The 9th “International Conference on Art & Culture Network” in Thailand….

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Nakorn Pathom – Thailand –

The 9th “International Conference on Art & Culture Network” (ICAC) held at Nakhon Pathom Rajabhat University in Thailand on February 11 – 13. 2019 . This year held this conference under the topic of “Dvaravati: The Way of Life, the Way of Dhamma, Wisdom in the Creative Economy”, is due to the cooperation of the network of arts and culture departments in various universities throughout the country which aims to promote. The special invitees participated for this conference from selected countries and share their experience and ideas for promote international arts and culture. This was the stage for exchange of learning and develop knowledge about the international arts and culture.

Dr. Lye Ket Yong, the President, Middle East Meditation Center, Secretary General, World Alliance of Buddhists (WAB), Advisor, Pali University of Sihora, Nagpur, India as the keynote speaker for the 9th “International Conference on Art & Culture Network” delivered the special ideas under the topic of “Buddhism approach towards a sustainable Peaceful Society”. This is full keynote speech that he delivered at the conference.

“It gives me great pleasure and honor to present this keynote address on the special annual events of the 9th International Conference on Arts and Culture Network and International Forums with an auspicious theme Dvaravati: Local Ways with Dharma Ways Causing Wisdom to Creative Economy, for promoting World Peace. Indeed, Arts and Culture which commonly interacted with Religions plays an important role in the happiness and peaceful co-existence of society in each and every country. Thailand is a country with a rich history of traditions and culture, also known as the “Land of Smiles”. I am very happy and thankful to the Organizers and hosts namely, Thailand Universities Arts and Culture Network- which consisted of a consortium of 15 Universities nationwide, Nakhon Pathom Rajabhat University, in collaboration with the Government of Thailand for organizing and promoting this auspicious event with an objective of promoting and realizing World Peace.

Religions define Peace in different ways; A biblical concept of Peace is “to be complete” or “to be sound”, or in other word, is to be one with God. Most theist religions normally refer to Peace as a supreme fulfillment by the divine. Buddhism, however, look at peace differently. To quote from the Lord Buddha “Natthi Santi Param Sukhang in Pali, which means, there is greater happiness than peace”.
The UNESCO Constitution’s preamble declares that “since wars begin in the minds of men, it is in the minds of men that the defenses of Peace must be constructed.”

The Lord Buddha proclaimed “When the water is muddy, any creatures or even precious gems cannot be seen. When the water is clear, any creatures or precious gems can then be seen. Just like the human mind, when it is clouded, one cannot distinguish between good or bad. However, with a clear mind, one could easily tell good from bad.” “Sati and Samadhi” meaning Mindfulness and Concentration are two important tools in bringing about the clarity of the mind. To achieve “Sati and Samadhi”, one needs to practice Meditation which purifies the mind to brings about inner Peace and Happiness.

Peace and happiness are the core philosophy of Buddhism. The prime objective of Buddhism is to bring about the well-being and happiness of mankind as a whole (“bahujana-hitaya, bahujana-sukhaya” in Pali). For this purpose, the Lord Buddha preached the doctrine which is morally good in outset (“adi-kalyana”), morally good in body (“majjhe-kalyana”) and morally good in conclusion (“pariyosana-kalyana”). With the well-being and happiness of the mundane world in mind, ultimately Buddhism has focused to show the path of attaining higher peace or ultimate happiness (parama-sukha). The practical approach to achieving higher peace is based on one’s development on Generosity (Dana), Morality (Sila), Mindfulness and Concentration (Sati and Samadhi) and Wisdom (Panya). Morality (Sila) or good conduct is the foundation of the Buddhist ethics. Therefore, the combination of Generosity (Dana), Morality (Sila), Mindfulness and Concentration (Sati and Samadhi) together with Wisdom (Panya) brings forth Inner Peace and happiness. If each and every member practices Meditation to achieves their individual Inner Peace, practices Loving-kindness and has good ethics and morals, happiness in a society can be realized.

However, in order to have a sustainable tolerant and peaceful co-existence in Society, would require each and every member to be virtuous, kind, generous, considerate, responsible, discipline, tolerant, considerate and respectful. These virtues and positive values need to be ingrained by both mental realization and physical habits development. In order to cultivate these values, every member of Society must be trained to develop the good habits of “Universal Goodness” which comprises of “Cleanliness, tidiness, politeness, punctuality and mental concentration through Meditation”. These daily practices of Universal Goodness shall lead to the development of self-responsibility which will ultimately lead to empathy and many other characters of Peace.

The more a person is trained with their bodily, verbal and mental actions through Universal Goodness, the more a person will develop their character of peace. World Peace is therefore not too hard to achieve. The timeless teachings of the Lord Buddha must be practice in our daily life. Peace cannot be achieved with a single effort or dialogue. It is only when every person has achieved their inner peace, then only the world can be at peace. May all of you have a successful Conference, stay Meritorious, be well and happy. Thank you.

In conjunction with the 9th International Conference on Art & Culture Network held the special Holy Buddha’s Relics procession parade & Consecration Ceremony at Nakhon Pathom Rajabhat University premises on February 11, 2019.

Buddhika Sanjeewa
Photographs by Nakhon Pathom Rajabhat University and Pensiri Mahasutthikul (Noomnim)