhi and Panna
    Dr. Haifeng Fu
    haifeng.fu02@xjtlu.edu.cn
    International Business School Suzhou,
    Xi’an Jiaotong-Liverpool University,
    Jiangsu 215123, China
  •  The Buddha’s Ancient Path from Purification to Liberation
    Soong Wei Yean
    sweiyean@yahoo.com
    International Buddhist College, Malaysia

Theme B: From History to Future of Buddhism in the World

  •  Disappearance of Buddhism from the Central Asian Region
    Prof. Dr. Tilak Kariyawasam
    tilak.kariyawasam@gmail.com
    Dean, Graduate School
    International Buddhist College, Sri Lanka
  •  An Alternative Way to Human Rights: from a Viewpoint of Buddhism
    Prof. Dr. Koji Nakatogawa,
    kojinakatogawa@gmail.com
    Emeritus Prof.
    Hokkaido University, Sapporo, Japan
  •  Buddhism in Kathmandu: Charismatic and Spiritual Leadership
    in the case of Ram Bahadur Bomjan, the Buddha Boy
    Dr. Namthip Rasamichanvatara
    babba1210@me.com
    Central Department of Buddhist Studies,
    Faculty of Humanities & Social Science
    Tribhuvan University, Kirttipur, Kathmandu, Nepal
  •  Buddhism in Central Europe: Situation, Challenges and Strength
    Dr. Veronique Pochet
    veronique.pochet@gmail.com
    University College Leuven Limburg, Belgium
    Vice President, Buddhist Union of Belgium
  •  The How versus the What
    Dr. Janos Mate
    matej5july48@gmail.com
    University of West Hungary
    European Union
  •  Conservation of Resources and Sustainable Environment:
    A Futuristic Buddhist Agenda
    Dr. Anand Singh
    anandsinghbuddha@gmail.com
    Nalanda University, India
  •  The Crisis of Faith in Thai Buddhism: A Systematic Solution
    from Yoniso-manasikara
    Dr. Vimut Prasertpunt
    vimut.p@gmail.com
    Professor Emeritus, Mahidol University, Thailand
  •  Myanmar Buddhist Society and Beliefs in Nats (Animism)
    Phyu Mar Lwin
    phyumarlwin@gmail.com
    Center for Religious Studies, Mahidol University
    Myanmar
  •  Misinterpretations on Dhamma and Theravada Source Language Studies
    Dr. Wimal Hewamanage
    wimal@bs.cmb.ac.lk
    Department of Buddhist Studies
    University of Colombo, Sri Lanka
  •  An Emergent Global Human Organism May Reconcile the Hinayana
    and Mahayana Paths
    Ben Werner
    ben@monetaryecology.com
    Independent Scholar, U.S.A.

 

Keynote Speeches:

⦁ Modern Challenges for Buddhism

Prof. Dr. Kapila Abhayawansa
kapila1939@gmail.com
Vice Rector for Academic Affairs
International Buddhist College, Sri Lanka

  As the Buddhists we earnestly expect the development of Buddhism through which we hope to share the benefit of Buddhism with the maximum possible number of people on the one hand and also we hope the spread of Buddhism among many more societies throughout the world, on the other hand. It is no need to say that the Buddha also had the same expectation when he presented his teachings to the world. Though this goal is altruistic and laudable, it is not so easy to achieve as we expect it due to the fact that there are various problems arising internally as well as externally against Buddhism. Those are really the challenges for Buddhism in respect of its progress. If we do not find the satisfactory ways and means to face and overcome them, it is obvious that Buddhism would be in danger.
Challenges which are arising internally are mostly due to some devastating effects of the modern global consumerist society that affect to our lives. Some are due to the lack of mutual understanding among the Buddhists themselves. Challenges arising from external causes are also badly affect to Buddhism. Growing advancement of science and technology over which people admire enthusiastically is a challenge to some of the trans-empirical concepts such as kamma, punabbhava and nibbana in Buddhism. Rationalistic and skeptical trend are also the challenges which are connected with the modern development of science and technology. Hedonistic trend developing in the global society is also going against Buddhism. Another big challenge is the lack of sufficient political solutions to the arising problems from anti-Buddhist movements against Buddhist activities in some of Buddhist counties.
This paper is intended to identify such challenges for Buddhism coming out of modern world and to discuss their nature in details. Further, it tries to find some possible solutions to them for the progress of Buddhism without interruption.

Biography:

  Prof. Dr. Kapila Abhayawansa is currently the Vice Rector for Academic Affairs at the International Buddhist College at Sadao, Songkhla in southern Thailand. He is a Professor Emeritus from Sri Lanka, and has been teaching Buddhist Studies at the IBC for many years.

2.Western Media and Xinjiang Problem in China

Dr. Tavivat Puntarigvivat
Tavivat01@gmail.com
Founder, AEC Buddhist Conferences
Center for Chinese Studies, Mahidol University, Thailand

After the Cold War—the ideological war between Western Capitalist Democracy and Eastern Socialist Communism—ended at the end of 20th century, a new conflict of religion and race emerged at the beginning of the 21st century. The tragedy of 11 September 2001 (9/11) in New York was the symbol and the turning point of this new conflict: Islamic Civilization has clashed with Western Civilization. There were many terrorist attacks by Muslim extremists in major cities in the West over the years. Islam had been expanding worldwide both peacefully and through acts of terrorism. There was an attempt to establish the “Islamic State” (IS) using direct military actions in Syria. There were also attempts to set up the Islamic states through terrorism in different countries, such as Mindanao in the Philippines, Pattani in Thailand, and Xinjiang in China. All these terrorist attacks and movements were inspired by the extremist ideology from the Middle East, and have posed the major threats and challenges to Buddhism in Asia.
In the midst of the Islamic conflicts with different countries throughout the world today, the Western media often uses the issue of “Human Rights” or “Genocide” to attack the government of those countries. The West would like to create misunderstanding, conflicts and tensions between the Islamic world and the different governments in Asia, for the benefit of the West. This paper uses the case of “Western media and Xinjiang problem in China” as a case study to understand the pattern of threats and challenges to Buddhism in Asia as a whole.

Keywords: Buddhism, Future of Buddhism, Western media, Xinjiang problem, Buddhism in Asia

Biography:

Dr. Tavivat Puntarigvivat is Chair of the Advisory Committee, Center for Chinese Studies, Mahidol University in Thailand. He received his B.A. in Economics from Thammasat University in Thailand, his M.A. in Philosophy from the University of Hawaii, and his Ph.D. in Religion from Temple University. Dr. Tavivat was a member of the Thai Parliament’s Committee on the Reform of Thai Buddhism and a member of the Thai Senate’s Subcommittee on Ethics. He was chair of the graduate program in comparative religion at Mahidol University, where he initiated the graduate program in religion and development. He was also Director of the Institute of Research and Development at The World Buddhist University in Bangkok, Thailand.

3. The Future of Buddhism in Asia

Dr. Charoon Wonnakasinanont
buddhateera@gmail.com
Leader, Mahabhodhi Party, Thailand

Buddhism is a great religion of the world. It is a guiding light for people to go about their daily lives in the knowledge that there is always a hidden entity looking after their welfare. The Buddha is a great teacher who points us to the correct path and a set of ethics that we should adhere to during our lives and for everyone to travel on. His disciplines are designed to protect and safeguard us from falling into hell. His disciples took great care that everyone should be taught. After a long period, there began to appear severe cracks and wrongdoings perpetrated by some followers of the Buddhist doctrine both inside and outside of the main philosophy.
Inside factors affecting Buddhism: Buddhist followers and many Buddhist monks tend to both misinterpret and also avoid the main Buddhist doctrines. Instead, new pathways are followed which are completely different from the original teachings that ultimately lead to a different destination. They have left the previously absorbed doctrine behind them only to replace it with their own versions of it. That is the wrong way to go.
Outside factors affecting Buddhism: Other religions such as Islam were dangerous to Buddhism. In fact, according to long periods in Buddhism’s history, Islam has destroyed Buddhism in many countries, many times, such as Afghanistan, India and Indonesia, etc. Now, situations like that have been changed, together with the problem of threat. At present, the enemy comes in the form of government by new laws which have an effect on the Buddhist doctrine. Armies are used in a way that is different from the past. Therefore, it is complicated for us to protect ourselves from outside factors influencing Buddhism.
The situation in Buddhism today has worsened without anybody noticing. This is a dangerous occurrence and more dangerous and important than that which has gone before. If this situation continues then Buddhism in Asia will undoubtedly suffer. Finally, the future of Buddhism in Asia will be a disaster and everyone will be the victim.

Keyword: Buddhism, Buddhist heritage, Buddhist crisis, Buddhist problem,
Buddhist survival

Biography:

Dr. Charoon Wonnakasinanont is currently the leader of Mahabodhi Party, a political party to protect Buddhism, in Thailand. He was a Buddhist monk who passed the examination for Pali 7. He received his B.A. (Buddhism) from MCU (Mahachulalongkornrajavidyalaya University), M.A. (Comparative Religion) from Mahidol University, and his Ph.D. (Buddhism) from the MCU. Dr. Charoon has been teaching Buddhism as a special instructor at the MCU. He is president of the Kasina Association (Thailand) and has taught kasina meditation at Wat Yannawa for more than 15 years. He is also the manager of Buddhaleela Publishing House by which he has published extensively more than 250 items on Buddhism.

4. The Scourge of Poverty and Proselytism: Socio-Economics of  Protecting Buddhist Heritage of Sri Lanka

Dr. Kalinga Seneviratne
sen1954@yahoo.com
Lotus Communication Network, Sri Lanka

In recent years, Buddhists in Sri Lanka have attracted wide international media scrutiny for the behavior of some monks – sometimes violent – direct action to express perceived grievances threatening their communities due to intensified proselytism by Evangelical Christian and Whabbi Islamic forces. At the root of these problems is poverty among the grassroots Buddhist communities, which have been targeted by these forces for proselytism under the disguise of welfare services. This paper, based on my book (funded by the World Buddhist University) “The Scourge of Poverty and Proselytism” will discuss how the international Buddhist community could mobilise to assist grassroots Buddhists in Sri Lanka (and across Asia) that are facing socio-economic hardships. This paper will argue that socio-economic problems of grassroots Buddhists could only be resolved by socially engaged Buddhism and rich Buddhists in Asia paying more attention to helping their poorer counterparts closer to home, than showing off their Buddhist compassions to non-Buddhist communities far away, such as in Europe and North America.

Biography:

Dr. Kalinga Seneviratne is a Sri Lanka born journalist, radio broadcaster, television documentary maker and a media and international communications analyst. He is the founder of Lotus Communication Network and a development communication consultant. He was a visiting researcher and lecture at Communication Arts Faculty of Chulalongkorn University, Thailand in 2016 and 2017. He was Head of Research at the Asian Media Information and Communication Centre (AMIC) in Singapore from 2005-2012. He has taught radio production, international communications and journalism at tertiary level at UTS and Macquarie Universities in Australia and NTU and Ngee Ann Polytechnic in Singapore, and Chulalongkorn and Bangkok Universities in Thailand. Kalinga holds a Phd in International Communications (Macquarie University, Australia), Masters in Social Sciences (UTS, Australia) and Bachelor’s degree in Engineering Science (Reading University, UK). He specializes in development journalism and feature writing and has been writing for the Inter Press Service (IPS) and its offshoot INPS news agency since 1991. He has written over 1000 feature stories in a career spanning more than 25 years covering over 30 countries. He has edited many books and written published research papers on development communications, journalism with an Asian perspective, multicultural broadcasting and community media. He is the author of “Countering MTV Influences in Indonesia and Malaysia” published by the Institute of Southeast Asian Studies in Singapore in 2012. He has edited a book ‘Mindful Communication for Sustainable Development: Perspectives from Asia, published by SAGE in 2018. In 1987 he won a UN Media Peace Award for a series broadcast on Australian community radio titled “We Don’t Want No Peace” looking at the relationship between rich and poor countries.

Theme A: The Challenges of Buddhism in Asia

1.The Role of Language and Culture for the Future of Buddhism in Asia

Dr. Suthira Duangsamosorn
suthiraduangsamosorn@yahoo.com
Independent Scholar, Germany

The paper will examine the future of Buddhism in Asia from my prospective as a scholar of language and literature. The reader will be taken briefly to a few questions which will be answered in the light of some interesting data that make me believe that the continuity of Buddhism in Asia depends of the survival of our languages. There is no doubt that Buddhism can be recognized as an intrinsic part of language and is evident, especially in the case histories of how Buddhism was spread from India to its neighboring countries and East Asia which became Chinese Buddhism, which includes the emerging forms of Buddhist practices, such as Ch’an in China, known as Zen in Korea and Japan. They existed alongside indigenous philosophies, in particular Confucianism more or less peacefully, but nothing can be compared to the war of languages that persisted in Korea. At present our countries in Asia have met with all kinds of problems and dwindling numbers of believers. Buddhism in Korea might not have survived without its own alphabet invented by the Great King of Sejong in 1442. Hangul, promulgated as the language of Korea in 1945, is a symbol of inclusiveness in a nation, and increasingly becomes exemplary for the future of Buddhism in Asia thought the interconnectedness of our languages.

Biography:

Dr. Suthira Duangsamosorn was born in Berlin, Germany and has lived in Thailand for more than 50 years. She taught English at Wat Raikhing and other language institutes in Bangkok before joining the Bangkok Post and held the position of Editor of Student Weekly for nine years. She furthered her studies in Pune and Aurangabad, India and was awarded a Ph.D. in English from Marathwada University in 1989. She taught at Assumption University for 13 years to become the Chair of Business English and before her retirement held the title of Assistant Professor of English and Comparative Literature. Her works include: Do you speak Asian?, Asia, a birthplace of religions, Meditation and scholarship in China, Belief enshrined in Thailand’s first chedi, and Winning the ‘language war’ in Korea.

