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Eleventh General Assembly of ABCP

The of the Eleventh General Assembly of the Asian Buddhist Asian Buddhist Conference for Peace (ABCP) was held on June 21-23, 2019 in Ulaanbaatar, the capital of Mongolia in the “Battsagaan” Grand Assembly Hall of Gandan Tegchenlin Monastery, the Centre of Mongolian Buddhists.

The General Assembly was attended by over 300 delegates, guests and observers from 13 national centres: Bangladesh, Cambodia, CTA, Dharamsala, Japan, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Republic of Korea, Laos, Mongolia, Nepal,. Russia, Sri Lanka and Vietnam,

General report at the General Assembly was delivered by the Most Ven. Khambo Lama Gabju D. Choijamts, President of ABCP on the present tasks facing ABCP and the way forward.

The ABCP in its 11th General Assembly adopted the “Ulaanbaatar Declaration” outlining the task facing Asian Buddhist Conference for Peace.

ABCP will strive to work for peace in Asia and in the world and for strengthening Buddhist culture and values. It will also confront with other global issues for which nine Standing Commissions were set up with separate countries given responsibility to run them. The Standing Commissions are:

  • ‘Buddhist Traditions, Culture and Heritage’, with its centre in Mongolia,
  • ‘Promotion of Buddhist Ethics and Unity, with its centre in Dharamsala, India,
  • ‘Human Rights" with its centre in Bangladesh,
  • ‘Sustainable Development Goals’ with its centre in India,
  • ‘Peace, Disarmament and Conflict Avoidance’ with its centre in Japan,
  • ‘Inter Faith Harmony’ with its centre in Russia,
  • ‘Women and Gender Equality’ with its centre in Sri Lanka,
  • ‘Children and Youth’ with its centre in Sri Lanka and Vietnam, and,
  • ‘Environment, Climate Change and Nature Conservation’ with its centre in Vietnam.

H.E. Mr. Khaltmaagiin Battulag, President of Mongolia, attended the inauguration of the 11th General Assembly of ABCP and delivered a message, wherein he emphasised that "Mongolia has always supported the Asian Buddhist Conference for Peace, and it has been seen as valuable contribution of Mongolians not only to ensuring peace throughout the world but to maintaining its values which are still valid to this day."

Singling out the role of ABCP, the Mongolian President said, "The Asian Buddhist Conference for Peace is one of the few religious organisations registered with the UN with an advisory status. I hope that the tangible initiatives for Peace will set an example for international religious representatives not only in Asia but in the world to become the foundation for nuclear disarmament and vision for a peaceful future."

The Mongolian President continued "Mongolia is a peace-loving nation and Buddhism has been the traditional religion of the Mongolian people. Since the Great Mongolian state – the Hunnu Empire – Buddhism has spread three times in Mongolia, protecting the Mongolian nation from foreign aggression and creating the conditions for inner unity and national sovereignty. International scholars unanimously support this historical conclusion. At a certain stage of its development, Mongolian Buddhism experienced immense suffering, and we lost a great number of human lives due to political repression. This bitter experience must not be forgotten, nor ever be repeated again. The Government of Mongolia and its highest legislative organ, the Parliament, welcomes the initiative of making Vesak, the 15th day of the first month of summer of the lunar calendar, an official public holiday. The Mongolian people, taking example from other Asian countries, are delighted to celebrate a day for cherishing ethics together – a day to respect our history and ancestors, to reflect and purify our achievements and shortcomings through our cognizance of virtue and sin, and to progressively practice our compassionate love for all living beings," and concluded by emphasising that the "active participation and wealth of knowledge by the distinguished Buddhists and followers of faith are crucial for running the state affairs and cherishing the state and civilian harmony that originated from the times of Great Chinggis Khaan."

The 11th General Assembly and the 50th anniversary celebrations of ABCP was also graced by Ambassador Inda Rhonda King, President of the UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC).

