President Pranab Mukherjee on Sunday said the world needs to discuss and deliberate as to why it is facing the scourge of violence and how to stop the “wanton destruction”.
“No part of the world today is free from the scourge of violence. This crisis is all pervasive. The basic question being raised today is how to stop this wanton destruction and come back to sanity,” the President said.
He was speaking as the chief guest at the valedictory session of the three-day international conference, “Buddhism in the 21st Century – Perspectives and Responses to Global Challenges and Crises”, at Rajgir in Nalanda district of Bihar.
Speaking about the relevance of Buddhism, the President said the philosophy of Buddhism is as relevant today as ever — especially as the world grapples with complex problems that seem intractable.
“Buddhism has had a deep influence on human civilisation. The mighty emperor Ashoka, who had the ambition of extending his empire as far as he could, was converted into a missionary. Dhamma Ashoka is remembered in history rather than warrior Ashoka,” he said.
He said that in the 21st century, the path of Lord Buddha and Buddhism will help the world get rid of viloence and terrorism.
About the historical significance of the ancient Nalanda University, Mukherjee said it reflects our ancient educational system which attracted mighty minds in the form of students and teachers in ancient India.
Quoting Gandhiji on the Buddha, Mukherjee said: “He was saturated with the best which was in Hinduism… His great Hindu spirit cuts its way through the forest of meaningless words which had overlaid the golden truth which was in the Vedas.”
The President congratulated the Nava Nalanda Mahavihara for publishing the entire Pali Tripitaka (texts or words of the Buddha) in 41 volumes in the Devanagari script.
Appreciating the initiatives of Nava Nalanda Mahavihara, the President said this will go a long way in popularising the tenets of Buddhism and will help the coming generations to easily connect with the supreme ideals of humanity, forbearance, discipline and compassion.
Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama on Friday inaugurated the three-day international Buddhist conference which is being attended by 1,000 delegates from 35 countries.
The conference is being organised by the Union Ministry of Culture.