2.Thai Sangha Order Needs a Diametrical Change for its Survival

Dr. Jiraporn Phansawang
cartoon.may@gmail.com
Mahamakut Buddhist University
Roi Et Campus, Thailand

As a substructure relying on the national main structure of administration, the Thai Sangha Order is, at present, the conservative administrative system, which never changes to keep pace with the world that is changing rapidly. The article spotlights on the scenario of the current situation of the ecclesiastical administration that completely depends on the government in all aspects, especially financial assistance. It is possible that in the future the leader of the government will not be a Buddhist, or most of ministers are non-Buddhists, what will happen is a decrease in fiscal allotment, or even a full cut of the budget. Hence, a 360% change in the administration of the Thai Sangha Order to completely rely on itself is proposed. The administration styles to be taken as a model in its modification are the Dhammakaya, Santi Asoke, Mahayana Buddhism and the likes.
As can be seen, the administration styles adopted by Mahayana Buddhism, either Chinese or Vietnamese or Tibetan schools, are less dependent upon the government of such and such country, but more relying on themselves. Even Dhammakaya and Santi Asoke schools in this country are attempting, step by step, to depend on themselves rather than to solely hold on the state assistance. The fund mobilizing campaign by the Dhammakaya and the running of business ‘Bunyaniyom’ by Santi Asoke through its network in the form of foundations and clubs can be taken as concrete witnesses. As a matter of course, the change process needs some period of time to achieve the target, but it is the time for the Thai Sangha Order to take a stern look at its administration system and get a start to overhaul its mechanism in order that it can survive in the future when the ‘competition’ or, in other words, the war among the different faiths to win over or occupy the other will be come tougher; otherwise, Buddhism in Thailand will be helplessly directed to suffer a fantastic fall.

Key Words: Thai Sangha Order, Diametrical Change, Dhammakaya, Santi Asoke,
Mahayana Buddhism

Biography:

Dr. Jiraporn Phansawang is the Chairwoman of the Educational Program Management, Mahamakut Buddhist University, Roi Et Campus in Northeastern Thailand. She received her B.Ed. and M.A. in English from Loei Rajabhat University and her Ph.D. in Educational Administration from Northeastern University in Thailand. Dr. Jiraporn used to be the master of ceremony in the Third International Conference of Theravada Buddhist Universities hosted by Mahamakut Buddhist University in B.E. 2556 (2013), and she was also appointed as an Organizing Committee of the 100th Year Anniversary of the Royal Dhamma Study Department of the Thai Sangha Order held in B.E. 2555 (2012).

3.Some Specific Features of the Adoption of Buddhism in Thailand

Mihail Ignatev
ignatev-mihail@rambler.ru
Saint Petersburg University, Russia

In this paper we will discuss the question, which is, in our opinion, important for the understanding of Thai Buddhism: why it was precisely the Theravada form of Buddhism, which was ultimately accepted and adopted in Thai kingdoms as Lanna, Sukhothai, and then in Ayutthaya?
Many orientalists pointed to such an important reason for the advantage of Mahayana over Theravada as its “accessibility”. However, in Southeast Asia, the greater availability of Mahayana compared to Theravada did not become a weighty argument for the Thai, who chose the more difficult Theravada path.
As a possible explanation we propose the cause of a socio-psychological nature. In traditionalist Thai society of XI – XII centuries, apparently, the person has not yet stood out so much from the community, has not yet developed to the extent to realize and feel the full power of the world evil that stood against it (the person), but it could intuitively sense the threat posed by that world evil. In Theravada, as A.V. Paribok successfully formulated it, a man sought “salvation not for a person, but from a person” in the sense that “the element of individualization” was understood to a large extent as “something negative”. Theravada offered practical recipes for curbing the egocentric orientation of the personal consciousness, ultimately its enlightenment and transformation, but not destruction at all.

Keywords: Buddhism, Thailand, Theravada, Mahayana, person

Biography:

Mikhail Ignatev is a student of Saint Petersburg University in Russia, now an exchange student of Thammasat University in Thailand. He has been studying the history of Thailand for over 4 years. Among his academic interests are: the religious situation in Thailand and other countries of Southeast Asia, the history and the philosophy of Buddhism, the art and culture of Western and Eastern civilization.

4.Missionary Sangha in Crisis

Thinzaw Kyaw
wfamous89@gmail.com
International Buddhist College, Myanmar

Throughout history, religion has been used as a weapon of political gamesmanship because it can create both allegiance and conflict. Buddhism has the tendency to also become a political weapon under the banner of nationalism. Today, monks in strong Theravada Buddhist countries such as Myanmar, Sri Lanka, and Thailand are strongly criticized for their public behaviours. A principal cause for this problem is lack of awareness of the importance of the Vinaya in determining monastic behaviour. This results in negligence of a monk’s duties defined by the Buddha’s wish. The Vinaya states ‘what ought to be done’ or ‘what ought not to be done’ in a monastic life. The Patimokkhaa is the most important monastic code to ensure purity in the monks’ speech and actions.
This paper emphasizes the importance of the Vinaya and moral practice in maintaining and growing Sāsanā and missionary activities. In the Theravada tradition, Vinaya was used as a generator of mission and as a medium to equalize the properties of its members. Its other focus is on the duties of the Buddhist missionary. The missionary’s responsibility is to maintain the faith of those in power and the public through the peaceful ways. In this paper, I argue that an effective remedy is required to regain the unity of the whole monastic community. Unity through Dhamma and Vinaya, rather than conflict and violence, is the main weapon to protect the country’s religion. It is the Dhamma and Vinaya that can not only maintain existing Buddhist influence but also extend its boundaries.

Key words: vinaya, sāsanā, missionary, duties, faith

Biography:

Thinzar Kyaw, am from Myanmar. In Myanmar, I graduated from the University of Traditional Medicine. While I was attending that university from Monday to Friday course, I joined the distance course of Abhidhamma University at the weekends for three years. After Abhidhamma Diploma, I determined to continue the Buddhist Studies in International Buddhist College in Thailand. Now, I am studying M.A Program in IBC as a second year student. Last year, I joined the conference at Than Hsiang Temple in Penang, Malaysia with the title of “The Best Bedtime Stories for the Kids” as a young scholar.

5. Contemporary Myanmar Buddhist Nuns: Challenges and Prospects

Bhikkhuni Tikkhanani
tikkhananinma@gmail.com
International Buddhist College, Myanmar

Despite of the fact that the Bhikkhunī Sasana, which started from Mahāpajāpati Gotamī disappeared in Theravāda tradition a thousand years ago, the desire of women renouncing the life of a householder did not stop. The Bhikkhunī Sasana arrived in Myanmar with the Asoka’s missionary. The lineage could not survive much longer than 300 years and no one exactly knows why bhikkhunīs in Myanmar disappeared. Nowadays Myanmar Buddhist nuns are called thilashins (owner of the precepts) who mostly observe eight or ten precepts. Although in history there is scarcity of their presence, Mae Kin or Khemā during the Kone Baung dynasty (1752-1885) was the first well-known thilashin in Myanmar. Being well educated and disciplined herself, she trained the princesses and maids in the palace. She left many able disciples and contemporary nuns who could be her lineage.
Once supported by the royal families, the prosperous Thilashin Sasana is now facing many challenges to gain public support. Being monastic educated and not having much contact with modern technology, they are not up-to-date with social media. Further they are not independent economically and exhibit laxity in disciplinary conducts. All these factors make thilashins incompetent members in the community. So they need to be trained in modern educational system. For example, teaching dhamma in English is essential to grab the attention of the youths of the 21st century. This paper intends to demonstrate the current challenges and the methods to encounter them through missionary works. To be more effective, I have relied on my experiences, and interviewed Buddhist community, both monastic and laity. By creating network among thilashin schools in the areas of social service, counseling, dhamma talk as a team, the better prospects of thilashin in particular and Buddhism as a whole will be promoted and protected in Myanmar.

Keywords: Myanmar Buddhist Nun, thilashin, challenge, missionary, prospect

Biography:

I am Tikkhanani, a Buddhist nun from Myanmar since 2010. Before becoming a nun, I worked for an INGO that was involved in the affected areas hit by the Nargis Cyclone. I received my BA from Sitagu International Buddhist Academy, Sagaing, Myanmar. At present, I am doing an MA in Buddhist Studies at the International Buddhist College, Thailand. I have been teaching young novices and nuns at Sitagu Kambhoja Monastic Education School in Myanmar. During the summer months, I teach Basic English Course to the middle and the high school students in the Delta Areas. Teaching Basic Meditation to children as well as adults is my community service.

6. Chadhātu-Based Meditative Education in Myanmar and Its Impact on the Propagation of Buddhism

Ven. Pannyavara
pannyavara@gmail.com
Gautam Buddha University, India

This paper will explore the reasons why the Buddhists need the meditative education to propagate the teachings of the Buddha. The meditation-based approach Buddhist educations engage the public more than the formal Buddhist education. Moreover, meditation is the best option to experience the value of the Buddha teachings. Furthermore, the practitioners experienced the value of the Buddha teachings make an effort to propagate the value of teaching again such as Ledi Sayādaw, Mahāsi Sayādaw, Mogok Sayādaw, Pa Auk Sayādaw, U Ba Khin, S.N. Goenka, Joseph Goldstein Dipa Ma, tec. and value it more than before. Putting to the proof, this paper will bring the Chadhātu-based approach meditative education running at the Bodhipakkhiya Medication Centre in Mingun-Myanmar and its impact on the propagation of Buddhism.

Keywords: Chadhātu vipassanā (six elements insight meditation), contemplation, dhātu, meditative education, value, propagation

Biography:

  Pannyavara is a Burmese Buddhist monk and a doctoral candidate of Gautam Buddha University in India. He received his B.A from Sitagu International Buddhist Academy and his M.A & M.Phil from Gautam Buddha University. For his Ph.D. programme of School of Buddhist Studies & Civilization at Gautam Buddha University, he is mainly engaged in the Chadhātu Vipassanā meditation and working on his research at Bodhipakkhiya Forest Meditation Centre in Mingun-Myanmar as a field study. Additionally, he has attended at conferences to present the papers. He is currently working on his research “Chadhātu Vipassanā: An Analysis of Its Impact on Buddhist Practitioners of Myanmar.”

7.How Cambodian Buddhist Sangha Cope with the Contemporary World

Ven. San Pisith
sanpisith04@gmail.com
International Buddhist College, Cambodia

Similar to the other Theravādin Buddhist countries in Southeast Asia, Buddhism is believed to be present in Cambodia since the early Common Era. Evidently, this religion has shared various kinds of her principle, culture, literature, and ethic with the people of this ancient nation. Since the arrival of Buddhism, the Khmer monks have transitionally changed their roles from generation to generation. They had acted as an ideal community for the people of Cambodia for several centuries. It is indispensable to examine analytically the elements and relevant factors which vacillated the community of Saṅgha to play their significant roles in the society nowadays. Evidently, the roles of Buddhist monks have been obscured by mist of social circumstances.
Undeniably, the ideas of materialistic development are decreasing the value of spiritual cultivation in the social relationship. The Buddhist monks in Cambodia have been reported to play fewer roles in their own community recently. The purpose of this study is to examine the connection between the monastic member of Saṅgha and lay community in the three transitional stages through literature reviews and historical perspectives from the pre-colonial to the post-communist period. This paper predominantly relies on the secondary sources such as academic papers, journal articles, textbooks, governmental documents, and non-governmental organization documents. Therefore, this paper may provide us a significant account on the substantial contribution of the monastic members of Saṅgha to Cambodian society.

Keywords: Saṅgha, Materialistic, Contemporary, Ideal Community, Spiritual Cultivation.

Biography:

The Ven. San Pisith (Sangke Monastery, Battambang, Cambodia) received his BA from International Theravada Buddhist Missionary University, Myanmar, in 2016, and his MA from International Buddhist College, Thailand (Thesis passed with distinction), in 2018. He is planning to pursue a PhD at TalTech University, Estonia. He has published or edited about i.e., “Cambodian Buddhists’ Response to the French Protectorate,” “The Contribution of King Asoka to Buddhism,” and “The Buddha’s View on the Influence of Friendship.” Now he is working for Buddhism for Development (BFD) organization as a Social Community Worker who assists the program officer in developing plan, monitoring the human rights program with BFD. He helps the program officer oversee and report program activities on matter relating to the development and management of BFD strategic program. Ven. Pisith enjoys volunteering his service to work with youths and spending time with elderly people to learn new knowledge and experience from them.

