The Forum participants, gathered in Russia, in the Republic of Buryatia, have spent these days in fruitful discussions and a joint search for answers to pressing issues of the development of Buddhism as a living spiritual tradition, along with discussions on the Buddhist education, culture, and spiritual heritage.
The modern world is undergoing serious upheavals, but this gives us the opportunity to appreciate even more the ideas on which Buddhism is based upon and on the basis of these ideas, to look for new ways to achieve agreement between individuals, various social groups, states, and peoples. Only our tranquil and enlighten consciousness, our purposeful actions, unity, and mutual understanding can make the world harmonious, and people's lives tranquil and happy.
We, the Forum participants, monks and laypeople, representatives of Buddhism and other religions and spiritual and philosophical teachings, government agencies and businesses, practitioners of the fields education and culture believe that:
- Respect for the history and heritage of the world culture, the preservation of their identity, love for their country, opposition to any form of hostility and violence are the most important parts of the moral education and improvement of every person;
- It is unacceptable to use religious, spiritual, and philosophical teachings as instruments of political confrontation, inciting enmity between people, causing moral, spiritual and physical harm to other people, realizing unwholesome and unvirtuous aspirations and ambitions, arrogating to oneself the right to speak on behalf of the entire Buddhist community. Our objective is to reduce any form of violence in the world;
- Buddhist organizations should play a positive role in governmental and community programs that focus at the developing of civic identity and social responsibility, supporting major service initiatives and interreligious associations;
- Buddhist wisdom in combination with the practices is an important factor of elimination of controversies and conflicts, rehabilitation of psychological and emotional trauma that focuses on searching for harmony of mind and body;
- We consider it extremely important to preserve traditional and develop new forms of Buddhist education, support initiatives to train Buddhist clergy at the world's leading universities, conduct educational courses, lectures and conferences, establish close ties between secular educational institutions and Buddhist training centers;
- To develop research into the medical and health wellbeing heritage of Buddhism, into the ways that regulate the state of the mind and of the body, to achieve a healthy state of each person and the whole society;
- Within modern trends it is necessary, to expand access to the information space of Buddhism, to encourage translation and digitization of Buddhist texts, to maintain high-quality information resources about Buddhism;
- Buddhism is called upon to play an important role in the formation of a special environmental consciousness of humans, to encourage protection of the animal world and the environment, and to counteract the unjustified exploitation of the natural resources of our planet.
- Buddhists and scholars to actively cooperate in the field of joint research projects on the invaluable contribution of Buddhism to world civilization, to encourage creation of new translations and commentaries on publications of the Buddhist masters, to expand research in the field of Buddhist philosophy and culture;
- representatives of government and business to provide all possible assistance in supporting the Buddhist communities and express our sincere gratitude to those who are already doing this with an open heart.
We support the creation of scientific and educational consortiums between universities, research centers, Buddhist organizations to study the rich heritage of Buddhism as one of the world's leading traditions.
We propose to create platforms for international Buddhist dialogue and to regularly hold similar Buddhist forums.
As a result of the Forum, we suggest:
- to create a permanent international working group for the preparation of the Forum and cooperation with the world's leading Buddhist centers;
- to develop a Consortium of Universities on Buddhist education, with the wider participation of both Russian and international universities;
- to start working on the creation of an international association for Buddhist studies and education to strengthen the community of Buddhists and researchers from different countries and to expand international scholarly, educational, and research cooperation;
- to begin preparations for the publication of a scientific journal in the field of Buddhist research and education with the inclusion of well-known international and Russian Buddhist scholars in the editorial board of the journal;
- to start developing a unified academic information platform and a system that would provide a general access to materials and books on Buddhism in libraries around the world.
These initiatives focus at promoting Buddhist studies and education in Russia and the world, expanding international scholarly, educational, spiritual, and philosophical cooperation along with the strengthening of interreligious harmony.
Participants of the International Buddhist Forum «Traditional Buddhism and Modern Challenges»,
Russian Federation, Republic of Buryatia, Ulan-Ude,
August 19, 2023.