Theme: Sat-Chit-Ananda & Nirvana in Dharma-Dhamma Traditions
Dates: 27-28 July 2019
Venue: Rajgir International Convention Centre, Rajgir, Bihar, India
5th International Dharma Dhamma Conference was organised by India Foundation in collaboration with Nalanda University on 27-28 July 2019 in Rajgir International Convention Centre, Rajgir, Bihar, India. The theme of the Conference was “Sat-Chit-Ananda & Nirvana” in Dharma-Dhamma Traditions. The conference was attended by 250 Scholars from 15 Countries, 37 Distinguished Speakers addressed the Conference while 50 Scholars presented their Research Papers on various sub-themes of the conference.
The Inaugural Session of the 5th International Dharma Dhamma Conference was addressed by Pujya Swami Avdheshanand Giri (Acharya Mahamandleshwar Juna Akhara and Founder, Prabhu Premi Sangh), Shri Kiren Rijiju (Union Minister of State I/C, Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports, Government of India), Hon. Gamini Jayawickrama Perera (Minister of Buddhasasana and Wayamba Development, Government of Sri Lanka), Lyonpo Sherab Gyaltshen (Minister for Home and Cultural Affairs, The Royal Government of Bhutan) and Prof. Sunaina Singh (Vice-Chancellor, Nalanda University, Rajgir, Bihar).
Pujya Swami AvdheshanandGiri
The conference began with invocations rooted in the Hindu and Buddhist traditions by the students and teachers of Nalanda University. Ms Lalita Kumarmangalam, Director, India Foundation, welcomed all the guests, eminent scholars, academics and students in her welcome remarks in the inaugural session of the conference.
In his Benedictory Address in the Inaugural Session of the conference, Pujya Swami Avdheshanand Giri Ji Maharaj spoke on the spiritual aspect of the theme of the conference. Swami Ji lauded the theme of the conference as very significant and important for the contemporary world. He said that the Hindu traditions conceive the Absolute Truth in terms of three essentials attributes namely Sat, Chit and Ananda. When one knows or experiences these three, then the logical conclusion is the liberation which is Nirvana. He added, “the name of Parmatma in Vedic/Hindu/Sanatana Dharma is Sachidananda and that is the ultimate truth which incorporates all elements of life including the truth, consciousness and Ananda”.
Minister of State (Independent Charge) Youth Affairs & Sports and Minister of State for Minority Affairs, India. MP from the State of Arunachal Pradesh.
The Chief Guest in the Inaugural Session was Shri Kiren Rijiju. He said “Dharma Dhamma Conference is an endeavour to underscore the basic commonality between the two religions – Hinduism and Buddhism. Knowledge culture, which is the Indian Culture, is common among the two religions. The texts of the two traditions have many similarities, though people theorize and practice them differently.”
Hon. Gamini Jayawickrama Perera, Hon’ble Minister of Buddhasasana and Wayamba Development, Government of Sri Lanka, was the Distinguished Guest of Honor in the Inaugural Session of the Conference. He highlighted that Hindu and Buddhist traditions have to work and live together. He said, “Buddhist teachings are the most relevant to the contemporary world for achieving a sustainable and happy world”.
Lyonpo Sherab Gyaltshen, Hon’ble Minister for Home and Cultural Affairs, The Royal Government of Bhutan, was also the Distinguished Guest of Honor in the Inaugural session of the conference. In his address, he highlighted the natural linkage between Nalanda and Bhutan since time immemorial. He said“the deliberations at the Dharma Dhamma Conference should be focussed on Human mind & Self to develop a compassionate world. Courses and curriculum on self and human mind should be developed to create future citizens who care for happiness and values”.
Sunaina Singh, VC, Nalanda University
In her remarks, Prof Sunaina Singh, Vice-Chancellor of Nalanda University said “Nalanda traditions have been in the true spirit of Sat-Chit-Ananda. The Dharma Dhamma Conference provides a forum for the best minds from the world of academics as well as leading statesmen, policymakers, religious heads from India and abroad to come together to explore new wisdom and meaning in the contemporary world.”
The Keynote Session in the Dharma Dhamma Conference was chaired by Prof. S. R. Bhatt, Chairman, Indian Philosophy Congress and Former Chairman, Indian Council of Philosophical Research. The Keynote Addresses in the Session were delivered by Shri Ram Madhav (National General Secretary, Bharatiya Janata Party and Member, Board of Governors, India Foundation), Hon. Mano Ganesan (Minister of National Integration, Official Languages, Social Progress & Hindu Religious Affairs, Government of Sri Lanka), Shrihariprasad Swami (Managing Trustee, Sri Vishnu Mohan Foundation) and Venerable Prof Thich Nhat Tu (Deputy Rector, Vietnam Buddhist University, Vietnam and Founding Member, International Buddhist Confederation).
Shri Ram Madhav, National General Secretary, BharatiyaJanata Party
In his keynote address, Shri Ram Madhav said that “Satchidanand or Moksha is not there to desire or gain, but to experience. This experience begins from the physical world – Isavasyamidam Sarvam – Everything here is Isvara, the divine. Man has to travel from that realisation of the Omnipresent to a state where he becomes the Omnipresent himself, described in Upanishads as Aham Brahmasmi – I am the Creator. From Being to Becoming is the journey. Becoming is Moksha. Upanishads called that becoming as Satchidanand.”
Hon. Mano Ganesan, Minister of National Integration, Official Languages, Social Progress & Hindu Religious Affairs, Government of Sri Lanka
Hon. Mano Ganesan, in his Keynote address, underlined the harmony and coexistence of Hinduism and Buddhism since ages and said that Sri Lanka has recognized itself as multi Identity, multiethnic, metalinguistic, multi-religious country just like India.
Shrihariprasad Swami, Managing Trustee, Sri Vishnu Mohan Foundation
Shrihariprasad Swami, in his Keynote address, said: “philosophy and knowledge of the Shastra should transform you otherwise it is of no use”.
Venerable Prof (Dr) Thich Nhat Tu, in his Keynote address, talked about Nirvana which is the Ultimate Goal of Buddhism. He said “the essence of the Buddha’s teachings lies in the four noble truths which are: 1) the statement of what is suffering (dukkha), 2) discovering the cause of suffering (dukkha-samudaya), 3) realisation of the state of the destruction of suffering (dukkha-nirodha) and 4) showing the path leading to that state of destruction of suffering (dukkha-nirodha-gmin-paipad). They form the soteriological structure of the Buddha’s ethical teachings.
Venerable Prof (Dr) ThichNhatTu, Deputy Rector, Vietnam Buddhist University, Vietnam and Founding Member, International Buddhist Confederation
There were four Plenary Sessions in the conference where 27 Distinguished Speakers from various countries addressed the conference on four sub-themes of the conference namely Sat, Chit, Ananda and Nirvana. The first Plenary Session in the conference had discussions on the Sub-theme Sat (Truth) in Dharma Dhamma Traditions. The second Plenary Session had discussions on Sub-theme Chit (Consciousness)while the third Plenary Session discussed Ananda (Bliss) Sub-theme and fourth and final Plenary Session had an engaging discussion on Nirvana (Enlightenment) in Dharma Dhamma Traditions. There were also 8 parallel Sessions in the Conference where Scholars presented their Papers on Sub-themes of the Conference.