8. Buddhist Transmission in Bangladesh: Past through Present

Sanjoy Barua Chowdhury
sanjoybaruachy@hotmail.com
Mahachulalongkornrajavidyalaya University
Bangladesh

Bangladesh had a glorious history of Buddhist transmission for 1800 years, the time of the Buddha’s life (6th Century BCE) through the 12th Century AD. Eminent Buddhist figures, namely Vangīsa Thera, Śāntarakṣita, Atīśa Dīpaṃkara Śrījñāna, Shantideva came from what is now known as the Bangladesh area. Referring to the Pāli scripture Theragāthā, Vangīsa Thera is considered to be the first Buddhist from mainland Bengal who was ordained as monk (Bhikkhu) under the Buddha’s supervision. Vangīsa Thera became famous for his poetic Dharma sermons an was praised by the Buddha according to the Pāli scriptures. Subsequently, more eminent Buddhist scholars: Śāntarakṣita, Atīśa Dīpaṃkara Śrījñāna, Shantideva came from Bangladesh and propagated Buddhism in their country and neighboring lands.
Atīśa Dīpaṃkaraśrījñāna (982-1054 CE) was a Bengali Buddhist legend and a former Nālandā scholar (paṇḍita) who came to Tibet to propagate Buddha Dhamma in the 11th Century. During the time of Pāla dynasty (750-1120 CE.), Buddhism flourished in ancient Bengal. Evidence of this is found in the ruins of Sompur Buddhist Vihāra, Vikramṥīla Buddhist University, Nateṥar, Vikrampūpa (present Dhaka) and Cakraṥala (Chittagong). Other archeological evidence is found in the ruins of Ramkot Buddhist monastery, which was built by the great Indian emperor Aṥoka (272-232 BCE.). According to the famous Chinese traveler Xuanzang or Hsuan-tsang’s (602-664 CE.) travel notes, Buddhism flourished in medieval Bengal and was supported Bengal Kings’ involvement in building numerous Buddhist Cetiya-s (monuments), monasteries and Buddhist educational institutes.
Through Buddhist transmission still exist in Bangladesh, its decline has been notable. According to the annual report of Bangladesh Bureau of Educational Information and Statistics (BANBEIS), Buddhist people are only 0.7% of population in Bangladesh. The aim of this research paper is to delineate the past glorious history of Buddhism in Bangladesh – how Buddhism flourished in what is now known as Bangladesh, along with highlighting the contribution of ancient Buddhist scholars and monks from mainland Bengal.

Keywords: Buddhism, Bangladesh, Buddha, Pāla dynasty, Vangīsa Thera Atīśa.

Biography:

Sanjoy Barua Chowdhury is a guest lecturer in Early Buddhism, Therāvāda Buddhism, Mahāyāna Buddhism, Seminar in Pāli Literature, Language and Literature at Mahāpajāpati Buddhist College (MBC) an associated institute of Mahamukhut Buddhist University (MBU), Thailand. He is currently a Ph.D Candidate in Buddhist Studies at International Buddhist Studies College (IBSC), Mahachulalongkornrajavidyalaya University (MCU), Thailand. He successfully obtained Master of Arts in Buddhist Studies (with distinction) from International Buddhist College (IBC) in 2015. His research interest are Buddhist Philosophy, Buddhist Psychology, Nāgārjūna and Atīśā’s teachings, and Buddhist secret literatures from Pāli and Sanskrit scripts.

9. A Comparative Study on Huineng and Luangpor Teean: Life Stories and Teachings on Sila, Samadhi and Panna

Dr. Haifeng Fu
haifeng.fu02@xjtlu.edu.cn
International Business School Suzhou,
Xi’an Jiaotong-Liverpool University,
Jiangsu 215123, China

In this paper, we firstly examine the relevant literature for recording the teachings of Master Huineng and Luangpor Teean. In particular, we review and study different versions of Platform Sutra both in Chinese and English, and we also examine the published teachings of Luangpor Teean in English. We next give a brief introduction to the life stories of the two masters, and then proceed to compare their teachings on Sila-Samadhi-Panna and the method of meditation that they advocate. We found a lot of important similarities in their teachings, which may help to better understand their teachings.

Keywords: Huineng, Luangpor Teean, Platform Sutra, formless precepts, concentration,
wisdom

Biography:

Dr. Haifeng Fu is currently the Deputy Head of Eco Division, IBSS. He severed as the programme director of BSc Economics and Finance from 2015 to 2017. Before joining XJTLU, he was an Assistant Professor (Mathematics) in Nanyang Technological University, Singapore and he obtained his Ph.D. in statistics from the National University of Singapore. Dr. Fu’s research focuses on Game Theory, Mathematical Economics, and Microeconomics Theory. He has published papers in leading economics journals including Economic Theory, Journal of Mathematical Economics, International Journal of Game Theory, and Economics Letters.

10.The Buddha’s Ancient Path from Purification to Liberation

Soong Wei Yean
sweiyean@yahoo.com
International Buddhist College, Malaysia

The future of Buddhism in Asia lies in the education, cultivation and practice of the Buddha’s Ancient Path – the Noble Eightfold Path. This path leads an individual from the foundation stage of morality with right view to the higher stages of concentration or purification of mind and finally to supra mundane wisdom leading to total eradication of defilements and liberation from all sufferings. An individual is productive and able to contribute to society only when his mind, body and speech is healthy and free from afflictions. The Buddha taught that our suffering is rooted in greed, hatred and delusion. Once these mental defilements are removed from the mind, a human being would naturally be happy, suffused with ethics, love and wisdom. Such a human being would be of great benefit to his family, society and his nation.
For Buddhism to survive in the future in any country, we have to go back to the basics of Sila, Samadhi and Panna being so completely well defined in the Noble Eightfold Path. In this paper I will attempt to explore this path together with the ancient scholars and throw new light upon the relevance and importance of this path to our individual development, to society and our future. Without personal cultivation and purification of morality as the foundation stone of practice, an individual is exposed to threats within himself and without. A person who cultivates the Buddha’s Ancient Path will be able to restrain himself and rein in his mental afflictions for the peace, harmony and progress of society.

Keywords: Noble Eightfold Path, mindfulness, mental cultivation, concentration, wisdom

Biography:

Ms. Soong Wei Yean commenced her Diploma in Buddhist studies in 1996 with Than Hsiang Buddhist Research Centre, Penang. In 2002, she obtained her Bachelor of Arts in Buddhist Studies as an external student of the Buddhist and Pali University of Sri Lanka. She graduated with a Master of Arts from the International Buddhist College (IBC), Thailand in 2013. She has taught Buddhist courses at the International Buddhist College, Sadao and presented papers at Buddhist Conferences in Bangkok, Patthaya and Penang. She is currently teaching at the International Buddhist College Malaysia in Penang.

Theme B: From History to Future of Buddhism in the World

11. Disappearance of Buddhism from the Central Asian Region

Prof..Dr. Tilak Kariyawasam
tilak.kariyawasam@gmail.com
Dean, Graduate School,
International Buddhist College, Sri Lanka

Kasmir – Gandhara was one of the earliest Buddhist strongholds in the whole of Central Asia. King Dharmasoka and King Kanishka were instrumental for the development of Buddhism in Kasmir and Gandhara. Monks after the fourth Buddhist Council walked through Peshawar, Kabul, Bamiyan and entered to the Silk road establishing Buddhism in those provinces and further went towards China passing through Kashgar, Yarkand and Takalamakan dessert and finally, brought the message of the Buddha to China.
When the Chinese travelers were travelling through the Silk route to India they witnessed the faithful Buddhist culture in almost all inhabitants of Central Asia. Archeological evidences also reveal that in Central Asian provinces Buddhism was popular and various other religious denominations had peaceful co-existence within Buddhist environment. This could have witnessed from the ruined city of Turfan.
When Buddhism developed in Kasmir Gandhara with the patronage of Kings, with the impact of it Buddhism flourished in Central Asia too. Since the 6th Century Buddhism faced challenges in Kasmir Gandhara first from Hindus then from Muslims it was not possible to resist as Muslims did not want to spare any idol worship. These Muslims took over the Silk Road and marched towards Central Asia destroying almost all Buddhist places and converting Buddhist in to Islam. This process expedited Islamization. With this Arab invasion from the West and from the East, collapse of Chinese Tan Dynasty led to the whole destruction of Buddhism and Buddhist Culture in Central Asia.
It was not merely, this destruction of Buddhism but also destructions of Buddhist monks, Arts and Architecture along with Buddhist paintings and sculpture. Once Muslims take over any place their population rapidly increases in the way that they spread in the entire area within a short period of time. They take every effort to develop their Mosques and business places leaving only very huge places of other religions just like Bamiyan Buddha statues in Afghanistan and Borobudur in Indonesia.

Key words: Fourth Buddhist Council, Silk Rout, Chinese travellers, Islamization,
Bamiyan Buddha Statue.

Biography:

Prof. TilakKariyawasam studied Buddhism and Indian Philosophy, and BA Graduated with First Class Honors in Sri Jayawardanepura University, Sri Lanka and obtained Ph.D. in the field of Buddhist Philosophy (University Lancaster, UK) in 1974. He was the Head of the Department of Pali and Buddhist Studies, University of Kelaniya, Sri Lanka, the Chair Professor of Buddhist Philosophy and Common Wealth Fellow of the University of Lancaster in 1984/85. He was a Director of the Postgraduate Institute of Pali and Buddhist Studies at the University of Kelaniya and awarded a Medal for 40 Years of University Service in January 2008. He is Professor Emeritus to the same University, and currently the Dean of Graduate School of International Buddhist College, Thailand and a regular Professor at the college.

12.An Alternative Way to Human Rights: from a Viewpoint of Buddhism

Dr. Koji Nakatogawa, Emeritus Professor
kojinakatogawa@gmail.com
Hokkaido University, Sapporo, Japan

After the Bangkok human rights declaration (1993), criticisms against the ‘universal’ human rights have increased. Before 19th century, however, kings had divine rights and exercised the absolute sovereignty, which was believed to be derived from God. During the French Revolution, the king was deprived of the sovereign power, and it was curried over to a nation-state. To cope with the power of the nation-state, an individual citizen of the nation-state sought protections from universal human rights, not from God. A bare man is born free, but sought protections from human rights. Citizens of modern society have been constructing a ‘happy’ life on the delicate balance between the governance system of ethnic nations and the protections provided by the ‘universal’ human rights.
To the contrary, Philosophy of Buddhism demands to abandon the self. By the fundamental principle of ‘Everything changes,’ nothing is eternal, and nothing has its own self. The empty self can have no rights, and thus no human rights, so that one becomes capable of leading a quiet and happy life. You suffer as long as you retain the self as an individual. This sort of Buddhists-like thinking encourages us to set forth an alternative way to understand not only happiness but also human rights. Such a ‘non-standard’ way of life must pay due respect to regionality, indigenous culture and history. (Issues such as human trafficking along the Mekong river or Bengalese in Rakhine province will be discussed.)

Keywords: Human Rights, Regionality, Self, Relational Origination, Compassion.

Biography:

Born in Osaka in 1951 and grew up in Kamakura, I finished university education in Japan. I went to U.S. as a beginning graduate student to obtain MA in mathematics at UC Berkeley in 1978. In 1986, Ph.D. from Tsukuba University in Japan. I taught logic and philosophy at Hokkaido University from 1991 till 2016. Visiting scholar: Stanford University in 1990, Wolfson College, Oxford University in 2010, and University of Wien in 2012. I attended lectures on logic by L. Henkin and seminars by Mituyosi Saegusa. Foreign adviser at Would Buddhist University in Bangkok. One of my two current interests is Early Buddhism.

13. Buddhism in Kathmandu: Charismatic and Spiritual Leadership In the case of Ram Bahadur  Bomjan, the Buddha Boy

Dr. Namthip Rassameechanvatar
babba1210@me.com
Center of Buddhist Studies, Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences,
Tribhuvan University, Kathmandu, Nepal

Kathmandu is a capital city of Nepal. Most of Nepalese people are Hindus. From long times ago till today, Nepal still be a Hindu country. In a between of Hindu society, some group of Kathmandu people called, Newar or Newari, still be continues respecting Buddha in Vajravana temple. Whatever, another Buddhist society confuse about culture and tradition of Buddhism in Kathmandu and Nepali Buddhist who believed in Buddhism. Once Nepal history called the war of Cleaning-Buddhism, the Hindu ruler wanted to stop Nepalese respecting Buddha, by sent armies ruin Newar Buddhist temple and their Buddha image, disrobed Monks and Nuns force them married together. However, Newar Buddhist protected some Buddha images and some their old temples.
Nowadays, Nepal still has problems about the believed in religious, the holding on their traditions, following on a culture, the mixing of many tribes and language of Nepal people, the development of country, social, and politic are not so going on well. So, people suffering, then they want a spiritual leader to guide life. Normally, human being need a super natural human being, who has a miracle as god living for help them. This kind of people will popular in religious way on this society, such as Ram Bahadur Bomjan; the Buddha living, or Buddha Boy who use a past charisma of Buddha climb up to be a Buddha reincarnate. Anyway, Nepali people not much care in spiritual leader. Because they are very strong strange of their family tradition more than following on religious way, whatever they are Hindu or Buddhist. The significant of Nepalese life are a following on Festival, Ceremony, Tradition, and Culture of each their generation tribe only.

Keywords: Nepal, Kathmandu, Newar, Buddha boy, Vajrayana

Biography:

Name: Miss Namthip Rassameechanvatar,
Education: B.A. Ramkhamhang Universiry (Thai)
M.A. Comparative Religions (Buddhism), Mahidol University
Ph.D. Scholar, Buddhist Studies, Center of Buddhist Studies,
Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, Tribhuvan University,
Kathmandu, Nepal
Work: Traditional Medicine Doctor, Bangkok Arokhaya Sala Prvt. Ltd., Kathamandu, Nepal
Facebook: JalhhSN
E-mail: babba1210@me.com

14. Buddhism in Central Europe: Situation, Challenges and Strength

Dr. Veronique Pochet
veronique.pochet@gmail.com
University College Leuven Limburg, Belgium
Vice-President, Buddhist Union of Belgium

These are the subjects I could mention in the presentation.
⦁ The situation of Buddhism in Europe. Number of people practising, tradition…
Official support of the government or not. The mission of a national Buddhist Union in a non-Buddhist country?
⦁ Challenges and forces of Buddhism in Europe. Europe’s citizens are confronted by great challenges: migration, terrorism, raise of national egoism, discrimination… How are Buddhist associations supporting citizen in these secular countries?
⦁ The European Buddhist Union is the umbrella association of national Buddhist unions and Buddhist organisations in Europe. The focus of the Council of Europe’s agenda lies on non-discrimination and an inclusive society and on these different levels
EDUCATION: official place in education for students and education of teachers of religion and philosophy. Lifelong learning of mindfulness and meditation.
HUMAN RIGHTS: participation to human rights debate.
SOCIAL COHESION: participation in political debate and the growing place of engaged Buddhism in Europe.
The network of Buddhist women in Europe is working to more cohesion among women and to inspire them to be active in their community.

