Buddhist meet kicks off in Ahmedabad

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The 4th International Buddhist Conference is being organised by Sanghakaya Foundation that promotes Buddhist culture, in collaboration with the Gujarat University. (Representational Image)

A three-day International Buddhist Conference, organised on the theme of peace, heritage and solidarity, was inaugurated by Gujarat University Vice-Chancellor Himanshu Pandya and a Buddhist monk from Myanmar, Mahendra Thero, here on Sunday.

Grandson of Dr B R Ambedkar, Bhimrao Ambedkar; Additional Director General of Police, Anil Pratham; Kannada actor Chetan Kumar and around 100 Buddhist monks from Asia, Europe and America attended the inaugural function at the Senate Hall of the Gujarat University.

The 4th International Buddhist Conference is being organised by Sanghakaya Foundation that promotes Buddhist culture, in collaboration with the Gujarat University.

According to Prashil Ratna Gautam, a Buddhist monk and president of Sanghakaya Foundation, the conference is being organised in Ahmedabad with an aim to revive the Buddhist culture in the state.

Speaking on the occasion, Ambedkar laid special emphasis on conservation of symbols of Buddhist heritage in India. "There are several scholars and students in this country who are researching to discover the 84,000 Chaityas & Viharas (Buddhist religious structures for Buddhist monks) built by Samrat Ashok," Ambedkar said.

He also appealed to Buddhist monks to put pressure on the Government of India and all the state governments where such Buddhist heritage monuments are present to preserve it by removing encroachments on them. "Those Chaityas and Viharas are a treasure and it should be kept secure," Ambedkar further said.

Actor Chetan Kumar said that India today needs the ideology of Lord Buddha, Babasaheb Ambedkar, Jyotiba Phule and Savitribai Phule.

"Today, as a nation, we are in a dangerous position. The values of diversity, tolerance, socialism, secularism that are the basis of our nation are being questioned. The idea of India is being questioned," said Chetan Kumar.

"I can say with pride that the ideology that our nation needs is the ideology of Buddha and Babasaheb Ambedkar, Mahatma Jyotiba Phule and Savitribai Phule," he added.