On January 13- 15, 2013, at Sarnath, Varanasi, India the Second International Conference of Asian Buddhist Forum was held by the Central University of Tibetan Studies (founded in 1967 for the purpose of education of young people from Tibetan Spoken areas in India and some neighboring countries and Tibetan Diaspora of refugees, this institution is supported now by the Indian Government). The first conference of Asian Buddhist Forum was held in Taiwan, in 2011.
The general subject of the conference was formulated as Buddhism and Society covering three main areas such as -
1) Contribution of Buddhism to social life;
2) Interaction of Buddhism with different societies;
3) Engaged Buddhism: though and activities.
The organizing committee was headed by Prof Dr Pradeep Gokhale recognized for his works on the history of Indian philosophy; the other two members of the committee were Ven. Lobsang Norbu Shastri, the head of the project for the restoration of Sanskrit texts from Tibetan translations, and Dr Penpa Dorje.
About sixty scholars and religious figures from India, South Korea, Taiwan, Sri Lanka, Vietnam, Thailand took part in the conference. Russia as a country located between Europe and Asia and combining organically features of various cultures, including traditional Buddhist culture enrooted to Tibetan Buddhism, was represented with three papers: Buddhist Literature in Life of Ordinary Buryats by Dr Andrey A.Bazarov, leading researcher at the Institute of Mongolian, Buddhist and Tibetan Studies, Siberian Branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Reality: Meeting of the Buddhist and Scientific Approaches by Dr Andrey A.Terentyev, the chief editor of Buddhism in Russia Journal, and Texts on Tantric Fierce Rites from an Ancient Tibetan Scroll Kept at the IOM RAS by Dr Alexander V. Zorin, researcher at the IOM RAS.
Although English and Hindi were working languages at the conference the majority of presentations were submitted in English. The organizers prepared the trilingual invitation cards, color pamphlet with the official program of the conference and abstracts of each paper, and printed the book of collected papers; the paper by Dr A.Zorin is available as a *.PDF file.
It is important to notice that the valedictory inauguration of the conference was headed by His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama who performed the lamp-lighting ritual and delivered a brief lecture on the place of Buddhism in modern society.
The Inauguration of the conference. A group of Tibetan monks recite some Mangala Slokas in front of His Holiness the Dalai Lama
His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama delivers his lecture
Some participants of the conference presenting their papers:
Ven. Lobsang Norbu Shastri
Dr A. Bazarov
Prof P. Gokhale
Prof Sh. Bahulkar
Dr A. Zorin
At the final plenary session
The inner yard of the Central University of Tibetan Studies
Dr A. Bazarov and Dr A. Zorin at the front foor of Hindustan International Hotel, Varanasi, after the end of the conference
Text and photos by A. Zorin