15.The How versus the What

Dr. Janos Mate
matej5july48@gmail.com
University of West Hungary
European Union

This paper should not suggest explanations for the actual social currents in Asia. Neither gives it prognosis on the impacts of those on the future of Buddhism. It focuses on why the usual scientific methods prove inadequate for fending off certain negative tendencies of our time. Some insufficiencies come, perhaps, from the use of unilateral world view—obviously, what lopsidedness leaves out of sight may not be included in the agenda it proposes. Others fail to realize that dichotomies – progressive / regressive; positive / negative etc. – are derivations, so unsuited for use as principles. Furthermore, some would substitute out-of-sleeve-goals for traditional values, without realizing the role of ideas-in-the-center.
So the author suggests that, before setting out to analyze the actual problems of Buddhism’s presence and future, we should think over our principles, and systems of testing as well as methods of conclusions. This is how he puts social trends of our time in new light. Then and only then can the reader himself realize what have remained unnoticed and thus left out from (most of the) modern analyses. That recognition provides unexpected ways to think over in connection of the future of Buddhism in Asia.
Although this paper may well be categorized as ‘theory’, it goes beyond the practice- avoidance of a merely theoretical refutation. In doing so it offers a number of questions for Buddhists in Asia to set out and find answers for themselves.

Biography:

Before retiring, Dr. Janos Mate, associate professor of economics, spent ten of his ripe years at the University of West Hungary. Noticing the difference between the trade ethics of the East and those of the West, Mate took an interest in studying the correlation between religion-based ethics and business decisions. While his Western colleagues focus on problems of collaboration at multinationals, Mate aims to discover the essence of moral calculations in general. Ever since the date of the first conference (Economics with a Buddhist Face 2007) Mate has taken part in the work of four of the conferences (2009; 2012; 2016) organized by the Buddhist Economics Research Platform. His academic paper, titled On The Principles Of Promotion Of Buddhist Economics, was translated into Mandarin Chinese and published all over South East Asia.

16. Conservation of Resources and Sustainable Environment: A Futuristic Buddhist Agenda

Dr. Anand Singh
anandsinghbuddha@gmail.com
Nalanda University, India

It is known to us that modern science prelude to prosperity in all dimensions to human civilization. Human covered all space to conquer, rule and change the whole environment for their suitable and comfortable adaptation. With such intervention in natural mechanism, man was unknown to the fact that some invisible demonic consequences are following him when he is crossing all the natural barriers to demolish hills, destroy forests and diminishing water sources and demonstrating his powers to create or finish anything anywhere. Sustainable development is a process that requires use of existing resources without compromising it for future generation. The pillars of establishing socio- economic development and equalities are elucidated in the various Buddhist suttas. It shows that because of craving all sufferings and struggle originate. The Buddha explained the ways to earn and share the wealth virtuously and trail the path of spirituality to establish peace, harmony equalities in the society. Buddhism is against the lustful attachment towards insatiable things. Consumption according to Buddhism is not the final goal of a society. With this objective the paper will deal with conservation approaches and sustainable environmentalism for future Asia.

Biography:

Dean and Associate Professor astutely providing assistance to the Vice Chancellor through diligent strategic preparation and support. Adept at arranging and organizing student educational activities. Specialize in addressing student issues developing and implementing new courses of study evaluating student feedback tracking stats and measuring student progress.

17.The Crisis of Faith in Thai Buddhism: A Systematic Solution from Yoniso-manasikara

Dr. Vimut Prasertpunt
vimut.p@gmail.com
Professor Emeritus,
Mahidol University, Thailand

In this paper an attempt to analyze for the complexity of interrelated internal and external factors attributing to the decline of Buddhism in Thailand. Buddhism had established in Thailand where the society had deep-rooted beliefs in spirituals and superstitions. They fuse and play their roles harmoniously in Thai society. Nevertheless, the fusion left vast majority of lay Buddhists deluded, with insecure faith in Buddhism. They fall into consumerism and may turn to other religions that have been working to decimate Buddhism tactfully. With the wide spread of corruption scandals and misconduct of monks and clergy of the Sangha supreme in the past and recently, Thai society has been shaken all over. Senior monks and scholars have indicated that those are serious problems that cause decadent faith in Buddhism.
The research had conducted an exploration for solutions to the apparent decline of Buddhism in Thailand. The methods used were data and opinion mining from literatures, conferences and media talks and qualitative study with interviews and focus group discussions to Buddhists and organization relevant to Buddhism. Data obtained were used to form cause-effect diagrams and Yoniso-manasikara (critical reflection) and system thinking were used to find effective solutions. Results were discussed and concluded with a few suggestions to restore faith of Buddhism in Thailand.
It was found that, in general, lay Buddhists in Thailand see the value and importance of Buddhism as a religion that provide opportunity to make merits. They do not understand the essence of Dharma of the Buddha and thus do not see the necessity of living accordingly. Some do not believe in karma nor understand the Four Noble Truths, the way to Nirvana-Noble Eightfold Path. Thai lay Buddhists do not have any commitment to practice Dharma to gain benefit from Buddhism. They can therefore easily lose faith in Buddhism.
The solutions are that Buddhism decline in Thailand must be viewed and managed systematically. As it mainly stemmed from the weakness and ignorance of lay Buddhists, they must turn to be a learning organization. The two essential factors: Kalayanamitra and Yoniso-manasikara, that lead to Sammadhitti must be developed and applied in everyday life. All Buddhists need to strengthen themselves by studying Tipitaka and practicing Dharma regularly to confirm the Buddhist Noble Truth and to bring back faith in order to restoring Buddhism in Thailand.

Keywords: Buddhism, crisis of faith, system thinking, Yoniso-manasikara

Biography:

Dr. Vimut Prasertpunt received his Bachelor degree in Architecture from Chulalongkorn University, Master of Environmental Science from Monash University and Ph.D. in Environmental Information System Management from the University of Melbourne, Australia. He had worked as a lecturer at the Faculty of Environment and Resource Studies, Mahidol University and later taken administrative position as an Associate Dean and the Director of the Philosophical Doctor in Environmental Studies (International Program) for the Faculty before retiring in 2015.
Dr. Vimut has been interested in Buddhism at young age. He learned Buddhism from books of Buddhadasa Bikkhu as well as practicing Anapanasati Kammatthana at his convenient time. In the recent years he has been practicing the mindfulness mainly by looking at his mind at work. He has been witnessing the way Buddhism is explained and believed by different Buddhist sects and how superstition and consumerism are employed for the profits of some groups. It makes him want to restore the right understanding of Buddhism to Thai society. As a Thai researcher Dr. Vimut is taking his responsibility in researching on the maintaining of true Buddhism in Thailand.

18.Myanmar Buddhist Society and Beliefs in Nats (Animism)

Phyu Mar Lwin
phyumarlwin@gmail.com
Center for Religious Studies, Mahidol University
Myanmar

Although Theravada Buddhism is a dominant religion in Myanmar, the other beliefs in supernatural beings, especially the belief in ‘Nat’, also diffuse in Myanmar society. In fact, such kind of beliefs are opposite to the Teaching and the ultimate goal of Buddhism. Thus, some Theravadins worried that this spiritual belief may overwhelm Buddhism someday. In this case, these two beliefs with different goals can simultaneously coexist together in the same place. The question to this is how and why Burmese Buddhists accept the belief in Nat and what their notion on religion is. My research is based on the historical background and interview with some believers. It is set to describe that Theravada Buddhism in Myanmar can still on its point and cannot be weakened by animistic beliefs until now.

Keywords: Buddhism, beliefs, animism, Nat

19.Misinterpretations on Dhamma and Theravada Source:Language Studies

Dr. Wimal Hewamanage
wimal@bs.cmb.ac.lk
Senior Lecturer in Pali and Buddhist Studies
Department of Buddhist Studies
University of Colombo, Sri Lanka

Abbhakkhāna and abbhācikkhana, prominent two forms utilize for misinterpretations in Pali canon. Two types of misinterpretations precisely based on concepts can be seen namely (1) within the tradition and (2) outside the tradition. But modern misinterpretations differ from them because of based on awareness of Theravada source language, Pali. This research paper is centered on modern misinterpretation on anicca, impermanence and relevant few terms made by a Sri Lankan Theravada monk who entered to the Order in old age and has a number of followers. Interpretation says that anicca should be aniccha (an+iccha) what is not happened as we wish but not the sense of impermanence. Hence, birth, aging, sickness, death, association with unbeloved, separation from loved, not getting what is wanted, and in brief the five clinging aggregates are dukkha because of these are not happened as wish.
Something not getting what is wanted is only one example to express the Buddhist principle on dukkha. If something is happened as our wish it should be suka, happiness, according to new interpretation. Throughout the Pali canon and its commentaries no place can be found anicca as aniccha with surd (mahaprāṇa) cha. Related to this sermon, he interpreted jāti’pi dukkhā as pleasant things with special attention pi (pleasant), maraṇampi, pleasant death. There are a number of monks who have preaching skills but their interpretations without proper understanding Pali language seems a challenge for future Theravada Buddhism. Since causes above delusion are associated with preacher’s knowledge about source language of Theravada Buddhism and principle teachings short programs with loving kindness are essential to train such monks well.

Keywords: misinterpretations, abbhakkhāna, abbhācikkhana, Pali language,
aniccha, anicca

20.An Emergent Global Human Organism May Reconcile the Hinayana and Mahayana Paths

Ben Werner
ben@monetaryecology.com
Independent Scholar, U.S.A.

The internet has given us the connectivity to coordinate our behavior with each other on a global scale, but the internet does not have the correct architecture to align our internal motivations with the needs of society-at-large. The natural interface between the individual and global humanity is each individual’s close personal circle of family and friends. Similarly, the interface between each cell and a whole human body are a few other cells. A fractal “few-to-few” network, such as the nervous system, or the circulatory system, connects all the cells in a human body. An architecture that connected us through a fractal few-to-few network to the rest of humanity, through our personal circles, would enable us to see a continuum between our personal self and the global self, and between our individual behavior and global behavior. Such a fractal social network would be the framework for a “global human organism”, wherein our internal fulfillment (idealized by the Hinayana path) and global collective fulfillment (idealized by the Mahayana path) could naturally align. Moreover, a visualization of collective trust, reciprocity, and emotional resonance within the social network would align with contemplation of the transcendence of the division between “self” and “other”, and may therefore fit meaningfully within the Tantrayana path.

Key Words: Internet, social, Hinayana, Mahayana, Tantrayana

Biography:

Ben Werner is an electrical engineer and independent researcher living in Santa Barbara, California, USA. Ben is actively engaged in the Meoh.io social ecosystem project, with the objective of developing a virtual architecture enabling a global human organism. Ben’s passions include a unified theory of physics and psychology within consciousness, and systems change supporting global sustainability.

KEYNOTE PAPERS

1.Modern Challenges for Buddhism

Prof. Dr. Kapila Abhayawansa,
kapila1939@gmail.com
Vice Rector for Academic Affairs,
International Buddhist College, Thailand

Dear respected venerable members of the Maha Sangha, distinguish scholars of Buddhism, dear friends and ladies and gentlemen,
It is a great pleasure and honour for me to have been invited to deliver the keynote speech on this memorable occasion. In this respect, I must express my sincere thanks, honour and respect to the organizers of this conference. I really appreciate the organizers’ farsighted ability to select a more appropriate theme for today in this Makhapuja international conference as to “The Future of Buddhism in Asia”. Makhapuja is an annual Buddhist festival celebrated in almost all Asian Buddhist countries. I must say that the organizers are praiseworthy for making the important festival more meaningful by holding a conference like this for the purpose of awakening people into what is necessary from the Buddhist perspectives.
As Buddhists, we earnestly desire the expansion of Buddhism and its spread to other societies in the world so that the beneficiaries of such expansion will be able to share the joy of enlightenment that we all try to experience. Needless to say, the Buddha also had the same aspiration when he presented his teachings to the world. Though this goal is altruistic and laudable, it is not so easy to achieve since there are various obstacles arising internally as well as externally to our effort. These are really the challenges that Buddhism confronts on the path to expansion. If we do not find satisfactory ways and means to face and overcome them, it is obvious that the path for progress in the development of Buddhism would be in danger.
Challenges which are arising internally are mostly due to some devastating effects of the modern global consumerist society that affect to our lives. Some are due to the lack of mutual understanding among the Buddhists themselves.
There are also challenges arising from external causes. The Growing advancement of science and technology about which people admire enthusiastically represents a challenge to some of the trans-empirical concepts such as kamma, punabbhava and nibbana in Buddhism. Rationalistic and skeptical trends are also challenges which are connected with the modern development of science and technology. The hedonistic trend developing in global society is also a threat to Buddhism. Another big challenge is the lack of adequate political solutions to the challenges from anti-Buddhist movements toward Buddhist activities in some counties.
Buddhism in Asia, particularly, and in the West generally, are facing many challenges as mentioned earlier, which are detrimental and badly affect its progress in the future. It is no doubt that Buddhism has the characteristics appropriate to become a cosmic religion more than any other religion in the world. It can easily impact on the mind not only of intelligent people in this scientific era but also of the common people who are seduced by modern globalization movements. Buddhism has a high demand in the modern world as it is widely accepted as a religion or, more correctly, a way of life which can offer solutions to almost all the human problems emerging from the mal-effects of globalization everywhere in the world of today.
It is obvious that it is our outmost duty as Buddhists to protect Buddhism and to take every possible action for its progress and promotion for the benefit, happiness and wellbeing of the mankind. In this regard, it is inevitable for us to be aware of the challenges arising in the modern world as against its true progress. Without understanding of the cause of a disease, no a doctor can recommend or prescribe a remedy for it.

