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- Ven. Lama Lobzang with His Excellency Prasad Kariyawasam, High Commissioner for Sri Lanka at IIC
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Global Buddhist Congregation Context
The year 2011 is of immense importance to Dhamma practitioners, being the 2600th year of Sambodhiprapti, the Enlightenment of Buddha. Since that momentous turning point in the history of civilization, Buddha’s teachings have become the predominant way of life for people of various nationalities and cultures. Consequently 2011 will see many events taking place all over the world in commemoration.
The seeds of the International Buddhist Confederation were sown in the Autumn of 2010, during Ven. Lama Lobzang's, visit to Sri Lanka. There, some respected Sangha members suggested that India host a large-scale international Buddhist conference. The planning then began for one of the largest international gatherings of Buddhists ever to take place on Indian soil the Global Buddhist congregation. The suggestion was then made that a permanent umbrella body should be formed to carry the work and vision of the Global Buddhist Congregation forward into the future and to represent the enduring interests of Buddhism in the world. see many events taking.
From August 27-28th 2011, a working sub-committee met at the India International Centre in New Delhi to prepare the ground for the formation of this international Buddhist body.
In November 2011, New Delhi was host to Global Buddhist Congregation (GBC) that was attended by over 800 delegates and observers from Buddhist organizations and institutions from around the world, who came together to address common issues facing the modern world from the perspective of the Holy Dhamma.
Under the banner: Collective Wisdom: United Voice, the attendees of the GBC voted to form an international umbrella body – the International Buddhist Confederation (IBC). The purpose of this body is to create a role for Buddhism on the global stage so as to help to preserve our heritage, share our knowledge, and promote our values and to represent a united front for Buddhism to enjoy meaningful participation in the global discourse.
Regardless of the doctrinal differences within the rich and varied Buddhist traditions, there is far more that unites us than divides, and the IBC provides the foundation for the growth and development of this common ground. The IBC is blessed to include the Holy Sangha and eminent representatives of Buddhist lineages, organizations, institutions, and monastic bodies worldwide as Founding Members and Signatories to its Charter.
Included in the Charter, that was finalized during the GBC on November 30th, are the following aims and objectives.
- Lending a united voice to all Buddhist organizations, towards addressing and engaging in issues of common global concern.
- Conserving Buddhist practices, traditions and heritage worldwide and exploring Buddhist cultural assets
- Coordinating knowledge, experience, facilities and resources desirable for the attainment of the objectives of IBC
- Deepening the understanding among members as well as among differing Buddhist traditions
- Taking a firm stand against all forms of violence and encouraging a greater understanding of compassion and interdependence
- Working to foster greater social and gender equality and tolerance within the Buddhist world
- Adding a Buddhist dimension to the on-going interfaith dialogue
- Functioning as a networking body to lobby state and local governments and global institutions on issues of shared Buddhist concerns.
The IBC was formally registered on November 2, 2012, and as per statutory requirements under Indian law, a 10-member provisional Governing Body was formed, which has been working on IBC’s formal structure.
A sub-committee meeting was held on December 3, 2012, attended by delegates from the United States, Bhutan, Mongolia, Russian Federation, Nepal, and India, during which an Organising Committee along with Working Committees on agenda, membership, electoral process, projects, and funding, were formed.
During the upcoming 1st Founding Members Conclave, the provisional Governing Body will be dissolved and the Founding Members will elect the new Governing Body and Office Bearers of the IBC. The members will also decide on membership structure, IBC’s core projects and activities and corpus funding. Working sub-committees will be formed to address issues facing Buddhists in the modern world such as heritage, preservation of traditions and practices, equality issues, social engagement and the environment.