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India based International Buddhist Confederation draws 10-year plan to shape global agenda

The International Buddhist Confederation has drawn an ambitious plan to inject Buddha’s message to resolve global problems

From Climate change to conflict resolution, the International Buddhist Confederation (IBC) has drawn up a 10- year plan to energetically address global problems by making its voice heard in the United Nations and other international forums.

The India based IBC had already intervened in drafting a declaration on Buddhism and climate change during the 21st Session of the Conference of Parties (COP21) in Paris, says Khensur Rinpoche Janfchup, Deputy Secretary General of IBC. But now, the organisation wants to intervene in shaping the international debate on poverty alleviation, conflict resolution and universal harmony. Besides, it wants to address Science and technology and Artificial intelligence from a Buddhist perspective, says Rinpoche Jangchup who was speaking on Saturday at the 10th anniversary of the formation of the IBC at a New Delhi hotel.

IBC founder Lama Lobzang also took part in the celebrations virtually along with Secretary General Dr. Dhammapiya, apart a bevy of guests ranging from Russia, Malaysia, Thailand, Cambodia and Taiwan.

Analysts say that the geo-cultural initiative can also help correct China’s attempt to “hijack” the legacy of Buddhism by attempting to undermine the importance of its roots in India and Nepal.

Watch video: Under the Radar E2- The India-China tussle for the soul of Buddhism

Over the next decade, IBC will focus on a two-fold initiative—of building a strong knowledge base on Buddhism, and then sharing it with the larger global community through robust institutions.

In the next 10 years, IBC hopes to establish a network of universities, academic institutions, monastic and Sangha bodies focusing on Buddhist countries. “Workshops, debates and discussions would also be held on these issues with relevant stakeholders. In the long run, we would also look into the possibility of setting up academic chairs in various Buddhist universities in different countries,” said Rinpoche Jangchup.

He added that the IBC will focus on reviving the Pali language and support and fund scholarships for Pali studies and Mahayana Buddhist studies at various universities in India and abroad.

In an era of information war, the IBC visualises a strong media and communication arm to spread Buddha’s message of peace, harmony and welfare of humanity. Riding on the success of the first Asian Buddhist Media Conclave held in 2018, held in collaboration with the Vivekananda International Foundation (VIF), IBC hopes once again to team up with VIF and Indian Institute of Mass Communication organise such an event and institutionalise it.

With social media emerging as a popular channel of communication, IBC intends to develop a Buddhist social media networking platform in Asia as a joint collaboration between IBC and a number of media networks in Thailand, Malaysia, Sri Lanka, South Korea, Taiwan and a few South East Asian countries

Plans are also afoot to look into the possibility of setting up a Buddhist news wire agency which would string together news on happenings in the Buddhist world on a single platform. “Eventually, it is our aim to groom a generation of media savvy youth through a regional Buddhist social media training programme in partnership with various universities and media organisations. This would help in spreading knowledge and awareness among the youth.

IBC also intends to facilitate the production of films on different aspects of Buddhism which would be produced in different languages for better dissemination.

The IBC has drawn an ambitious plan to preserve Buddhist heritage sites, coordinating with state governments especially Bihar and Uttar Pradesh to highlight ways and means of preserving the Buddhist sites and improving the infrastructure to ensure ease of flow of foreign Buddhist tourists to these locations.

With pilgrim tourism as a focal area, IBC is working on conceiving several unique and rare pilgrimage trails covering various Buddhist sites to suit the requirements of the wide range of Buddhist pilgrims who visit India. The concept of cross border Buddhist tourism/pilgrimage is also being considered involving an integrated tour plan covering countries like Myanmar, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, Vietnam among others.

The Ashokan trail marking the path adopted by Asoka the great to spread Buddhism would also be developed in the coming years and some ardent Buddhism experts have been working on this topic. For a variety of reasons, the Himalayan Buddhist trail has remained detached from the regular Buddhist tour circuit, and the IBC intends developing the Himalayan Buddhist monasteries circuit

In collaboration with India’s Ministry of External Affairs, IBC will showcase Buddhist art and photographs of sacred Buddhist sites and heritage in India by renowned photographers and personalities as well as commissioned work. This would be a travelling exhibition mainly reaching out to important Buddhist nations.

The relics of the Buddha have a special relevance for Buddhists, IBC has plans to take the relics available in India to different Buddhist countries over the next few years. Besides the holy relic of the Buddha those of his two disciples – Sariputta and Moggalyan would also be carried to different countries for short display.

During the coming decade, the IBC also plans to organise visits of select groups of young monks from different countries to the sacred Buddhist sites in India and also showcase the uniqueness of Indian culture and tradition wherein advanced technology and modern values go hand in hand with the richness of teachings of the Buddha. As part of this programme the first group of 25 Buddhist monks from Bhutan will be arriving in Delhi by the end of this month.