Consumerism
The most prominent challenge to Buddhism in my opinion, emerges from the global consumerism. Modern consumerism which leads people to sensory gratification “ingrains in the popular belief that happiness can only be achieved from indulging one’s desires in acquiring infinite wealth, and the enjoyment of limitless commodities in terms of quantity and lavishness”. (Bodhi (2000) 16-18) This movement is still new to the people in the Asian countries in comparison to the people in Western countries. The former is still unable to understand its danger to both spiritual and physical aspects of the life and hence, they embrace it with much passion. The worst aspect of it is that even the Buddhist monastic members who were caught up by this movement forget their duties and obligations to society and try to run after the wealth in the name of Buddhism. Buddhist monks are assigned specially to promote Buddhism, revealing its qualities to the people not only by means of preaching but also by leading an their exemplary life. It is not untrue to say that there is a trend that even the Buddhist activities are performed by the monks on the commercial basis with the sole intention of earning wealth. It seems that each one tries to overcome the other by such activities with rival attitudes resulting in unrest and disunity of the monastic community.

Sectarianism
Allegiance to sectarianism is also one of the most notable challenges to Buddhism. There is no tolerance among adherents of the different Buddhist sects or traditions. Though they work together on some occasions where socio-religious activities are taken place, subconsciously there is no earnestness to accept that all traditions are descending from one and the same root that is the teachings of the Buddha. It seems that each tradition separately, feels that its own tradition is higher or superior to the other. One can understand that each tradition likes to protect its own identity; however, at the same time it must respect others’ distinctions.
It is a tremendous blow to the progress of Buddhism that there is no unity and concord amongst Buddhist communities of all Buddhist traditions. If the latter understands unity means strength, they should come to a common platform to work together for the promotion of Buddhism. As they all depend on the teachings of the same master, they can easily form a very strong Buddhist brotherhood under the concept of unity in diversity. Such a Buddhist brotherhood would be immensely conducive to the progress of Buddhism. There are extremist non-Buddhist elements which have no tolerance over the existence of Buddhism and the try to make harm to Buddhism by way of illegal religious conversion or destroying Buddhist heritages in different Buddhist countries. If there is a powerful guiding body of the Buddhist brotherhood, there is no doubt that it can check such anti-Buddhist activities.

Ritualism
Most of the religions in the world are formed on the theistic framework. They purely depend on religious rituals which are supposed to invoke the blessings of the god or gods. Buddhism which is an atheistic religion secures its identity on its recommendations of valuable life principles that can bring out empirically, observable good results for both individual and social progress. Therefore, the significance of Buddhism can be highlighted not by means of the ritualistic performances but by means of revealing its inherent humanistic values. The truth of this was attested even by the Buddha in a very clear statement which reads as “doctrine and the discipline known by the Buddha are illuminated only when they are revealed and not concealed” (tathãgatappavedito dhammavinayo vivato’va virocati no paticchanno). But unfortunately, there is a tremendous effort taken by all Buddhist traditions without exception to follow theistic religions by performing different kind of rituals. This is really, an effort which undermines the value of Buddhism.
True Buddhism is almost hidden specifically in Asian countries because of the ritualistic activities undertaken on mega scale. The phrase “Buddham saranam gacchami”- (I go to the Buddha for refuge) has been taken mistakenly in the sense that the Buddha is our savior. This is an attempt to superimpose the concept of God over the humanistic Buddha. As a result, for most people including monastic members the Buddha became an object of deification. Rituals are done on great scale to invoke the blessings of the Buddha. The system of Vedic sacrifices which were rejected by the Buddha crept into Buddhist temples in subtle and different way. Some monastic members who are running after name and fame collect ample amount of money from devotees in order perform elaborate offerings to the Buddha thereby misleading people into anti-Buddhist activities in the name of Buddhism. With the intrusion of offering systems the very important principle of Buddhism go backward. They are suppressed by the rituals. It is obvious that crimes and other unethical and illegal activities are taking place in many of the Buddhist countries in the Asian region. It is no doubt that it is the result of suppressing Buddhist values letting rituals to come out.
Buddhism can have progress when it attracts new followers. In this scientific era people are more intelligent and rational and they perceive these varied rituals as meaningless. The latter look for something which can be applied to the betterment of their lives. When Buddhism has what is required for the modern world, it is unfortunate that Buddhist traditions do not realize their own values. People in the modern world with improved scientific knowledge can understand what is needed and important for their happiness. Buddhism has the power of supplying their demand. The fundamental requirement is that Buddhists must understand what the modern people demand from Buddhism. It is not certainly ritualism in the guise of Buddhism but, the essence of Buddhism which has direct appeal to their lives.

Competition within own tradition
It seems that there are competitive movements even within one and the same tradition. Prominent figures among the monastic members of the same tradition are trying to glorify themselves criticizing others. Sometimes, they take some viewpoints in Buddhist doctrine or methods in the practice of Buddhism highlighting such modifications in order to show that one’s own stance is superior, and the other’s is inferior. It is the nature that the followers are led to be grouped under those prominent figures. The bad aspect of this is that there is no common consent over those concepts or methods. For an instance, there are different methods of same meditation system differently introduced by the competent monks belonging to the Theravada tradition in the countries such as Myanmar, Thailand and Sri Lanka. Each method is introduced as the most practical and effective way of meditation. In such instances, followers feel compelled to identify themselves and be labeled under each method resulting in controversies within the same monastic order.

No unity among the divisions of same tradition
We all know that Buddhism is represented by three main traditions namely, Theravada, Mahayana and Tantrayana or in other word Southern Buddhism, Northern Buddhism and Tibetan Buddhism respectively. They are the traditions historically developed throughout the course of time based on the same teachings of the Buddha. Their differences remain in the way that each tradition offers its own interpretations to the original teachings of the Buddha. The Buddha also accepted that there are some teachings presented by him which require their meaning “to be drawn out” (neyya-attha). Therefore, each tradition can claim that its explanation is the correct one. So, we cannot undermine any tradition saying that it is incorrect or lower than another tradition. What we consider here is that each tradition has a monastic Order which is further divided into different sub-divisions based of personal reasons and not on the matters pertaining to doctrine (Dhamma) or discipline (vinaya). In Sri Lankan Theravada Buddhism, there are main three divisions of the monks’ Order. Those divisions are also classified further into several sub-divisions. The bad aspect of those divisions is that they do not perform together their formal activities and do not show a sympathetic attitude to each other. This leads to horrible results in the Buddhist dispensation in Sri Lanka. Their sectarianism does not allow them to come to a common agreement on any of the important matters.

Non-availability of censorship for the preaching of the Dhamma
It is one of the characteristics of Buddhism is that it does not have a personal authority for the teachings of the Buddha after his demise. Perhaps, this may be one of the reasons that led to the arising of different Buddhist sects. But on the other hand, the Buddha himself pointed out the methods in his discourses that enable one to get a correct understanding of his teachings. Today, there are many preachers of Buddhism who describe Buddhist teaching in their own ways. It is true that among them there are preaches who are well versed with Buddhist teachings. And, at the same time there are some who do not have a proper knowledge of Buddhism; only the fluency of talking. They are really, harmful not only to Buddhism but also to the people as they preach their own view points as truly, Buddhistic.
Now there is a new trend in Sri Lanka that offers new interpretations in its own way to some important Buddhist Pali terms appearing in the discourses. It is really an attempt to distort Buddhism with those wrong interpretations. The monks belonging to this trend reject traditionally accepted commentarial interpretations pretending their untenability in mistaken way. It is surprising that there are some people who are not conversant with Pali language and who are enthusiastic about anything new are ready to welcome them. The danger of this situation is that those wrong ideas would be established in the society in the name of Buddhism in the course of time. There is some evidences to show that there were some efforts to infiltrate wrong ideas to Buddhism even in the history of Buddhist dispensation in Sri Lanka. But in such occasions, real Theravada monks had taken appropriate actions to overcome them and established Buddhism in its pure form as far as possible. If the monks who do not have enough qualifications are allowed without any restriction to preach Buddhist teachings, it is inevitable that wrong ideas in the guise of Buddhism would prevail in the society badly affecting the life of the people. It should be emphasized that if authoritative monks in Sri Lanka keep silent about such developments this may result in irreparable damage to Buddhism in the future.
Another new trend in the Sri Lankan Buddhist Oder is that some monks are trying to project themselves as Arahants who have realized the truth when they are truly, not so. Some do not even hesitate to claim Buddha-hood. They are faking the Buddha’s personal style to deceive the Buddhist devotees. This is all superficial and only in outer appearance. People who do not know the real situation, gather around such monks in large numbers and offer valuable requisites. It seems that there are different reasons behind process. One may be a byproduct of modern consumerism. Even the Buddhist monastic members are not escaped from the influence of consumerism and they too run after money for their sensual pleasure. Then, they abuse the trust of people on Buddhism for the sake of wealth. It is easy to cheat foolish people by way of imitating Buddhist ideal figures. There may be another reason behind such a movement. It cannot be denied that there are hidden forces which need to discredit Buddhism because of its growing demand in the Western world. With such ulterior end in view they can even hire some Buddhist monks who are greedy of wealth.
When there are such movements in the Order which bring discredit to Buddhism, it should be the responsibility of the authoritative members of the Order to take necessary action against the wrongdoers for the sake of the purity and unity of the Order. If the Buddhist Order is corrupted, it is the biggest harm that can be done to Buddhism since Buddhism mainly depend on the purity and unity of the monks. That is the reason why Buddhist discipline for the monks is considered as the life of Buddhist dispensation (vinayo nãma sãsanassa ãyu). As long as the Buddhist Order remains pure, Buddhism remains in the world.

Anti-Buddhist activities of the non-Buddhists
Among the challenges that Buddhism has to face, the anti-Buddhist movements going against Buddhism also cannot be neglected. These activities are appearing in the Asian countries in different forms. Illegal religious conversion is one of them. Buddhists form the majorities in many of the Asian countries ascending from long period of time. Minorities belonging to different religions are trying to make inroads into majority Buddhists by spreading their religions throughout the countries. In this way, they try to convert Buddhist people into their religions. For this purpose, they make use of illegal religious conversance particularly, by way of providing material support. The prevailing poverty among Buddhists would help them to be the victims of those illegal conversions.
Another action taken by the anti-Buddhist movements is the destruction of important Buddhist monuments. By this type of activity, they expect to invite the retaliation from the Buddhists. Buddhist retaliation against anti-Buddhists would be supportive to for them to invite the foreign attention towards them. It is natural that Buddhists being human do not tolerate such sabotaging acts and, sometimes, behave violently. If the relevant governments take timely actions against those anti- Buddhist movements, this can be averted. On the other hand, whatever the purpose, violent behavior of the Buddhist would not bring credit to Buddhism. It is the duty of the governments to uproot the root causes which produce religious and communal riots.
Though there are many challenges for Buddhism in the modern world with special attention to Asian countries, I have pointed out some of the main challenges according to the time available. It is the responsibility of the Buddhist scholars and Buddhist authorities to find ways and means to overcome such challenges for Buddhism in order to protect Buddhism.

2.Western Media and Xinjiang Problem in China

Dr. Tavivat Puntarigvivat
Tavivat01@gmail.com
Founder, AEC Buddhist Conferences
Center for Chinese Studies, Mahidol University
Thailand

After the Cold War—the ideological war between Western Capitalist Democracy and Eastern Socialist Communism—ended at the end of 20th century, a new conflict of religion and race emerged at the beginning of the 21st century. The tragedy of 11 September 2001 (9/11) in New York was the symbol and the turning point of this new conflict. On the one hand, Islamic Civilization has clashed with Western Civilization. There were many terrorist attacks by Muslim extremists in major cities in the West over the years. Islam had been expanding worldwide both peacefully and through acts of terrorism. There was an attempt to establish the “Islamic State” (IS) using direct military actions in Syria. There were also attempts to set up the Islamic states through terrorism in different countries, such as Mindanao in the Philippines, Pattani in Thailand, and Xinjiang in China. All these terrorist attacks and movements were inspired by the extremist ideology from the Middle East, and have created political and military tensions in Asia.
On the other hand, the result of the Cold War and the power rivalry between the U.S. and China have caused the clash of Western and Chinese Civilizations. At the same time China was also facing threats stemming from the Uyghur Muslim problem in the northwestern province of Xinjiang. This led to the “Triangular Clash of Civilization” among Western, Islamic, and Chinese countries. The West took this opportunity to attack China on the Uyghur Muslim issue in Xinjiang, by using Western academic works and mass media as tools. By distorting the principle of “Human Rights,” the West has been causing misunderstanding and distrust among people in China. They have also been trying to create misunderstanding and conflicts between China and the Islamic World, for the benefit of the West.

