NSW: Buddhist Studies March Seminar

The Australasian Association for Buddhist Studies notifies that its next seminar will be a hybrid event, both Face-to-Face and Zoom on Thursday 9 March at 6:30pm (CAEST). The topic will be Buddhist theory of conditional genesis and social healing approach towards post conflict reconciliation.

Buddhist theory of conditional genesis and social healing approach towards post conflict reconciliation

Conflicts and wars create divisions among people, communities and nations. Such conflicts create deep wounds that need to be healed. Existing approaches to reconciliation identify people who were and are engaged with conflict in different ways, such as ‘victims’, ‘perpetrators’ and ‘bystanders’. When one group is identified as ‘victims’ then that identification leads to the phrase ‘giving justice’ to the victims. A part of the process of giving justice becomes identifying perpetrators and then bringing them before the law. Most of the time, perpetrators are members of the military who have a strong backing from the people. Further, this approach disconnects the majority of people from understanding their connection with the conflict because they are understood as bystanders who are different from the previously mentioned categories.

There is need for an alternative, inclusive model of reconciliation that sees the interconnectedness of everyone in different ways and in different degrees. In this presentation, the conditional genesis theory of Buddhism is applied to understand the interconnected and inter-dependent nature of society. This approach prompts us to see beyond ‘victim’, ‘perpetrator’ and ‘bystander’ divisions. It encourages us to view all members of society as victims in different ways and to different degrees and, in the same manner, as perpetrators in different ways and to different degrees. If a conflict is understood to create the conditions to wound people, then, reconciliation can be understood as a process of healing. In such a scenario there will not be victims, perpetrators and bystanders, but wounded people and a process of healing that can lead to true reconciliation. Since everyone in a society that has experienced conflict are wounded in different ways and to different degrees, there cannot be ‘healers’ who are not affected by the conflict as well. All are part of the wounding process and, in the same manner, all are part of the healing process.

Venerable Galkande Dhammananda is a Sri Lankan national and a monk of the Theravada Buddhist tradition. He is the Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Walpola Rahula Foundation Trust and the Executive Director of the Walpola Rahula Institute, where educational and training programs are offered for religious leaders and lay persons with an aim to support social healing. He has also been a senior lecturer attached to the Department of History, University of Kelaniya, Sri Lanka.


Face to Face: 6:00-7:30pm (AEST) on Thursday 9 March in the Rogers Room (N397), John Wooley Building (A20), University of Sydney.

Online using Zoom on Thursday 9 March at 6:30pm (AEST).
To join the seminar from PC, Mac, Linux, iOS or Android, click the following link: Zoom … (Please mute your microphone when joining Zoom.)

Need help using Zoom? Visit the Zoom Help Center: https://support.zoom.us


Gold leaf covered schist reliquary in the form of a stupa. Kusana period, North Western India. National Museum, Karachi, Pakistan. Copyright: Huntington, John C. and Susan L.Huntington Archive