The Interfaith Summit on Achieving World Peace Through Religious Harmony and Conflict Resolution was held in Bangkok, Thailand from May 21 to 25, 2012, sponsored by the Pure Land Learning College Association Inc.
Toowoomba based Venerable Master Chin Kung AM, in cooperation from World Fellowship of Buddhists, presented the Interfaith Summit. Amongst the Australian attendees were Dr. Graeme Lyall, President of Amitaba Buddhist Association of New South Wales, Australia and Mrs. Josie Lacey, chair, Religions for Peace New South Wales as well as Professor Toh Swee Hin, now Distinguished Professor, University for Peace, Costa Rica and UNESCO Prize for Peace Education.
The first two days of this impressive event were organized by the World Buddhist Assembly Bangkok convened by the World Fellowship of Buddhists honouring the Auspicious Occasions of Buddha jayanti, namely, The Celebration of 2,600 Years of the Buddha’s Enlightenment as well as the celebration of the birthdays of the King, Queen and the Crown Prince of Thailand.
His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej was celebrating his 85th birthday, whilst Her Majesty Queen Sirikit was celebrating her 80th birthday. Their son, His Royal Crown Prince Maha Vajiralongkorn, celebrated his 60th birthday.
The celebrations were held first at the famous Vajiravudh College and then at Aksra Theatre at the King Power Building with alms offerings given to 99 monks from Thailand and other international countries, lighting the candles for the Buddha Puja and salutations to H.M. King Bhumibol Adulyadej, to H.M Queen Sirikit and to H.R.H. Crown Prince Maha Vajiralongkorn. All honoured guests were entertained by melodious songs by the students of Vajiravudh College praising the “Maha Vajiravudh Rajsadudee” or Praise the Great King Vajiravudh or King Rama VI, the founder of the college.
The ceremony at the Aksra Auditorium commenced with spiritual songs by Theravada, Mahayana and Vajrayana monks. Goodwill messages, a welcoming address and the inauguration speech were delivered by famous leaders of the World Fellowship of Buddhists. Other eloquent speeches were delivered by Buddhist leaders from Japan, Nepal and China.
At the end of the day, the guests were entertained with Buddhist instrumental music performed by a famous band from Nepal. A marionette performance on “Dependent Origination” was offered by the Serna Thai Marionette Troupe. The Moradok Mai Dramatic Arts Troupe performed the story of the Buddha’s past life when He extolled the virtue of unlimited charity.
The main program of the second day was centered on an audience with Her Majesty Queen Sirikit at the Royal Grand Palace.m,The last three days were spent on the Interfaith Summit on Achieving World Peace Through Religious Harmony and Conflict Resolution held at the Imperial Queen’s Park Hotel. Venerable Master Chin Kung AM gave a presentation on Eliminating Crises through Religious Education: Thoughts on Building a Sacred City of Religion and Culture. Muhammed Haniff of the Pure Land Learning College Association Inc. gave a presentation on Connecting People, Strengthening Social Cohesion, Promoting Greater Social Trust: A Path to Peace and Harmony.
The first plenary session was held on Religious Harmony: A Faith Perspective with the speakers from Buddhist, Hindu, Baha’i, Sikh and Christian communities. The second plenary session was held on Religious Harmony: A Faith Perspective with the speakers from Jewish, Zoroastrian, Muslim and Australian Aboriginal communities. A Panel Discussion on Religious Harmony: A Faith Perspective was chaired by Professor Toh Swee Hin.
The participants of the Interfaith Summit were divided into the following 6 workshop groups:
- Workshop 1: Religious Education – Sharing Experiences
- Workshop 2: Moralityand Virtues – Our Heritage
- Workshop 3: Dialogues – Building Trust for a Better Tomorrow
- Workshop 4: Interfaith Engagement – An Action Based Initiative
- Workshop 5: Interfaith Relation – Opportunities and Initiatives
- Workshop 6: Strengthening Cohesion through Community Based Organisation
The last day opened with the third plenary session on Peace and Harmony: Multicultural Initiatives. The coffee break was followed by the fourth plenary session on Resolving Conflicts, Promoting Religious Cooperation. After lunch the participants attended the following 6 workshops on Interfaith Dialogue Circle:
- Workshop 1: Religious Harmony
- Workshop 2: Resolving Conflicts
- Workshop 3: Religious Cooperation
- Workshop 4: Multicultural Initiatives
- Workshop 5: Connecting People
- Workshop 6: Morality and Virtues
After the coffee break, Muhammed Haniff of Pure Land Learning College Association chaired a lively discussion with all participants. The last day was ended with a grand dinner and at the end of the day Venerable Master Chin Kung AM, President of Pure Land Learning College Association of Toowoomba gave his words of thanks to all the guests.
Other attendees included Venerable Wu Shin, Mr. Stephan Tang, Ms Isabelle Hsu, Mr. Jason Chi, Mrs. Kanchana Bandharangshi Soonsawad of Thailand and Father Patrick McInerney of Sydney.
Father Patrick McInerney of Sydney at the Interfaith Summit in Thailand
Source: Theophilus Bela
Buddha Jayanti – celebrating 2600 years since the birth of the Buddha