Western Media and Uyghur Muslim Problem in Xinjiang
China is a country of diverse races and religions, people of different ethnic background have been living peacefully together throughout Chinese history. Chinese people from all walks of life and from all parts of China, including Xinjiang, have harmoniously worked together to generate rapid economic growth. As China becomes more influential in the international political arena, the Western media purposefully increases its attacks on China, particularly by writing distorted news and reports on the issues of Xinjiang.
The Western media often uses the principles of “Human Rights” and “Religious Freedom” as excuses to attack China in an effort to intervene the interior administration and create division among people of different languages and cultures, especially in the autonomous province of Xinjiang. They have used the distorted interpretations of the “Theory of Historical Independence” and “Theory of Genocide” to discredit China, disharmonize people, create hatred and conflicts, leading to terrorism and eventually to separatism.
Among the Uyghur minority, the teenagers are the most vulnerable. They have been incited by the extremist ideology from the Middle East to divide people according to their race and religion, disobey marital law and family planning, resist modernity, and to consider non-Muslim as heretic and the government as an enemy. Absorbing extremist ideology, the Uyghur Muslim teenagers join the terrorists and separatists to kill innocent people, having the wrong belief that they will go to heaven after they die. Some of them illegally left the country to join the military force of the “Islamic State” (IS) in Syria. Those who survived the war returned to China and used their experiences to commit terrorist attacks in Xinjiang. (From the 2014-2015 statistics, 8,000-10,000 Uyghur Muslim extremists from Xinjiang went to Turkey by various illegal channels, and another 4,000 of them joined the army of the “Islamic State.”)
The violent events of terrorism, both successful and unsuccessful, occurred so many times in Xinjiang: the number of terrorist violent attacks in 2012 were over 190 times, in 2013 over 200 times, in 2014 over 490 times, in 2015 over 500 times, and in 2016 over 818 times. From the confessions of those arrested terrorists, it appears almost all of them were misled by extremist religious ideology, for example, if they take part in a “holy war” (jihad) and die in the war, they will go to heaven and be pleased by Allah (God). Those Muslim attacks have threatened people’s livelihood, social stability, and the security of the country. Muslims from inside and outside of China have formed the terrorist cells and have proposed the concept of a “Free Xinjiang State” in order to divide Xinjiang from China. This kind of terrorism and separatism could not be accepted by any government in the world, including China.
The Chinese government has been trying to change Muslim extremist ideas through education so that those Muslims have more correct and peaceful thought and harmless attitude towards society. The government also has put in place an amnesty policy to provide repentant people vocational training so that they can smoothly return to normal society with a proper occupation and a peaceful life. China has a special policy towards the autonomous Xinjiang by granting a special care of the “Human Rights” for the people. Other provinces in China are also helping to develop Xinjiang. In all 19 cities from all over the country have supported the autonomous Xinjiang with such the policies as “Reduce the poverty and income gap,” “All minorities live peacefully together,” and “All races live harmoniously like a big family.” Business skills and occupational trainings are offered to people in Xinjiang so that they can have a decent profession and income to take care of themselves and their family. The situation in Xinjiang has been improved tremendously, but the Western media has never reported all these efforts.
On the contrary the Western media, including some Western academics, sound like the spoken voices of the terrorists who hold the extremist religious ideology. They openly report the distorted news, such as “Xinjiang government arrested more than 1 million Xinjiang people for brain washing,” “Xinjiang is a big open prison.” After the Cold War, the West wanted to create the new “Theory of Chinese Threats” by exploiting the concept of “Human Rights” and using it as a tool and an excuse for discrediting China. This causes confusion among the international communities and mistaken opinions among the international public. If the Western media was neutral, non-bias, and truly professional, the reporting of facts or the truth would be the priority and the most important. To correctly understand the situation and report straightforwardly what is really happening, both in Xinjiang in China and elsewhere in the world, will help bring better understanding to the international community and contribute to peace in the world.

Conclusion
As the history of Islam is a history of wars and expansion, Muslim almost everywhere in the world do not seem ready to adjust themselves to local culture and the society into which they migrate and reside. Although China is an atheist and Socialist state, the Chinese constitution guarantees the freedom of religious belief and practice. Granting this religious freedom in China, the Muslims have still created conflicts with people in Xinjiang. Muslims in different countries, including China, may be confused about the differences between a “Political State” and a “classification of population according to race and religion.”
In a “Political State” people of different ethnic and religious background live under the same law and the same state administration. Modern society nowadays is a “pluralist society” where people of different races, colors, or religions can live peacefully together. The idea of using the difference in ethnicity, skin color, or religious belief among the people as an excuse to create an independent state of an “ethnic group,” a group of the same “skin color,” or a group of the same “religion” is an extremist idea, impossible in the modern real world, and leading to the endless violence.
In the midst of the Islamic conflicts with different countries throughout the world today, the Western media often uses the issue of “Human Rights” to attack the government of those countries. The Western media fails to criticize the obvious violation of “Human Rights” of the Muslim terrorists and separatists who commit suicidal bombings, or cruelly kill the innocent people who have nothing to do with the conflicts. The West would like to create conflicts and tensions between the Islamic world and the different governments in Asia, particularly China, in the “Triangular Clash of Civilization” among the Western Civilization, Islamic Civilization, and Chinese Civilization.

3.The Future of Buddhism in Asia

Dr. Charoon Wonnakasinanont.
buddhateera@gmail.com
Leader, Mahabhodhi Party

The Supreme Heritage of humankind
Buddhism is the most important belief in the world. It originated from the great Lord Buddha who we have respect for with our whole heart and minds. The discipline of Buddhism are important properties of humankind. All human beings can use them to support their lives safely. They are likely the eyes of human beings and their guiding lights which show the correct path. The Buddha said that the life of animals in transmigrations (Samsaracakka) was a mystery as much as people could not know where exactly they were going. The reincarnations or the cycle of rebirth of animals are dangerous and painful. All the Dhammas will be heritages for their life and used for their salvation. The Lord Buddha and his disciples took them to the enlightened one. Therefore the Dhammas are likely the heritages of humankind.
There are three characteristics of disciplines that all The Lord Buddhas both in the past and the future have taught in the same way together.   They are as follows:
The first: to forbid persons to do bad things. Because of that condition, they would go to hell and suffer there for eternity. The Lord Buddha said that the life in hell was simply a result of their bad actions.
The second: To encourage people to do good things. Because of this condition, they would go to heaven and be happy there, also for eternity. When they were gods (Deva) or goddess (Devadita) by good actions. They would spend their life by the divine properties that they had been given.
The third: To encourage people to do meditations as least to get the first absorption from the eight absorptions. Because of this condition these absorptions will purify their minds. After that the evil or defilements will go form their minds. Gradually when they pass away. They will go to the pure world (Brahmaloka) which is higher than heaven, and can then attain enlightenment. If they could do the absorptions for a long time and get to know the way of life by themselves, they would then surely become enlightened. They would also die enlightened in this world. The Lord Buddha would have taught these three characteristics on Makhapuja Day after the three disciplines had been established in the Great Religions for nine months to 1,250 purified monks who have come together voluntarily on that day. The Lord Buddha took opportunities like this to teach the disciplines of Buddhism to his disciples. We still have these disciplines to perform today. By the great sermons we can classify the Buddha’s teaching so that not any creature is not supported by any other animal. They can control their lives by their own actions and meditations. Devotees of the Buddha are likely to have the same properties as the Buddha and all human beings. They will spend their lives in peaceful happiness.
Everything in Buddhism is inherited in one form or another. In Thailand last year, Mr. Pongpanu Savetarun, the permanent ministerial secretary for Tourism and Sports said that in the year 2017, 35.38 million tourist came to Thailand. We have the profit of 2.75 million million Thai Bath. The Source from goo.gl/mDWHKO reported that Thailand was on a higher profit range No. 3 for 49.9 Billion US$ from tourism. But at first place was the United States at 205.9 billion US$ followed by Spain at 60.3 billion US$. Research also suggests that through careful scrutiny of Master Card Global Destinations Cities Index, Bangkok the famous city that people wanted to visit last year. The most popular places that tourists wanted to visit were Buddhist temples. The characteristics of Thai people are firmly based on Buddhist doctrine. Consequently, I am confident in saying that Buddhism is the supreme heritage of our country.

The Unknown Crisis of Buddhism
The Lord Buddha had said that unknown forces had covered many people in the whole world and led them into temptation, disaster and darkness. This Unknown force had been killing human beings and animals for a long time. The Buddha had tried to bring his wisdoms to his disciples and defined their name as Bhikkhu. This means that some can see the dangerous forces that other people cannot. If we can foresee a dangerous force before it sees us, we will ultimately survive.
When the Lord Buddha attained Enlightenment he found by himself that these wisdoms were very complicated to understand. He nearly gave up trying to teach people. When he compared humans to lotus flowers he reconsidered and began teaching again.
Why are the wisdoms of Enlightenment complicated to understand for people? Because they were lying in people’s minds for a long time, and nobody knew that they were dangerous to them. Nevertheless, all human beings and animals have tried to hold them in their minds but with little understanding. This is why the Lord Buddha nearly gave trying to teach his disciples in the beginning.
To have a full understanding of what danger is present and change in our minds is the most important thing above all others. It is the same when we live with a criminal person who disguises themselves as our good friend. The danger is that we trust someone and that trust will eventually lead to our downfall or even demise.
Buddhism is a religion for peace and nonviolence. The history of Buddhism is very pure and void of all violence that is very different from other religions. The bad things that happened in the past are still happening now. In its long history, Buddhism has been destroyed so many times in many countries by Islamic armies, such as in Afghanistan, India, Indonesia, etc. Buddhist temples have been destroyed and Buddhist Monks have been killed. These things are happening again in the Middle East now. Finally, it makes many people who were immigrants move to the central parts of Europe. We see now, that they have made problems in many countries where they were living. Problems like these have happened in the Middle East and the west. When it was a crisis in the Middle East in 2016. Three years later, so many migrants moved to Europe, and thereafter began to make big problems in many countries across Europe. Now Muslim problems are proliferating throughout the world.
In Asia, the problems of migrants are different from those we see in Europe. The strategy of terrorism has been limited in Asian regions. Now, they have developed a joint venture with others. Neighbourhood have come together. However, at the same time, they have encouraged people to follow Islam. Eventually their wishes will be granted and all they ever wanted will come to them.
Why are Muslim problems in Asia different from Europe? Because they have a great strategy to cover the Asian region. They have special plans in Thailand that they will say are on behalf of the central Thai government. They have at least three plans to take over Thailand. These is a big crisis in the south of Thailand. One strategy is to send Muslim people to be government officers. There is also a plan to install government officers. The last plan is to take tax from Thai people by Halal marks. These strategies are dangerous to Thailand because Thai people are totally unaware of all this.
Their first plan has already killed more than 7,000 Thai people. They have injured more than 20,000 in the south of Thailand over the last fifteen years. At the same time in the Iraq war, a total of 3,169 civilian deaths have been recorded. There were: 2014, 118 civilians killed by coalition airstrikes, 2015, 1,466 and in 2016, 1,837 people. In Thailand the land of peace and smiles had never gone to civil war. But many people have now been killed more than in any other Thai war.
The second plan: Muslim people have claimed that because they are a minority group in Thailand they should be supported by the Thai            government every time. Also that Thai Muslim students have a right to enter a Thai state university of their choice. They should also have the right to be government officials around the country. So that, these plans are to take over Thailand. These plans are also aimed at destroying Buddhist monk locations.
The third plan: The plans to take much money from Thai people by using the Halal mark without any investment at all. Three products are used to pay for the Halal fee now. They are food, drugs and cosmetics. The next step will be to force people to pay this fee. This is illegal. The money from this is dangerous to the country and Buddhism. More money will be taken from the general public. Much more than the Thai government takes from all over Thailand every year. The danger to Thailand is impossible to contemplate.
Most Thai people are completely ignorant of all the plans of the minority Muslims in Thailand which makes the whole situation even more dangerous.

The Survival of Buddhism
If the situation of Buddhism does not change in the near future, then it is doomed. Why do I believe this? As I have said before, there are many conditions that have come to Buddhism in Asia. All conditions are dangerous. The solutions for survival come in three strategies:
1. Buddhist people will have to take part in government officialdom to protect themselves. They should think that Buddhism the most properties for all. Protecting themselves is their duty. Because when the government is a mixture of religions, then the problem of a takeover is a reality. Some orders from them will harm Buddhist people and our country. All of you, therefore, will do your part to make sure this situation never occurs.
The strategy is to have to establish the Buddhist party into Thai politics. In the age of the Buddha, when a religious crisis happened, he had intervened to solve it by himself. We should therefore follow him and solve every problem, including illegal laws by ourselves. Our culture should also be examined to see if there are any flaws.
2. Buddhist people should be fully aware of exactly what is happening in the government and what signals they can read from what is developing around them. They should always remember that there are many people who profess to be our good friends but are actually our enemies. They are trying to do something bad in our country, such as the Halal mark which has now spread widely across Thailand. Although, they are illegal symbols. Some legal cultural symbols have been replaced by illegal ones, therefore we must be extra aware at all times. By doing so we will help our Thai heritage to survive.
We have to set up groups to keep watching and getting information such as the strategy to take over country.
3. Buddhist people should return the fundamental roots of Buddhism. We should reminder the ancient and famous techniques of supreme meditation. There are ten Kasinas that the Lord Buddha had said he had had success with concerning the four noble truths and the Kasinas. Each of them could take you to a higher level which would enable you to obtain a higher absorption or Jana. The absorption is the most important level of the mind in Buddhism. It will make your mind pure and motivate insight and wisdom. The insight into wisdom is based on absorption directly. You cannot reach it by other means.
The Kasinas meditations are the only things that the Lord Buddha mentioned in Kalisutta. He said that he had attained the four noble truths by ten Kasinas. Why did he speak like this, because Kasinas have a great power. It can bring our minds to the highest absorption that are eight absorptions and after that it is a Nirotha or a Niravana. This Nirotha is the number three of the four noble truths. And that if you want to get the Nirotha or Niravana, you must only practice kasinas meditation to set up the poor mind in the eighth absorption first. These kinds of highest absorption like this will take you to a higher wisdom too. The lord Buddha said that wisdom can be compared to a sharp weapon. It can be called a weapon of wisdom. It can succeed in everything without harming anybody. It seems to be bright light to sleeping person and to help them to wake up.
The duties of Buddhism are to give a bright wisdom to people so that we can we can bring people to the right way. Buddhism will survive. Ignorance is dangerous to Buddhism. Everything I have said concerns itself with ignorance. We should change our minds and look forward that the future of Buddhism will continue and develop in safety.

