It is an honour to be addressing the Sixth Indo-Japan SAMVAD Conference.
Five years ago, we began this series of conferences with former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. Since then, SAMVAD has travelled from New Delhi to Tokyo, from Yangon to Ulaanbaatar. In this journey, it has remained true to its fundamental objectives: to encourage dialogue and debate; to highlight our shared values of democracy, humanism, Ahimsa, freedom and tolerance; and, to carry forward our ancient tradition of spiritual and scholarly exchanges. I would like to thank the Government of Japan for their constant support to SAMVAD.
This forum has done great work to ensure promote the ideas and ideals of Lord Buddha, especially among the youth. Historically, the light of Buddha’s message spread out from India to many parts of the world. However, this light did not remain static. In each new place it reached, Buddhist thought continued to evolve further over the Centuries. Because of this, great treasures of Buddhist literature and philosophy can be found in many different monasteries today, across many different countries and languages.
This body of writing is a treasure of humankind as a whole. Today, I would like to propose the creation of a library of all such traditional Buddhist literature and scriptures. We will be happy to create such a facility in India and will provide appropriate resources for it. The library will collect digital copies of all such Buddhist literature from different countries. It will aim to translate them, and make them freely available for all monks and scholars of Buddhism. The library will not only be a depository of literature.
It will also be a platform for research and dialogue – a true ‘SAMVAD’ between human beings, between societies, and between man and nature. Its research mandate will also include examining how Buddha’s message can guide our modern world against contemporary challenges. Challenges like poverty, racism, extremism, gender discrimination, climate change and many others.
About three weeks ago, I was at Sarnath. Sarnath is where Lord Buddha gave his first sermon after attaining enlightenment. This Jyoti Punj emerged from Sarnath spread across the world embracing the values of Compassion, Nobility and above all, Manav Kalyan the good of entire humanity. And gently, peacefully, it changed the course of world history. It was in Sarnath that Lord Buddha spoke in detail about his ideal of Dhamma. Dhamma for him was more than prayer and rituals. At the Centre of Dhamma are humans, and their relation with fellow humans. Thus, it is most important to be a positive force in the lives of others. SAMVAD should be one that will spread this spirit of positivity, unity and compassion across our planet. That too at a time when we need it the most.
This is the first SAMVAD of a new decade. It is happening at a critical moment of human history. Our actions today will shape the discourse in the coming times. This decade and beyond will belong to those societies that place a premium on learning and innovating together. It will be about nurturing bright young minds who will add value to the humanity in the times to come. Learning should be such that furthers innovation. After all, innovation is the corner-stone to human empowerment.
Societies that are open minded, democratic and transparent are better suited to innovate. Therefore, now is the time, more than ever before, to change the paradigm on what we see as growth. Discussions on global growth cannot happen only between a few. The table must be bigger. The agenda must be broader. Growth patterns must follow a human-centric approach. And, be in harmony with our surroundings.
It is rightly mentioned in the
यमक वग्गो धम्मपद:
न हि वेरेन वेरानि, सम्मन्तीध कुदाचं।
अवेरेन च सम्मन्ति, एस धम्मो सनन्तनो॥
Hostility will never achieve peace. In the past, humanity took the path of confrontation instead of collaboration. From Imperialism to the world wars. From the arms race to the space race. We had dialogues but they were aimed at pulling others down. Now, let us rise together. Lord Budha’s teachings command the strength to turn the discourse from enmity to empowerment. His teachings make us large-hearted. They tell us: learn from the past and work towards a better future. This is the best service we can do for our future generations.
The essence of Sanwad remains togetherness. Let SAMVAD bring out the best in us, together. This is the time to draw upon our ancient values and prepare for the times to come. We must keep humanism at the core of our policies. We must make harmonious co-existence with nature as the central pillar of our existence. SAMVAD, a dialogue with ourselves, with fellow human beings, and with nature can light our way on this path. I compliment the organizers for organizing this important event and wish them all success in their deliberations.
DS/SH / (Release ID: 1682323)