Address (Excerpts) by Shri Jagdeep Dhankhar, Honourable Vice President at inaugural ceremony of 12th General Assembly of the Asian Buddhist Conference for Peace in New Delhi, January 17, 2024

New Delhi | January 17, 2024

Best wishes and greetings to the 12th General Assembly of the Asian Buddhist Conference for Peace (ABCP).

It is a great honour to welcome you all to New Delhi, especially since an Assembly of Asian Buddhist Conference for Peace is happening here after five decades. Welcome to Bharat home to 1/6 humanity, The importance of this gathering assumes significance as the world is passing through a historic and transformational phase. 

We gather at the 12th ABCP General Assembly under the timely theme: "ABCP - The Buddhist Voice of Global South."

This coincides with India's growing leadership role, amplifying the voices of the Global South. As evidenced by its G20 presidency and the "Voice of Global South Summit," India is committed to representing the concerns of nations with three-quarters of the world's population.

The tone for me was set when the momento was given to me and what was indicated there I read for the benefit of those who are here and those outside in the entire world, it carried a message which cannot be more impact full and contemporaneously relevant and a bacon for everyone. The messages I quote “May those who fight with arms in hands meet with flowers”.

The motto is soothing as Bharat as a nation has been guided by the principles of Bhagwan Buddha. This event is significant as we are gathered in the capital of a country where Buddhism was born and spread to diverse corners of the world, including all the countries that are members of this prestigious international organization for the noble cause of peace.

India is the land of Bhagwan Buddha. As appropriately reflected by Prime Minister Modi “we are proud to belong to a nation that has given the world 'Buddha' and not 'Yuddha' (war).”

India is committed to ensuring that the younger generations across the world learn more about Bhagwan Buddha and get inspired by His ideals.

India is proactive, be it the development of the Buddhist circuit, boosting connectivity for international travellers to access sites of Buddhist heritage, or the efforts such as the India International Centre for Buddhist Culture, or the popularisation of Bhagwan Buddha's message.

World today faces challenges that are universal and call for concerted efforts be it the climate change, conflict, terrorism or poverty. 

These challenges to humanity are existential and can be addressed by common resolve and collaborative and collective approach. The principles of Bhagwan Buddha are no less than a beacon of hope and light to catalyse convergence of all stakeholders on a common platform.

Platforms such as the ABCP are important in shaping a common future and directing a positive discourse

The diverse activities of the ABCP are a testament of the proactive engagement of its members.

It is heartening to witness your commitment to promoting mutual understanding and cooperation between nations and societies. The ABCP's proactive collaboration with international bodies reflects its inclusive and forward-looking approach of addressing the challenges faced by the world.

Buddha's timeless wisdom, woven into the fabric of our world, offers a powerful path to peace. His Four Noble Truths and Eightfold Path guide us towards inner peace, compassion, and non-violence – a transformative roadmap for individuals and nations facing today's conflicts.

In a world yearning for harmony, Buddha's light shines brightest. Let us embrace his teachings and build a future where peace prevails. Beyond mere coexistence, Buddha's teachings weave a tapestry of understanding, empathy, and shared well-being. In a world rife with division, his wisdom shines brighter than ever. Let us follow the light of tolerance, justice, and a shared commitment to peace, paving the way for a future where all flourish and Virtuosity blossoms, sublimity shines.

Our shared heritage, woven with faith, culture, and love, forms an unbreakable thread. Together, as a family united by Buddha, we can illuminate the world with his message of peace. Violence has never generated humanity and peace has never laid to divisions.  

Across the continent, Buddhist stupas stand as silent testaments to Buddha's enduring wisdom. Whispers of chants and vibrant festivals echo his teachings, reminding us of India's role as his birthplace and a beacon of non-violence, peace, and compassion for millennia.

This ethos, reflected in our Constitution and national emblem, compels us to share his message with the world, just as India has always shared its knowledge and wisdom. The Indian Constitution's artwork reflects 5,000 years of history, particularly in Part V, where Lord Buddha graces the section on Union governance.

This placement symbolizes the ideals of enlightenment - a parliamentary system, independent judiciary, and balance of power - guiding the nation's highest institutions.

Buddha's teachings inspire India's service-driven governance, prioritizing citizen welfare and inclusivity, from farmers and the vulnerable to the दिव्यांगजन . This commitment extends to environmental sustainability, where the interconnectedness of all life guides India's advocacy for a greener future.

Initiatives such as the International Solar Alliance, launched by India, and Mission LiFE, reflect our commitment to harnessing sustainable and clean energy for the well-being of our planet.

Gautama Buddha's message of peace, harmony, and coexistence stands stark against forces of hate and terror that threaten our world. But hope lives in those who believe in humanity. Let us converge, guided by Buddha's wisdom, not just as a relic of the past, but as a compass for the future.

In an age of ethical uncertainty, his teachings offer a path of sustainability: simplicity, moderation, and reverence for all life. By embracing this interconnectedness, we can build a harmonious future with our planet.

On the occasion of this 12th General Assembly, let us ignite the embers of Buddha's wisdom. For within its light, we discover not only personal peace, but the power to forge a world united in harmony.

Our Prime Minister, Modi ji, rightly called Buddhism the "biggest strength of earth." Let this truth be our banner, as we, the Asian Buddhist Conference for Peace, march ever forward in its spirit.

Remember, Buddha's teachings are not relics of the past, but a compass for our future. As technology races ahead, his Middle Path – a tapestry of friendship, moderation, and reverence for all life – offers a sustainable path for us and our planet. His thought process principles and essence all model dated when the world is faced with disruptive technologies.

Therefore, let us not merely gather here, but proactively champion the Buddha's message. Let our deliberations birth a vigorous program of action, echoing his call to befriend one another and work for the betterment of all humanity.

May this Assembly become a beacon, illuminating a path where borders fade and shared understanding reigns.

May the light of Buddha guide us, transforming not just ourselves, but the very fabric of our world.

Together, let us build a future where peace is not a dream, but a shared endeavor. For in the spirit of Buddha, we know: there is no other way.

As Lord Buddha taught us, ‘भवतु सब्ब मंगलम’: which means blessings, compassion and welfare of all.

Thank you.