Chief minister Pema Khandu today stressed that the Buddhist culture – which thrives on peaceful co-existence of every sentient being – should not only be preserved but also propagated.
Speaking at the national conference on the theme of ‘Nalanda Buddhism – retracing the source in footsteps of Acharyas: From Nalanda to Himalayas and beyond’ – here today at the holy Gorsam Stupa, Khandu said that Arunachal Pradesh has a big chunk of Buddhist population and ‘fortunately they have kept their culture and traditions safe with religious fervor’.
“The main pillar on which Nalanda Buddhism stands is the principle of ‘reasoning and analysis’. This means we can even bring the teachings of Lord Buddha under the ambit of reasoning and analysis. This logic is based on science and perhaps Buddhism is the only religion that gives its followers this liberty,” he said.
Welcoming the delegates from all the Himalayan states of the country’s norther border, Khandu reminded them that Arunachal Pradesh is a mix of religious followers.
“Arunachal Pradesh is not home only to Buddhism but to several religions including those who follow their own indigenous faith. I believe that every religion and faith should flourish and exist peacefully. I am proud that we Arunachalis are doing just that,” he said.
He expressed gratitude to the Indian Himalayan Council of Nalanda Buddhist Tradition (IHCNBT) for organizing the national conference at Zemithang in Tawang district, which is one of the holiest places of Buddhism.
“Zemithang, as you might all know, is the last Indian border through which His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama entered India in 1959. Therefore, holding this conference here is significant,” he said.
Admitting that while Buddhism is expanding globally and witnessing important resurgence in few traditional areas, Khandu pushed for the need to make its presence vibrant with roots connected to Nalanda Buddhism.
He insisted upon those attending the conference, especially the youths, to stay put for the three technical sessions as scheduled for the day. He specifically urged all to attend the session on ‘Nalanda Buddhism in 21st century – challenges and response’, which he said would be great importance for the young generation Buddhists.
The one-day conference is being attended by 45 delegates of revered Rinpoches, Geshes, Khenpos and scholars from all the Himalayan states of Himachal Pradesh, Ladhak (union territory) Uttarakhand, Jammu and Kashmir (Paddar-Pangi), Sikkim, North Bengal (Darjeeling, Doors, Jaigaon and Kalimpong), Densa South India Monasteries and 35 delegates from various parts of Arunachal Pradesh like Tuting, Mechuka, Taksing and Anini and others. In total about 600 delegates are attending the conference.