ECOSOC President, Ambassador Inga Rhonda King, addressing the inauguration of the 11th General Assembly and 50th Anniversary of ABCP said, "Faith-based organisations have an important role to play in promoting durable peace and sustainable development. The UN General Assembly has acknowledged the active engagement of the United Nations system with faith-based and cultural organisations in the promotion of interreligious and intercultural dialogue and in bringing together people of different cultures, religions, faiths or beliefs to discuss common issues and objectives. The Assembly, in resolution 73/129, also invited “Member States to further promote reconciliation to help to ensure durable peace and sustained development, including by working with faith leaders and communities and through reconciliatory measures and acts of service and by encouraging forgiveness and compassion among individuals.

"This is because the values of faith-based organisations are closely aligned with those that are embedded in the sustainable development goals of ending extreme poverty and hunger, promoting gender equality and peaceful societies and protecting the environment. Many of your organizations have already been in the trenches working with Governments, other Non-Governmental Organisations, foundations and community-based organisations in providing access to health, education and other social services, particularly in rural areas.

"As we approach 2020, it must be a decade of delivery for the poorest and the most vulnerable. I count you to continue to support the efforts of the United Nations to reach the furthest behind first," concluded the ECOSOC President.

Messages of greetings from Heads of states and political leaders as well as from peace, public and religious international organisations including a video message from His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama was shown. Heads of several diplomatic missions stationed in Ulaanbaatar and heads of different religious faith also attended and spoke at the inauguration ceremony.

His Holiness the Fourteenth Dalai Lama, in hi written message to the 11th ABCP General Assembly, outlining the ultimate purpose of Buddhism, noted that "The purpose is to serve and benefit humanity... The Buddha gave us an example of contentment and tolerance, through serving other selfishly. His teaching is essentially to help other if you can and if you cannot, at least to refrain from harming them. Part of Buddhist practice involved transforming our minds," and concluded by wishing ABCP success by noting "I offer my greetings to both organisers and participants, as well as my sincere prayers that your conference may be successful in contributing to the creation of a happier and more peaceful world."

His Holiness the Fourteenth Dalai Lama, in hi written message to the 11th ABCP General Assembly, outlining the ultimate purpose of Buddhism, noted that "The purpose is to serve and benefit humanity... The Buddha gave us an example of contentment and tolerance, through serving other selfishly. His teaching is essentially to help other if you can and if you cannot, at least to refrain from harming them. Part of Buddhist practice involved transforming our minds," and concluded by wishing ABCP success by noting "I offer my greetings to both organisers and participants, as well as my sincere prayers that your conference may be successful in contributing to the creation of a happier and more peaceful world."

Another important feature of the 11th General Assembly was the Academic conference under the banner of ABCP“BUDDHIST HERITAGE AND VALUES IN THE 21ST CENTURY” – an International Conference Programme. The academic session was co-chaired by Dr. M. Bataa and attended by many distinguished scholars and academicians, diplomats who presented their papers. H.E. Mr. M.P. Singh, Ambassador of India to Mongolia also presented a paper.

The 11th GA also approved names of several eminent Buddhist monks as its Patron. They include: His Holiness the Fourteenth Dalai Lama, HH Samdech Tep Vong (Cambodia), HH Suddhananda Mahathero (Bangladesh), His Eminence Thich Thien Nhon (Vietnam), and Most Ven. Mahinda Sangharakhita Mahathero (Sri Lanka).

The 11th General Assembly of ABCP also elected new office bearers. H.E. Most Ven. Khambo Lama Gabju D. Choijamts (Mongolia) was unanimously elected the ABCP President. Three Vice-Presidents of ABCP were also elected. They are Most Ven. Damba Ayusheev (Russia), Most Ven. Geshe Jangchub Choedon (India) and Most Ven. Dr. Thich Duc Thein (Vietnam). Most Ven. Kh. Byambajav from Mongolia was elected as the ABCP Secretary General while Most Ven. Khy Suvanaratnana (Cambodia) and Mr. Sonam Wangchuk (India) were elected unanimously as Deputy Secretary General.

