“Distinguished guests, sisters and brothers,
It is indeed a pleasure to learn that Nalanda University is hosting the sixth Dharma Dhamma International Conference on Dharma Dhamma Traditions in Building the Post Covid World Order. I am pleased to note that Nalanda University had organized the 4th and 5th Dharma Dhamma International Conferences in 2018 and 2019 respectively, and that both were resounding successes.My compliments to Nalanda University for upholding the Dharma Dhamma traditions through its academic culture. The India Foundation also deserves our wholesome appreciation for its effort in continuing the tradition of holding Dharma Dhamma International Conferences.
This Conference has special significance because it is being held in the hallowed region Buddha walked upon and spread His message of love and truth.
Our former President Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam envisioned the resurgence of Nalanda as a symbol of Asian Renaissance. I am happy to learn that this University with the present leadership is firmly set on the path of shaping his vision into reality. I see it as a part of a larger network of universities and research institutions which would transform India into a Vishwaguru once again, in the near future. It is heartening to know that the University, with its robust academic setting, aims to be universalist in its outlook and open to currents of thought and practice from around the globe. I am aware that the linkages the University has built, along with the seventeen participating countries which have endorsed the re-establishment of Nalanda University, will enhance civilizational and cultural bonds. They will, I am certain, draw upon the finest resources of Asia and the world.
I compliment the Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Sunaina Singh, for striving to reinvent and strengthen the academic spirit of this historically renowned University. Our efforts should be directed towards helping this University regain its past glory and I am pleased to know that Prof. Singh and her dynamic team are endeavouring to accomplish this objective. Nalanda University must once again serve ‘as a bridge and foundation’ in linking India with the outside world through the power of knowledge. This great cradle of learning must provide a transformational academic experience for every student in a spirit of creative collaboration.
Nalanda University has a unique role to play, in that, it is engaged in developing a global tapestry of value-systems. I am glad to know that in this context, it seeks to build universal peace and encourage innovative research through the vast domain of Indian-Asian wisdom and knowledge space.
My congratulations to Nalanda University for building the world’s largest self-sustaining Net-Zero campus. This Green Sustainable Campus with the Net-Zero approach on such a large scale is indeed a remarkable achievement. I am told that it is one of its kind in our country, and is among the world’s largest Net-Zero Campuses. It is only fitting that Nalanda University which has courses on Sanatana Hindu Studies, Buddhist Studies and Indian Knowledge systems, is organizing this International Conference on a theme of great significance today.I am sure that we will draw many useful lessons on ways of creating a more harmonious world order from this academic confluence of teachers, thinkers and influencers.
Seen against the backdrop of the Covid-19 pandemic, we need to step back and re-assess both our lifestyle and thinking critically, in order to establish peace and harmony in the world. It becomes clear that the Dharma-Dhamma traditions of Hinduism and Buddhism together with other religious persuasions have distinctly holistic and inclusive responses to the challenges of the emerging post-covid world order. I am hopeful that this International Conference will provide new lessons and insights to us to make the post COVID world a better place for humanity—a world where competition gives way to compassion, wealth makes way for health, consumerism gives way to spirituality, and supremacy and dominance yield to peaceful co-existence.
This is an opportunity for us to examine the extent to which the Dharma and Dhamma teachings and practices can be applied to solving the challenges we face in the world around us. The universal principles of peaceful co-existence, cooperation, mutual care and share, non-violence, friendliness, compassion, peace, truth, honesty, selflessness and sacrifice have been an integral part of dharmic ethical exhortations. They have been articulated by our Rishis, Munis, monks, sages and seers, time and again.
Sisters and Brothers,
I am happy to note that the 6th Dharma Dhamma conference is being organized on such a theme which aims to facilitate cross-pollination of ideas and foster harmony at the global level. It also seeks to explore the shared values of the dharmic traditions that may provide the guiding light to the world today. We must remember that the vibrant sense of interconnectedness which informs our dharmic traditions is the need of the hour.
Dharma has been a pivotal and pervasive concept and overriding principle in relation to Indian culture and civilization. It has played an important and cardinal role in guiding and shaping our view of reality and way of life. Dharma covers every dimension of human existence and has been the life-sustaining, life–regulating and life-enhancing force in our socio-cultural ethos.
The notion of Dharma-Dhamma, in its multiple manifestations, including truth and non-violence, peace and harmony, humaneness and spiritual linkages and universal fraternity and peaceful co-existence, served as a moral compass that guided people in the Indian sub-continent through the ages. It is this vital moral impulse that continues to shape and sustain our way of life. I am told that this International Conference aims to focus on the essential identity among diverse dharmic traditions having distinct characteristics and notable commonalities.
I have been informed that this Conference will have a Ministers’ Panel consisting of Chief Minister of Arunachal Pradesh, Sri Pema Khandu, Chief Minister of Sikkim, Shri Prem Singh Tamang, Minister of State, Ministry of External Affairs, Smt. Meenakshi Lekhi and Ministers from Sri Lanka. I am certain that the academic deliberations on various sub-themes of this Conference over the three days will prove to be intellectually enriching and purposeful. I am glad to learn that more than 150 scholars from different parts of the world will present papers at this International Conference. With such a vibrant intellectual environment, structured to advance the frontiers of knowledge, I am sure that Nalanda University will perform its role as an emerging thought leader in the new world order.
I once congratulate Nalanda University and India Foundation for coming together to hold the Dharma - Dhamma Conference. I wish all of you the very best.