Peace memorandum signed at Vedanta-Buddhist summit

Alabama, United States
17th February 2008

2011-2018 to witness global surge in spirituality, says Gurudev

BANGALORE: A memorandum of understanding was signed today to bring two ancient traditions together to create a common platform for social good. Leaders of the Art of Living and the Maha Bodi Society, His Holiness Gurudev Sri Sri Ravi Shankar and Dr. B.K. Modi signed the memorandum on Sunday evening at the closing ceremony of the two-day Vedanta and Buddhism Global Conference held at the Art of Living International campus. The memorandum pledges to promote an understanding between the philosophies of the two traditions, encouraging comparative studies and working towards social issues. In an atmosphere replete with Vedic and Buddhist chanting, the pledge was taken in the presence of over 700 leaders from the Vedanta and Buddhist traditions representing countries like Taiwan, Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia and many parts of India.

Commenting on the 500 percent increase interest in spirituality the world over, his Holiness Gurudev Sri Sri Ravi Shankar said,“From 2011 to 2018 a big wave of spirituality will come over the world. We will all have to gear up for the need of the times: one would be to strength our communication and the depth in our spirituality and the second would be to speak the language of the generation.”

Commenting on the relevance of spirituality in today’s times, Most. Rev. Dhamma Master Hsin Tao, Founder, Museum of World Religions and President, Global Family for Peace and Love said,“Our present age is very troubled with a loss of human values in society. It is now, more than ever, that the world needs the wisdom and guidance of holy persons.” He shared his experience of working with members of other religions during the relief campaigns post-Tsunami in Asia.

Referring to the peace initiatives that Gurudev has undertaken, Brahma Shri Shri Babu Sharma, Secretary, Shri Vidya International, Sri Lanka said,“We are happy that Gurudev Sri Sri Ravi Shankarji is working towards bringing permanent peace in Sri Lanka. The discussions from this Vedanta-Buddhist conference will help create an enabling environment in Sri Lanka by which Hindu and Buddhist people can live together in harmony.”

Jaya Row, Founder, Vedanta Vision and Founder-Manager, Vedanta Trust, enumerated human values which are common to Vedanta and Buddhism. She inspired the audience to“focus on what is permanent and what endures.”

Other speakers included Ven. Lama Lobzang, President Ashoka Mission, Former member of the National Commission for Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes, Government of India, Swami Chakrapani, President, All India Hindu MahaSabha, Ven. Dr. Mano Mettanando Laohavanich, advisor to Secretary General of Religions for Peace for Buddhist affairs, Thailand, Ven. Higgodaudaya Dhamma Thero, Director, Saddaruma Vaageshwar Shasthra Visharada Vichithrabani, Swami Sadyojatha, Director, International Affairs, Art of Living and Dr. B. R. Mehta, member, Governing Body, Maha Bodhi Society of India.

That humanity had reached the pinnacle of technological prowess but was losing out on the essential values of life was a theme touched upon by almost every speaker.

The conference, which began on February 16, saw an esteemed group of speakers sharing diverse ideas which had a common goal. Swami Agnivesh, President, World Council of Arya Samaj, India and Rajyogini Sudesh Didi, Director, European Centers, Brahma Kumaris were some of the other speakers in the conference.

A statue of Lord Budhha and Adi Shankaracharya were unveiled at the Art of Living campus on Saturday evening. The conference was interspersed with sessions of meditation and chanting, creating a serene environment for the discussions that followed.

The success of the first-ever Vedanta-Buddhism Global conference prompted a unanimous decision among all the leaders to make the event an annual one, taking it to other countries like Japan, Thailand and Taiwan.