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World Needs to Learn From Buddha’s Message of Peace: President Alvi

August 7, 2023

ISLAMABAD: President Dr. Arif Alvi stated on Tuesday that the world and Pakistan must learn from the teachings of Gautama Buddha in order to foster tolerance in the current era of unrest and strife.

The president remarked during his speech to a three-day Gandhara symposium here: “In today’s world when hatred is on the increase and increasing polarisation fueling wars, it is important to rediscover the role of cultural diplomacy to encourage dialogue across civilisations.

He continued by saying that all religions promote harmony, integrity, and environmental preservation as the duty of mankind towards the planet.

The symposium’s goals were to examine Pakistan’s extensive Buddhist heritage and foster favourable conditions for Gandhara tourism.

“Gandhara tourism will have a positive impact on Pakistani society as well because people change after meeting each other and because the message of peace and seeking light from within as preached by Buddhism will influence the people of Pakistan too,” Dr. Alvi stated.

The Directorate of Archaeology and Museums, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, the Institute of Strategic Studies Islamabad (ISSI), and the Prime Minister’s Task Force on Gandhara Tourism are the sponsors of the symposium, “Cultural Diplomacy: Reviving Gandhara Civilization and Buddhist Heritage in Pakistan.”

The Quran was recited instead of the Buddhists’ religious recitation at the event’s beginning since it was required by procedure.

The symposium’s first day was attended by monks, academics, and historians from Sri Lanka, Nepal, Thailand, China, Malaysia, South Korea, and Vietnam.

In their remarks, Pakistani speakers praised Buddhism’s message of peace and tolerance and emphasised the crucial role the Gandhra civilization played in the development of Buddhism from Sri Lanka through Southeast Asia and all the way to Korea.

The transmission of the message of peace and intercultural cooperation was urged by Buddhist monks. Some of them recommended that Pakistan build a Buddhist temple near any remaining remnants of the Gandhara civilization.

The Venerable Mideung of Korea claimed that Buddhism came to Korea from Gandhara and that Gandhara civilization was a major influence on all Buddhist art and sculpture.

Since the middle of the 1980s, Korean teams have been essential to the excavation and restoration of Gandhara sites.

the most relevant Thailand’s World Buddhist University’s honorary rector, Anil Sakya, praised Pakistan for hosting the Buddhist symposium.

The Most Venerable Anil Sakya observed, “There is no senior monk in Pakistan, but the shadow of the monk is here, and Pakistan should be pleased to have the seat of fundamental knowledge, including sophisticated medical expertise.

“Ashoka the Great established the idea of cultural diplomacy, and soft power has proven to be more effective than the power of weapons,” he remarked.

A strategy to boost religious tourism in Pakistan, according to the chiefs of numerous Buddhist sects, was to maintain and develop Gandhara as a piece of Pakistani heritage, which would send a message of tolerance and respect for others.

According to ISSI Director General Sohail Mahmood, the Gandhara civilisation at the time functioned as a crucible for various cultures and civilisations.

Read More: Number of Practicing Buddhists in Pakistan Dwindling

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