Conclusion
All the presented topics are important. Everyone will try to save their own life if possible. But the doctrines from the Lord Buddha have a higher and more important value than all the properties of the world. They are spiritual properties. They have a higher quality than anything else. They are our highest inheritance that we have to protect and pass them on to our future generations.
Ignorance is a danger for our spiritual wellbeing. We have to change our minds and to be alert and keep watching everything that is happening that may harm our lives. Intellectual wisdom from a deep meditation will be absorbed which will save our heritages.
Looking back to the past of Buddhism we can see that many countries have had their Buddhism destroyed. But we should look forward to the future of our next generations and wait for the Lord Buddha’s disciplines to guide us. We should strive to protect our beliefs in the Lord Buddha. Buddhism is the hope of all human beings and all animals. Please protect them and take them for saving the whole world. Do not forget that before The Lord Buddha passed away, he had said that the duty of every monk was to protect all the disciplines and Dhammas. These were Bhikkhu, Bhikkhuni, Layman Buddhist and Laywomen Buddhist.
The future of Buddhism depends on our energy. Protecting Buddhism and our heritage is our duty. Please look to the other do not look to oneself. Awareness is a great protection as the Lord Buddha taught to all disciplines. Because awareness is the way to immortal life.

4.The Scourge of Poverty and Proselytism: Socio-Economics of Protecting Buddhist Heritage of Sri Lanka and Asia

Dr. Kalinga Seneviratne
sen1954@yahoo.com
Director, Lotus Communication Network
Sri Lanka

In recent years, Buddhists in Sri Lanka and Myanmar have attracted wide international media scrutiny for the behavior of some monks’ – sometimes violent direct action – to express perceived grievances threatening their communities due to intensified proselytism by Evangelical Christian and Wahhabi Islamic forces.
At the root of these problems is poverty among the grassroots Buddhist communities, which have been targeted by these forces for proselytism under the disguise of welfare services. There is also another problem: Buddhism is not seen as modern (and attractive) by young Asians anymore.

Focus on Sri Lanka
This paper, based on a research project (funded by the World Buddhist University) and the book “The Scourge of Poverty and Proselytism”. I will discuss how the international Buddhist community could mobilise to assist grassroots Buddhists in Sri Lanka and across Asia that are facing socio-economic hardships.
We initially planned to follow up with similar reports on Myanmar, Cambodia and Thailand, but changes to management of WBU, has put a stop to it. It is important that we create such databases, so that Buddhist monks protesting about threats to Buddhism can produce the data – the evidence. Otherwise the international media – who don’t bother to look for such evidence – label them as “extremists”.
While the Evangelical Christianity threat has been there for over two decades, Wahhabi threat is more recent in origin, and both these movements have huge financial resources at its disposal.
A 2015 study done by Dr Terence Chong of the Singapore National University warned that a Pentecostal movement has been growing rapidly in Southeast Asia. It is driven largely by upwardly mobile, middle-class ethnic Chinese who use their business networking and financial resources to reach the poor and make their message attractive to them.
Christian threat is two pronged – missionaries masquerading as welfare agencies to infiltrate poor Buddhist communities or their popular culture via gospel music and other modern communication tools painting Christianity as “cool” to young urban Asian youth.
The Wahhabi threat gets more exposure in the media because of its tendency to use violence. Following the expulsion of Bengali migrants (Rohingyas) from Myanmar by the army, there were a lot of reports in the Indian media about how a group of Rohingya refugees in Saudi Arabia were trained in Pakistan on terror tactics – paid for by the Saudi – and then sent to Rakhine state via Bangladesh. These reports pointed out that the establishment of a terror based in Rakhine would threaten the whole of Southeast Asia and north-east India.

Protecting Heritage and Human Rights
There is a notion that when a community is in the majority in the country, it is protected by the state and is privileged. This is not the case with Buddhist communities across Asia, as I will argue in this paper. The majority community being the privileged community is based on European models.
The individualised human rights agenda based on numbers is also a western model. It is based on the 1948 UN Human Rights Declaration that gives priority to the right of the individual. This declaration was mainly drafted by the West.
But, there is another UN human rights covenant adopted in 1966 where Asian countries played a greater role. It is the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights.
This latter covenant focus more on collective rights than on individual rights. That gave rise to what is today called “development rights’ which would address the structural violence of the economic system I will come to soon.
It should also bring the right to protect one’s cultural heritage to the forefront of the human rights agenda at a time when globalisation threatens local cultural heritage and traditions.
The individual rights agenda tends to give minorities all the rights and the majority no right to protect their cultural heritage. Thus, when Buddhists in Sri Lanka or Myanmar try to protect their heritage they are labelled as “extremists”.

The Scourge of Poverty and Proselytism
Poverty has become a huge reservoir feeding the hunger of Evangelical Christians and Wahhabi Islamists harvesting for souls to convert, undermining Asia’s Buddhist identity and culture. Their ultimate aim is to eradicate Buddhism from the Asian continent – like what happened to the great Sriwijaya civilization in Indonesia – at a time Buddhist teachings are inspiring growing numbers of westerners to adopt Buddhism in one form or another. In fact, one could argue that the drift of many European nations towards atheist societies has been influenced by Buddhism that focus on your mind as the ultimate driver of your destiny. The current mindfulness fad in the West is one such example.
However, I’m focusing on Asia here, where Buddhism is facing many threats, not only from external forces but also internally. I will argue that socio-economic problems of grassroots Buddhists could only be resolved by socially engaged Buddhism and rich Buddhists in Asia paying more attention to helping their poorer counterparts closer to home, than showing off their Buddhist compassions to non-Buddhist communities far away, such as in Europe and North America.
Taiwan’s Tzu Chi Foundation for example has some 53 centres in the US and many in Australia. I’m on the email subscriber list of the US-based Global Buddhist Relief run by Bhikku Bodhi that dish out thousands of dollars each year for development projects acrooss the globe. I have noted that most of the grants they give out are for non-Buddhist communities in Africa in particular. They deserve the help no doubt, but there are many other international agencies that help these communites as well. Buddhist communites who need this help in Asia, often don’t have the international networking to lobby for and attract these funds.
Another issue I would look at later is the need to repackage the Buddha’s message to modern youth in Asia, who are drifting away from Buddhism. This may require paying less emphasis to maintaining the traditions purely for the sake of tradition.

“Structural Violence” of Modern Economic System
Let me first focus on the socio-economics of Buddhist empowerment.
Thai Buddhist social critic Sulak Sivaraksa often refer to the “structural violence” of the global economic system for the socio-economic problems facing the poor in Asia. He has been critical of Buddhists for not being socially engaged to help resolve the poverty issues facing grassroots Buddhists in Asia.
We do not have Buddhist leaders in Asia who articulate boldly the injustices of the global economic system – as Pope Francis often does.

The weakness of Buddhism in Southeast Asia is that Buddhists do not deal with the power structure – Sulak Sivaraksa

Sivaraksa argues that globalization and free-market fundamentalism are a “demonic religion” that is imposing materialistic values across the world.
Unlike the Catholic church for example, Buddhist scholars and leaders are not questioning this economic system and its social injustices.
Jayasri Priyalal, Head of the Financial Sector for Asia-Pacific of UNI Global Union argues that the current turmoil in the world is rooted in what he calls the ‘LPG’ economic system promoted by western neo-liberal economics in the past 3 decades. Its objective he argues is “to get rid of state intervention for market forces to reign into government”. The Neo-Liberal policies that were dictated through Washington consensus team were founded on Liberalization, Privatization and Globalization to drive the free market economies to spur economic growth across the regions to uplift millions out of poverty. End results however, has been weakening of governments with huge debts resulting from prolonged financial deficits, and strengthening of Multinational Corporations and related supply chains that amass wealth and hiding earnings in tax heavens.
When Thailand became a victim of this ‘structural violence’ of the global economic system in 1997, the late King Bhumibol Adulyadej prescribed a remedy in what came to be known as “sufficiency economics”. Some called it Buddhist Economics. Unfortunately, the Thai elite has not taken this advice seriously.

Sri Lankan Experience
Starting in the late 1970s, Sri Lanka’s economy was gradually opened up for foreign investors and competition. After this opening up, many subsidies given to the poor were eliminated, especially in the rural farming sector – backbone of the economy at the time. In 1995, when 11 rice farmers in the Buddhist heartland of Pollonnaruwa committed suicide, attention was drawn to the plight of rice farmers after the government signed a Structural Adjustment Program (SAP) with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) which, among others, forced the government to cut many of the assistance that were given to the farmers such as the fertility subsidy, low-interest loans and guaranteed price for their harvest. Thus, they were at the mercy of unscrupulous loan sharks who lend them money at high interest rates and purchased the paddy at depleted prices at harvest time.
Successive governments have promised farmers various assistance packages at election time but these were soon forgotten once they get elected. In 1996, the Peoples Alliance (PA) government abolished the Paddy Marketing Board established in 1972 to purchase paddy at a government guaranteed price. Government-owned rice mills were also systematically closed. While the government abandoned the     guaranteed price policy for farmers, throughout the past two decades the price of fertilizer has increased.
As Daya Hewapathirane a former Advisor to the President of Sri Lanka notes:

The proportion of socio-economically impoverished people of Sri Lanka are far greater within the Sinhala community, especially among Sinhala Buddhists as compared to other communities. The preponderance of them are severely impoverished, living below the poverty-line with its concomitant malnutrition, disease, ignorance, unemployment, economic uncertainty, cultural disintegration, crime, violence, political conflicts and exploitation including proneness to unethical conversion to Christianity and Islam. To make matters worse, the basis of survival of this largely rural farming community which is their natural environment or the natural resources base is being steadily depleted and subject to extreme forms of abuse, exploitation and degradation. The implications of this overall deterioration of conditions of large numbers of rural Sinhala Buddhist families, are serious and most disturbing.

When these Sinhalese Buddhist communities are targeted, and with financial inducements are converted to either Christianity or Islam, along with it the Buddhist heritage of the country is being undermined. The community will reject their cultural heritage and embrace a new culture that pays more respect to European or Arabic cultures.

Sinhala Buddhist Heritage
Sri Lanka has the world’s longest unbroken Buddhist heritage, protected and nurtured for over 2300 years. Its heritage includes not only monuments, excavated images and artifacts of a bygone era, but a living heritage of traditions, arts such as world-renowned temple drumming and Buddhist education systems.
Though Buddhism originated in India, it was in Sri Lanka that it flourished beginning with the introduction of the religion to the island in 3rd century BCE.
Among the Buddhist heritage the Sinhalese of Sri Lanka protect very zealously are the Mahavihara education system that is reflected in the Pirivena education system of today; the sacred Bodhi tree in Anuradhapura; the Buddha’s tooth relic now enshrined at the Dalada Maligawa in Kandy and the Sinhalese Buddhist stupa architecture that has spread widely to Southeast Asia.
Sri Mahabodhi: Bhikkuni Sangamitta bought a sampling of the Bo-tree in 3rd century BCE from Bodhgaya. It was planted in Anuradhapura and it is today the oldest historically recorded tree in the world. It is venerated by Buddhists to this day.
Dalada Maligawa: A tooth of the Buddha was bought to Sri Lanka in 4th century CE. It is today enshrined at ‘Dalada Maligawa’ (Temple of the Tooth) the last seat of the Sinhalese Kings. It is the most venerated Buddhist shrine in Sri Lanka. Lots of traditions and customs associated with the tooth relic are held daily. It is a tradition that newly elected Presidents and Ministers – even non-Buddhist – pays homage to the Tooth Relic before taking up duties. In August every year, the world renowned cultural procession of drummers, dancers and elephants – the ‘Kandy Esala Perahera’ – pays homage to the Tooth Relic.
Mahavihara Tradition: The Abhayagiri Mahaviharaya temple of Anuradhapura is the first ever Buddhist monastic educational institution established in 1st century BCE in Sri Lanka. Mahavihare attracted scholars from all over the world. Over the centuries Abhayagiri Mahavihare had to fight many battles to preserve the purity of the Theravada teachings. Thus Sri Lanka claims to be a custodian of the Theravada tradition up to this date.
Writing of Tripitaka: In 1st Century BCE Buddhism faced severe threats in Sri Lanka from famines and Brahmin Tamil conquerors. Oral tradition of Buddhism could not be preserved. Thus, King Vattagamani aseembled over 100 monks at Aluvihare to write the Tripitaka.

Writing down of the Tripitaka in the 1st century BCE in Sri Lanka is one of the greatest events in the history of Buddhism. That’s because dhamma appeared in text form after that … Sri Lankan Buddhists took a bold step for the first time in the history of religion to write the text in ola leaf – Emeritus Professor Oliver Abeynayake, Buddhist and Pali University

After the Buddhist cannon ‘Tripitaka’ was written in Sri Lanka, it was this text that helped to spread Buddhism and Buddhist educational systems across Southeast Asia.
Sinhala Buddhist Architecture: When Pollanaruwa was the capital of Sri Lanka, between 12th to 13th century, it is characterized with significant technological and cultural achievements. The development of architecture based on Buddhist influences has been a notable achievement of this period. Architects from Pollonnaruwa were very influential in the designing and building of the new capital of Siam – Sukhothai – in the 13th century CE. Thus the spread of the Sinhalese stupa architecture to other parts of Southeast Asia began
The Sinhalese Buddhists are very proud of their cultural heritage and their contribution to the spreading of Buddhism in Southeast Asia in particular. In the 20th century many English speaking Sinhala Buddhist monks such as Venerable Narada, Venerable Walpola Rahula, Venerable Piyadassi and Venerable Sadatissa took the Buddha dhamma to the West.

