Nakhonpathom Rajabhat University, Nakhonpathom,Thailand
in collaboration with
Network of Asian Theravada Bhikkhunis
South and Southeast Asian Association for the Study of Culture and Religion
1st ASEAN Buddhist Conference (ABC-1)
ASEAN Buddhists: Beyond 26th Buddhist Century
Nakhonpathom Rajabhat University Campus
September 22-23, 2016
Buddhism emanating from the Holy Land of Jambudvipa that is India extended its boundaries to several lands and seas in Asia. Its dense population is however in East Asia wherein the region falling under Southeast Asia has nurtured Buddha-Dharma since the First Millennium AD. This very location now primarily known as ASEAN is the most important area where Buddhism is the pervading culture unit. With several countries claiming their land to be Suvarnabhumi/Suvarnadvipa of ancient Sanskrit-Pali classical texts, it is but beyond doubt that this Bhumi of Golden Land encompassed exactly the today’s ASEAN region!
Buddhism being the fourth largest religion with the Mahayana representing 500 million, the Theravada 130 million and Vajrayana about 20 million, the 10 countries of the ASEAN holds about 150 million or 30% of the world’s Buddhist population. However, this peace loving group of Buddhists in ASEAN has many challenges in front of them.
The First ABC (ASEAN Buddhist Conference) aims at addressing these issues which are very central to Buddhism, its relativity and relevance in the contemporary world scenario while at the same time, safeguarding its Basics.
The organizing committee takes pride also to celebrate the completion of the 6th cycle of the Most Venerable Bhikkhuni Dhammananda (Asso.Prof.Dr Chatsumarn Kabilsingh) for two reasons. Not only she has been deep into academics as an associate professor of Buddhism at Thammasat University, Bangkok but also her pathbreaking contribution as a monastic practitioner has been exceptional. She has established a high academic standard in the field of Buddhism and women. Her contribution as a monastic practitioner has paved way for many Buddhist women enabling them to earn a respectful position in Theravadin society.
The conference aims
1.1 to build up network of ASEAN Buddhist academics
1.2 to support ASEAN Buddhists to work together among various Buddhist projects
1.3 to exchange and learn from each other how to propagate Buddhism in 26thBuddhist Century
1.4 to propose joint agreement on future development plan for ASEAN Buddhists
Paper proposals are being invited with serious scholarship from the researchers, teachers and independent thinkers on a significant topic related to ASEAN region and Buddhism. Paper acceptance would depend on the evaluation by expert team and peer review. Though, we would have a section of papers highlighting the parallel situation of Buddhism in non-ASEAN region as well, the main focus however would be on papers related to and meaningful to ASEAN Buddhism.
Following sub-themes are planned as a guide to your proposed paper presentation:
A. Buddhism and Women: Current Scenario
The future of Buddhism depends a lot on the women. Being mother, it is her primary role to nurture the young toddlers with the first awareness of Buddha, and thus bringing children up to be rightful Buddhists. Similarly, in Theravadin part of ASEAN, the plight of Bhikkhuni is different. Their socio-religious mobility, acceptance and accommodation in the psyche of the Sangha leaders is a big issue yet to be sorted out. The sub-theme would expect papers on such relevant topics.
B. Educating ourselves: Challenges in ASEAN Buddhism
ASEAN Buddhism is suffering from the absence of proper education. The goal of education is not only imparting human values but also to give the understanding of coexistence with malice towards none. The panel explores the measures required to set education in right order not only for the laity but also for the monastic order.
C. Mental Re-organisation through Buddhism
Siddhartha’s journey from a prince to “Buddha” was accompanied by a lot of obstacles. One of the biggest challenges was to overcome one’s instincts and have a stable and sound mind. This challenge in today’s chaotic contemporary world stands with wuthering heights. Buddhism seemed to have a foresight and therefore one of its key aspects addresses the very core of suffering-the distorted mind. Buddhism hence involves reorganisation of the psyche, movement from the distorted to the sorted mind. Papers highlighting Buddhism and its effects on human mind are most welcome.
D.ASEAN Society through the Buddhist Lens
Every philosophy or doctrine has its unique ways to look at the inter-links of the social cobweb. The Buddhism paradigm highlights a compassionate, instinct- free order of the world. Under this sub-theme Buddhist views of social construction can be discussed. Also how it projects a role model for a society which may be applicable to all geographical locations, countries, etc.
Addressing Nature and Environment the Buddhist Way
Individual though literally suggests separateness but one cannot truly exist without its environ. Buddhism understands the importance of this harmonious, holistic existence and thus holds a compassionate world view of the fellow beings, plants and animals. It highlights the inter-dependence of nature and people as synchronous to the relationship of a mother to her child. Papers helping in re-imagining our environ, creating awareness finding solution are most welcome.
Buddhist Heritage as reflected in Art Forms in ASEAN Region
Across world, Buddhism has encouraged creative forces as manifested in variety of art forms that we see today. Each creation like stupa, caitya or the anthropomorphic forms of Buddha narrating rich stories and heritage. Participants are invited to dig out insights hidden in such art forms in the ASEAN as they require care, scientific treatment and understanding of the essence of religiosity behind them. The safeguarding of such tangible heritage would further solidify the position of Buddhism not only in ASEAN region but also for the globe.
Papers on related topics falling outside the ASEAN region are also welcome.
Dates to remember:
May 15, 2016
June 30, 2016
Early Registration Fee for Local scholars
Baht 2000( late fee May 15, 2016: Baht 2500)
Early Registration Fee for Developing Countries
US$ 150 (late fee May 15, 2016: US$ 200)
Early Registration Fee for Developed Countries
US$ 250 (late fee May 15, 2016: US$ 300)
Buddhabhat Research Unit, Nakhonpathom Rajabhat University, Thailand
Buddhasavika Foundation, Nakhonpathom, Thailand
Network of Asian Theravada Bhikkhunis, Vietnam
South and South East Asian Association for the Study of Culture and Religion, India
Wat Songdhammakalyani , Muang District, Nakhonpathom, Thailand
Dr. Amarjiva Lochan, India