12th Religious Conference begins in Dharamsala
DHARAMSALA, Jun 19: The 12th Religious Conference of the four major traditions of Tibetan Buddhism and Bon tradition commenced in Dharamsala on Jun 18.
The three-day conference being held over Jun 18-20 at the Surya Hotel, Mcleod Ganj is organized by the Central Tibetan Administration’s Department of Religion and Culture.
H.E Gaden Tripa Rizong Rinpoche, H.E Sakya Trizin, H.E Karmapa Rinpoche, H.E Menri Trizin, Shabdrung Rinpoche, H.E Drukchen Rinpoche’s Representative Khenpo Tenzin and H.E Taklung Tsetrul Rinpoche’s representative Kathok Gezey Rinpoche are among the top Tibetan spiritual leaders attending the conference.
Prominent figures from the Central Tibetan Administration at the conference include Sikyong Dr Lobsang Sangay, Religion and Culture Kalon Pema Chhinjor, Finance Kalon Tsering Dhondup, Education Kalon Ngodup Tsering and Security Kalon Ngodup Drongchung.
In his inaugural address, Sikyong Dr Lobsang Sangay welcomed the participants and expressed his admiration at the peaceful co-existence and dialogue between different religious traditions.
Dr Sangay said it is a matter of great pride for the Tibetan community to have all the heads of the four major schools of Tibetan Buddhism and Bon tradition under the same roof and attributed the realization of such a conference to the guidance and vision of His Holiness the Dalai Lama.
Sikyong Sangay also urged the participants to abstain from religious extremism, citing Dholgyal followers who are increasingly being used as political tool by the Chinese government as an example.
Kalon for Religion and Culture, Mr Pema Chhinjor, in his opening remarks gave a brief introduction on the conference and urged the religious leaders to maintain the focus of the monasteries on the quality rather than the quantity of the monks while acknowledging the issue of decreasing number of monks and nuns joining monasteries and nunneries lately.
The religious conference was first initiated by His Holiness the Dalai Lama in 1963 to facilitate inter-school dialogue and the last religious conference was held in 2011.