The 11th General Assembly decided that the 12th General Assembly will be held in New Delhi in 2022.

vice-president2

May the Triple Gem bless all and May peace and justice be prevail in the world!

Remarks By President Khaltmaagiin Battulga At The 11th General Assembly Of The Asian Buddhist Conference For Peace

“Distinguished delegates of the 11th General Assembly of the Asian Buddhist Conference for Peace,
Honorable guests and lamas,

Today marks the 50th anniversary of the Asian Buddhist Conference for Peace, first convened under the aspiration and solidarity of Asian countries to uphold their heritage through spreading Buddhism and the teachings of Buddha and valuing knowledge and compassion in ensuring peace – the essence of human existence. The decision to establish the Asian Buddhist Conference for Peace was made on July 14, 1969. Historical records show that the first meeting was held in Ulaanbaatar, capital of Mongolia, in 1970. Nomch mergen Kabju, Khamba /Highest ordained head monk/ Samaagiin Gombojav, citizen of Mongolia, was elected as its first President and served for over 20 years.

Mongolia has always supported the Asian Buddhist Conference for Peace, and it has been seen as valuable contribution of Mongolians not only to ensuring peace throughout the world but to maintaining its values which are still valid to this day. Since 1970, the Asian Buddhist Conference for Peace has convened 10 times in different countries, including Sri Lanka in 1972, India in 1974, Japan in 1976, Laos in 1986 and 2003 as well as Mongolia in 1979, 1982, 1990 and 1998. It is worth recalling that this declaration of unified compassion has achieved the audience of the entire world.

Guided by the teachings of the compassionate Buddha, during the difficult times of Cold War, the Asian Buddhist Conference for Peace made its voice heard not only in Asia but throughout the whole world. Moreover, it has presented new opportunities in cultural, educational and economic long term cooperation where human rights, freedom, and unity are upheld. Therefore, the Conference was registered as an observer to the UN’s Economic and Social Council in 1988 in recognition of its contribution to the well-being of humanity through its actions for peace.

The Asian Buddhist Conference for Peace is one of the few religious organizations registered with the UN with an advisory status. I hope that the tangible initiatives for Peace will be setting an example for international religious representatives not only in Asia but in the world to become the foundation for nuclear disarmament and vision for a peaceful future.

As Buddhists, we should expand our actions for peace and work together with religious and non-religious organizations, so that we will be able to live in a peaceful world without the threat of nuclear war and conflict.

Mongolia is a peace-loving nation and Buddhism has been the traditional religion of the Mongolian people. Since the Great Mongolian state–the Hunnu Empire–Buddhism has spread three times in Mongolia, protecting the Mongolian nation from foreign aggression and created the conditions for inner unity and national sovereignty. International scholars unanimously support this historical conclusion. At a certain stage of its development, Mongolian Buddhism experienced immense suffering, and we lost a great number of human lives due to political repression. This bitter experience must not be forgotten, nor ever be repeated again. The Government of Mongolia and its highest legislative organ, the Parliament, welcomes the initiative of making Vesak, the 15th day of the first month of summer of the lunar calendar, an official public holiday. The Mongolian people, taking from other Asian countries, are delighted to celebrate a day for cherishing ethics together – a day to respect our history and ancestors, to reflect and purify our achievements and shortcomings through our cognizance of virtue and sin, and to progressively practice our compassionate love for all living beings.

I would like to emphasize that active participation and wealth of knowledge by you, distinguished Buddhists and followers of faith, are crucial for running the state affairs and cherishing the state and civilian harmony that originated from the times of Great Chinggis Khaan.

I would like to wish success to the all participants of the 11th General Assembly of the Asian Buddhist Conference for Peace, and Congratulations once again on the occasion of the 50th anniversary our efforts for peace.

May Mongolia, the birthplace of the Asian Buddhist Conference for Peace, prosper and progress.”