Contemporary Threats to Sri Lankan Buddhism
Biggest threat facing Buddha Sasana in Sri Lanka today is aggressive proselytization activities of both Christian and Muslim groups. Poverty, unemployment and the civil war create fertile ground for Christian evangelism to exploit.
Many Christian evangelical organisations come to Sri Lanka and set up NGOs on the pretext of doing social services. Between 2002 and 2009 such NGOs have mushroomed from 110 to over 400. A report commissioned by the All Ceylon Buddhist Congress (ACBC) in 2012 list many case studies of what they describe as “unethical conversions”, where projects have been set up by NGOs with approvals that have been obtained fraudulently.
⦁ Such as pre-schools set up by Christian NGOs in the vicinity of temples and in communities that are predominantly Buddhist. Most temples do run pre-schools for the community.
⦁ On the pretext of building a hostel a church is erected in a Buddhist village.
⦁ Many instances, churches have been built in villages and towns with no Christian community to be served.
⦁ Industrial estates are set up, which later turns into a church complex – many of these set up by Koreans.
Most of these are “churches” that are illegal, as approval has been granted for something else. The behavior of some evangelical groups offends local sentiments which may drive local Buddhist communities to protest, unfortunately sometimes in an aggressive fashion. The protesting Buddhists have often been labeled as “extremists” spreading “hate speech” but the activities of Christians pastors in particular, who denigrate the Buddha and Buddhism, are never mentioned in these reports, especially in the international media.
When Buddhists protest to police and other law enforcement officials they do not take action, as they are bribed by the evangelists. At one stage, the minister in charge of the police was an evangelical Christian.
The Muslims are using different methods for proselytization. There have been unauthorized Muslim settlements established within the limits of Buddhist heritage areas (ie. Dambulla / Anuradhapura). Muslims (who are largely a business community) have been using their financial resources to buy land and expand Muslim settlements across the country, especially around poor Sinhala villages. The ACBC Commission has also received evidence that concerted moves are afoot to pressurize Sinhala Buddhists who want employment in the Middle East to embrace Islam.

Need To Monitor Foreign Funded NGOs
The ACBC strongly warned about the lack of proper control over charitable institutions. NGO funding from overseas needs to be tightly monitored, and controlled.
Sarvodaya leader Dr A.T Ariyaratne, explained to our researcher how these NGOs expand:

They spend a lot of money and many government officials get trapped into this. They are able to set up programs through provincial adminstration officials and village council officials by providing them with many financial incentives. So these programs have government backing.

There are many determined monks, who want to help the communities – not just take from them. But they have no international backing, nor government backing.
There is an urgent need for a well coordinated international Buddhist charity – similar to the Catholic World Vision – to help mobilise funds and empower poor grassroots Buddhist communities.
Inter-faith dialogues cannot bring peace unless the socio-economic issues that give rise to religious conflicts are addressed.

What Buddhists Could Do
There is no point always protesting about these evaneglical forces, Buddhists only expose ourselves to be labelled intolerant or extremist. Buddhists need to devise ways of empowering the grassroots Buddhist communities socio-economically and culturally.
Buddhists in Asia are not a poor community anymore. There are a lot of wealthy Buddhists and Buddhist temples. We have enough grand Buddhist temples with huge statues of the Buddha or Chinese deities, where million are spent in building these.
If Buddhists do not empower their grassroots Buddhist communities socio-economically, all those huge Buddha statues and grand temples that are built will end up like Borobodur in Indonesia – with no Buddhist community to support them in the future as spiritual and educational centres.

Building Own NGO Networks
In the 1980s when the IMF’s Structural Adjustment Policies destroyed social welfare systems and safety nets for the poor, non-governmental organization – known as NGOs today – began to sprout up all over the world to fill this vacuum, because the governments were unable to provide these services anymore.
At first they were mainly well-meaning do-gooders trying to help the poor and needy, the governments have abandoned. They were mainly funded from the West – both governments and philanthropists. But, by the beginning of the 1990s they began to take a different face – some donor countries found that NGOs would be a good covert way to interfere in the domestic affairs of a country to serve the donor interests without having to face accusations of infringing on a country’s sovereignty.
During the presidency of George W Bush – who was elected to office on the back of a huge Evangelical Christian vote base – legislative changes were made to make it possible for so-called “faith-based” organisations to access the US government “aid” budget for projects overseas. It opened the floodgates for US evangelical Christian churches to use NGO networks to reach “unconquered” territories to harvest for souls by planting churches – while they helped the poor.
These “faith-based” NGOs are creating problems all over Asia for Buddhist communities – as well as Hindu communities. They need to be closely monitored and strict guidelines provided to them before such NGOs are given to operate within the country.
We do not want to leave our poor Buddhist communities suffering in poverty. Buddhist organisations, could work with governments to draw up such guidelines, and where possible even work in collaboration with foreign donors to channel the money into genuine welfare programs and not for proselytism.

Teaching English
The empowerement of Buddhist communities in Asia today should also include the teaching of English. The Evangelical Christians, have exploited this need to introduce Christianity through the backdoor to Buddhist communities, offering English classes.
In Embilipitiya, in southern Sri Lanka, a well-known Buddhist monk Ven. Omalphe Sobita Mahathera started an English language Bodhiraja International School over a decade ago, when a Christian evangelical group was planning to set up one in this predominantly rural Buddhist community. Though they teach in English, there is a strong Buddhist cultural element to it with students starting the day with Pali chanting   and leaning Buddhism in English. The school is thriving today and even get government subsidies.
When I interviewed him in Embilipitiya he argued that he is not undermining the Sinhala Buddhist culture. “English is the wings I’m giving to rural children to succeed in today’s globalised society. It should be seen as a boat (to cross the river) or a rug (to wipe your feet). Not something you keep in an altar and worship” he explained.
National Buddhist organisations should plan a well-coordinated English teaching program via temples, with books produced that reflect Buddhist ideas. Same could be done for teaching Mandarin too as that will be an important language in the future.

Scholarships To Study Overseas
One of the powerful weapons in the armoury of Christian evangelists is their ability to offer scholarships to universities in the West, particularly the US, to new converts. That is a carrot where many Asians fall prey to.
Already thousands of Buddhist monks study in each other’s countries across Asia on scholarships. We need to extend it to secular universities with some prestigious universities in countries like Thailand, Taiwan, China, India and Japan allocating scholarships for Buddhist youth recommended by mainstream Buddhist organisations in their own countries.

Buddhist Counseling
Counseling for the sick and the mentally disturbed has been a Buddhist tradition from the time of the Buddha. The monastic system was built and expanded under this principle. Except for a few great institutions, today, this tradition has fallen by the way side, due mainly to the corruption of the monkhood.
We need to revitalize this tradition right across the Buddhist world, in conjunction with relevant secular professional organisations. I’m not referring here to Buddhist medical clinics or hospitals (where there are many in Asia) but to professional counseling for those who suffer from family problems (such as divorce); teenagers with drug or alcohol or other emotional problems; or those suffering from cancer or similar diseases. In other words we need to develop Buddhist psychotherapy centres.
In many citie in Asia, because such Buddhist services are unavailable, Christian groups have filled the vacuum. It has provided them opportunities to convert whole families.
Recently, I visited Sathira Dhammasathan, a unique Buddhist nunnery in Bangkok run by a charismatic Bhikkuni Maechee Sansanee. I was greatly impressed by how she has blended modernity with traditional Buddhist teachings. It has what they call a ‘mindful hospital’ not with doctors and nurses but meditation teachers and Thai massage therapists. The centre seems to be attracting young Thai girls and families in large numbers with girls ordinating for a short time. We need to encourage such centres or monasteries – what ever you prefer to call them – and make an attempt to spread these in the region.

Buddhist Media Networks
About a year ago, I was at a press conference at the Bangkok Press Club when the London-based ‘Burma Human Rights Network’ led by a Rohingya refugee launched a report about discrimination against Muslims in Myanmar. He kept on saying that Buddhists are discriminating against Muslims, and the local and regional reporters lapped on it and reported it uncritically. If you look at the report critically, you will see that the same happens in the West to Muslims. But it is not reported as Christians discriminating against Muslims, but as a national security issue in the context of the fight against Islamic terror. Why cannot the same be said of Myanmar?
Buddhists need to develop strong media networks both domestically and internationally to convey news about Buddhist countries from a Buddhist perspective – like how Al Jazeera does for Muslims. There are many Buddhists media cross Asia, but these mainly broadcast chanting and sermons, where a monk sits in front of a camera and talks for 1 hour or more. They may also cover Buddhist ceremonies, festivals and other events. What is lacking is discussion programs on social-economic, environmental, cultural, social or development issues in Buddhist communities.
We need to develop ‘mindful communication’ methodologies using Buddhist philosophy to train a young generation of Buddhist communicators. In 2015-2016 I was involved in a project at Chulalongkorn University – funded by UNESCO – to develop curriculum to train Asian journalists using philosophical concepts mainly from Buddhism. A book was published by SAGE in 2018 with material drawn from this project. It is titled ‘Mindful Communication for Sustainable Development: Perspectives from Asia”.
Currently, I’m involved with Shantiniketan University in India to develop a regional training program on mindful communication for sustainable development. Basically redefining development communication with Buddhist ideas. The training of the modern Buddhist development communicators should also involve monks.
We need mainstream universities in Buddhist countries to join in this project. They need to see Buddhism as a modernizing force not an anthropological issue.
If you look at the work of the Nalanda Sriwijaya centre at the National University of Singapore, you would see what I mean. It is unfortunate that such a prestigious university in Asia looks at Buddhism in the past rather than in the present. We need mainstream universities to encourage their students to see their cultural heritage and wisdom as something that could guide and improve their lifestyles. Not just hang on to it for the sake of tradition.

Bringing Buddhism into Popular Culture
Another serious problem facing Buddhism in Asia, is the drifting away of young Asians from Buddhism. They see Buddhism as too ritualistic, sometimes even superstitious, and thus not “cool” enough for their modern lifestyle. Many get attracted to Evangelical Christianity, especially with its gospel music and modern communication methodologies.
Perhaps, we can learn a lesson or two from them, on how to package Buddhism for the 21st century youth. Its no point getting the youth to sit through a 1 hour sermon or take part in a long chanting session where they don’t understand the language. We need to use modern communication tools such as video song clips, 30-60 second video clips and short tele-drama to get the dhamma across.
We need to turn the Pali sutras into song clips or short teledramas in your own language to get the message across to youth. Even verses of the Dhammapada could be presented via 30-60 second video clips.
Recently, I met a Buddhist broadcaster in Myanmar who wants to do such things, but, he is running into a lot of problems with conservative monks. We need to develop Buddhist media networks that interprets the dhamma to relate to modern social, economic and cultural needs.
When I used to teach at Ngee Ann Polytechnic in Singapore a decade ago, students from Chinese Buddhist families used to tell me that they are “free thinkers” not Buddhists. They see the Buddhism their parents practice – offering joystick and flowers, and chanting for hours in a language they don’t understand – as a superstition. When I explain to them that Buddhism is also a free-thinking religion, they tell me that this is not the Buddhism their parents explained to them. They were told to just do something to gain merit.
Currently, I’m working with 5 Buddhist media channels from Sri Lanka, Myanmar, Nepal, India and Thailand to launch a IPTV based regional Buddhist network in English. What is stopping us is not technology but funds. We need to raise at least USD 100,000 before launching it because it will include mindful communication training of contributors in the region, as well as a budget for translations and sub-titling/dubbing.
At the first Asian Buddhist Media Conclave organized by the Delhi-based International Buddhist Confederation (IBC) and held in Delhi last August, a resolution was adopted to launch a Nalanda Arts Festival in Nalanda to bring together Asian Buddhist artistes both for performances, workshops and exhibitions. We are in the process of forming an organising committee and we hope that the Indian government will fund it for at least the first 3 years to be held at Nalanda.

Reforming The WFB
Finally, I would like to address the issue of reforming the World Fellowship of Buddhists (WFB) that should be the focal point for many of the proposals I have made above, especially to mobilize funding.
The WFB is the ideal vehicle for Asian Buddhists to strengthen its networking and mobilize the rich Asian Buddhist community to help its own people. It needs serious reforms as it has turned out to be a good social club of a few Buddhist leaders usually representing wealthy Buddhist monasteries and organisations, who gather once in 2 years for a big party and then goes to sleep until the next one. Judging from these gatherings, it has a good cross-section of the Asian Buddhist community, but it sadly lacks imaginative and inspiring leadership.
Since WFB is based in Thailand and I believe gets support from the Thai government, we should call on the government to do a serious review of the WFB. I know there is tremendous disappointment across the Asian Buddhist community about WFB’s inability or unwillingness to stand up for the Buddhist communities across Asia in their hour of need.
We need a new, perhaps younger, but more so an enthusiastic leadership at the WFB. The old guards need to make way for new blood, who could constitute active Standing Committees within the organization to mobilize the Buddhist community, to address the issues I have mentioned above. It is urgent and there is no time to waste.
The WBU was set up about 10 years ago mainly by disgruntled members of the WFB. Because of its location, WBU has been unable to tap into wealthy Buddhist communities in East Asia for funding, even though it has some enthusiastic members willing to do the work needed. If a reconstituted WFB and WBU could come together there is much we could do to address the threats facing Buddhists in Asia.
Otherwise, may I remind you again, that all these grand pagodas and monasteries we see across Asia, would become historic monuments like Borobodur, by the end of this century.