A Conference on Tibetan Buddhism in Europe
Dharamshala, 19 August 2005– The Committee for the Dalai Lama in Switzerland 2005 organised “A Conference on Tibetan Buddhism in Europe” on 13 and 14 August in Zurich. The conference, first of its kind to be held in Europe, was inaugurated by His Holiness the Dalai Lama.
|His Holiness the Dalai Lama addressing the conference|
Geshe Jampel Senge, in his opening remarks, outlined the theme of the conference: how best to preserve the essence of Tibetan Buddhism in a changing world; how Buddhism can contribute to help others without proselytising; and how to reach out to and cooperate with other faiths.
Mr. Jampa T. Samdho, on behalf of the organisers, welcomed the delegates and thanked His Holiness for inaugurating the Conference.
In his keynote speech to the conference, His Holiness the Dalai Lama said that the discussions should be free, frank and all encompassing so that remedies, where necessary, can be thrashed out.
His Holiness called for communication, cooperation and collective responsibility to make the conference meaningful.
Expressing his full support to revive the Bikshuni vow, His Holiness donated CHF 50,000.00 as seed money for this initiative, suggesting that perhaps the western nuns should take the lead by exploring ways to do more study and research in consultation with the Buddhist leaders in the Asian countries where Buddhism is a major religion.
In the past, His Holiness said, Tibetans had isolated themselves to preserve what were most dear to them, but what happened was the opposite. Today we are in such a critical situation that we risk losing everything.
“So it is not always wise to remain in isolation.”
His Holiness concurred with one of the speakers who pointed out that the Buddhist centres in the West could do better in supporting the cause of Tibet, as it affects the very survival of Tibetan Buddhism.
Present at the conference include Argya Rinpoche, Dagyab Rinpoche, Sogyal Rinpoche, Tulku Pema Wangyal, Thamthog Rinpoche, Lama Karta, Sherab Gyaltsen Amipa, Phuntsok Tashi, Abbot of Rikon Monastery, Alex Berzin, Ani la Carola Roloff, Martin Kallf and representatives from over 80 Buddhist centres in Europe.
Divided in three teams, the conference delved into various issues related with Buddhism with unbridled enthusiasm and drew conclusions on various issues with both Tibetan and western perspectives, including the need for an International Tibetan Buddhist organisation, better connection between the religious leaders and Buddhist centres and more of such conferences in future.