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Nepal to Conduct Conference on Buddhism May 19-21

Nepal is going to conduct the conference in order to further aggrandize the homeland of Lord Buddha, Lumbini all over the globe

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Lumbini. Image source: Wikimedia Commons
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By Aakash Jakhar

Nepal, a Sovereign state in South Asia is trying to endeavour in becoming the centre for Buddhism, which is why they have decided to host a three-day event,  a multinational conference which would emphasize upon the Buddhist culture and the life and living of Lord Buddha. The conference is to be held from May, 19th to 21st of May in Kathmandu, the nation’s capital city.

Ananda Prasad Pokharel, Minister for Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation addressed media in a news conference in Kathmandu on Saturday and said, Nepal is going to conduct the conference in order to further aggrandize the homeland of Lord Buddha, Lumbini, all over the globe.

Image Source: Wikimedia Commons
Gautam Budhha:Wikimedia Commons

The country’s government is doing the spadework to organize this multinational-level conference for the colossal publicity of the indispensable heritages left surviving in Lumbini and promulgate the concept of world peace.

Related article: Spread of Buddhism globally

A committee of 501 members has already been composed by the Council of Ministers under the headship of Minister Pokharel in order to make the conference a striking success.

On the juncture, the Vice Chairman of Lumbini Development Fund Nigrodh Siddhartha exhibited his confidence that this conference would surely aid for evolving Lumbini as a pious centre and stimulate the religious and cultural tourism of Nepal.

The government has delivered invitation to General Ban Ki-moon(UN Secretary) , premier of states of the contiguous countries and ministers for culture, high-authority representatives from various countries and federations as well as Buddhist polymaths and contemplatives for their involvement in the multinational conference.

Aakash Jakhar is an engineering graduate from Sat Kabir Institute of Technology and Management, Haryana. Twitter: @DabanggDragon

 

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    Well, Fingers crossed !!
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  • Pragya Jha

    Buddhism is a religion which started by Lord Buddha in Nepal but spread globally with the efforts of his follower Ashoka.

  • Pritam Go Green

    Well, Fingers crossed !!
    Who knows what good will come out of it.
    In-spite of all the brutal killings, Yet Nothing has been done for the support of the minority killings in South Asia

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Buddhist Monk Losang Samten Uses Colors to Spread Message of Peace

Samten was born in Tibet. When he was a young boy, his family escaped to Nepal fleeing Chinese Communist control of his homeland. They lived in a refugee camp for years.

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Samten
Former Buddhist monk and Tibetan scholar Losang Samten uses colored sand to build mandalas, circular images filled with complex iconography, which have great meaning in Hinduism and Buddhism. VOA

According to one estimate, there are a 5 quintillion, 5 hundred quadrillion grains of sand on earth, a number so large it must be approaching infinity. This makes sand an appropriate medium for the construction of spiritual images of the universe.

Former Buddhist monk and Tibetan scholar Losang Samten does just that, using colored sand to build mandalas, circular images filled with complex iconography, which have great meaning in Hinduism and Buddhism.

Tibetan monks have created mandalas over the centuries from a variety of materials. Before sand, they used crushed colored stone. Now Samten travels around the world to find sand in various colors. He also dyes sand in watercolors.

Now Samten travels around the world to find sand in various colors. He also dyes sand in watercolors.
Tibetan monks have created mandalas over the centuries from a variety of materials. Before sand, they used crushed colored stone. VOA

Decades of mandalas

Samten, in his mid-60s, learned the craft at the feet of the Dalai Lama.

“When I was a teenager, age of 17,” he told VOA, “I had a privilege to enter His Holiness Dalai Lama’s monastery … in India. I have been studying sand mandalas ever since then. So it’s a long time.”

VOA found Samten painstakingly layering grains of colored sand at the gallery of the Philadelphia Folklore Project. The particular mandala he was working on was the mandala of compassion, or unconditional love.

Far from random designs, mandalas have been perfected over centuries.

“These are uniquely designed many, many, many, many, many years passing to an artist to another artist to another artist to another artist,” Samten said. “The color has a meaning, the shape has different meanings. Not my design; it didn’t come out of my own idea.”

When Samten created a sand mandala at the American Museum of History in New York in 1988 at the request of the Dalai Lama, it was the first time the 2,600-years-old ancient ritual art was seen outside of monasteries. Since then, Samten has made sand mandalas in museums, galleries and universities across the U.S. and many parts of the world.

“They are used to enhance the spiritual practice through image and meditation, to overcome suffering. Mandalas represent enlightened qualities and methods which explain this path, making them very important for the spiritual journey,” Samten wrote on his web site.

Nothing is permanent

Samten was born in Tibet. When he was a young boy, his family escaped to Nepal fleeing Chinese Communist control of his homeland. They lived in a refugee camp for years.

Now Samten travels around the world to find sand in various colors. He also dyes sand in watercolors.
Samten, in his mid-60s, learned the craft at the feet of the Dalai Lama. VOA

“In the winter of 1959, [we] crossed Mount Everest, it took us two months to cross,” he told VOA. “You cannot travel during the day and so scared and not enough food not enough clothes. I was age of 5. I saw, I mean unbelievable dead bodies, people dying without food. I became a monk at age 11 when I was in school, refugee school.”

Samten left monastic life in 1995 and became the spiritual director at the Tibetan Buddhist Center of Philadelphia. He says the patience of the creative process, can lead observers to find calm determination within themselves.

“When I am doing this mandala at universities and schools, many kids came to me, (saying) ‘when I saw you doing the sand mandala, that help me so much to finish my education, patience …’ I have a lot of stories,” he said.

Monk Samten
Samten was born in Tibet. When he was a young boy, his family escaped to Nepal fleeing Chinese Communist control of his homeland. VOA

Beauty comes and goes

After a sand mandala is completed, it is dismantled ceremoniously.

“Dismantle has many different reasons,” Samten said. “… One thing is, dismantle is a beauty, whatever we see as a beauty on the earth, never be everlasting as a beauty and impermanent, impermanent, comes and goes. It’s like a season.”

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Or like sand, ever changing in the wind.

Samten often invites children to participate in the ceremony.

To gallery visitor Traci Chiodress that was part of the charm of the event.

“I think it’s powerful to see something so beautiful created, and then taken apart, and to be done in a community with a group of people of different ages,” she said. “I just think it’s an important type of practice.” (VOA)