th en Mahachulalongkornrajavidyalay University
Summary Report on each panels
For those who really want to know more about summaries on each panels, here are the summary report which Cheif Moderators have presented at UNCC at 25th of May 2010.

1. Summary Report Global Recovery through Buddhist Ecology


This panel brings together thirteen speakers from countries including India, Indonesia, Korea, Thailand, Vietnam, the UK and Australia. Each presenter discusses a different aspect of the theme, Global recovery through Buddhist ecology. Ecology refers to the study of relationships between different species in the natural world. But it also includes humans, for two reasons. The first is that the impact of humans on our natural world is enormous so massive that some scholars now think humans are a geological force like earthquakes, volcanoes and typhoons. The most obvious manifestation of this is that humans are changing the whole global climate, accelerating sea level rise and threatening food production in some areas.

The second reason ecology is relevant to humans is that our species depends on the resources of the natural world. We all know that we need to eat food and that food is grown in the environment. But we also need fresh water, and we benefit from clean air and the ability to experience a more natural environment, whether as seeing a garden, hearing birds in the street or walking through a forest or along an unpolluted, uninhabited beach. Fresh air and water are to an extent enabled by undamaged nature. For example, the air in a forest is much nicer than the air in Bangkok. If traffic in Bangkok could be made less polluting then health and happiness would improve.

The impact of humans on this natural world is so enormous that we are eroding our own well-being. Enormous, but not irreversible. It is vital that we recognise this so we can slow the rate of destruction. Ecology is relevant to Buddhists for two reasons. First, Buddhists recognise that other beings have consciousness and experience suffering. Surely Buddhists should do what they can to reduce the suffering of our fellow creatures, for example by opposing the unnecessary clearing of forests which are the home of birds and other animals. Ecology is also relevant to Buddhists because we want to reduce the suffering of other human beings. If Buddhists can recognise that humanitys rampant conversion of nature for things such as paper, palm oil and the building of cities must be slowed, then this will be of great benefit not to just to other Buddhists but to all people, including generations yet to be born. Of course, humans cannot live on the Earth without doing some harm, but there are ways to reduce that harm. While there is no Buddhist ecology, it is important that the Buddhist world develops a greater understanding of our relatin to and impact upon the natural world.

Speakers at this conference will discuss these ideas, including climate change, forest destruction, global population size, the challenge for business and the importance of reducing our consumption of meat and fish.

2. Summary Report Buddhist Education


Since entire world community has been facing some unprecedented crisis in economy, politics, religious and ethnic conflicts, territorial dispute, man made calamities, global warming, poverty and decease etc. the Buddhist world seriously concern above situation in worldwide, and searching an urgent and effective road map in order to over come the sufferings of humanity.

It has recorded in Buddhist doctrine that the peace must create one's own mind and then it is possible to disseminate through out the world. As same to sustain world recovery each and every human being must educate and make aware the root causes and results of ones own action and reward. For example to create peace one must avoid violence and develop non-violence ones own mind then in family, village, community and through out the world could be developed. Therefore, such gradual development must begin from grass root level. Then education plays an incomparable role to create a peaceful human society. Therefore, our deep intention is that the leading scholars who contribute to the panel on Global Recovery through Buddhist Education will suggest answers to the following questions:

(a) What are the root causes to arise Global Crisis?

(b) What are the suggestions in Buddhist Education to bring Global Recovery?

(c) Proposed a road map to over come human sufferings

(d) An appeal to world community to sustain Global Recovery etc.



3. Summary Report on Engaged Buddhism


This panel discusses principles that are as old as the dogma that we hold so dearly. We have numerous citations of the Buddha or the dhammas engagement into worldly principles, or its effectiveness to eliminate problematic scenarios. Four papers in our session cover Ambedkar Buddhists clearly, a positive phenomena and proof of how engagement into Buddhism correlates to recovery from a crisis situation. From the lowest despair, these Buddhists have risen to become a powerful force in Global Buddhism. Other papers relate to various socially-engaged Buddhists in Thailand offering great perspectives on various important-personalities.

Another paper illuminates the volunteer work done by students in an educational-program; a paper expresses how Buddhism has influenced medical care; earthquake relief; an art studio; the engaged-Buddhist political philosophy of a national leader, and the political philosophy derived from textual sources. More papers discuss happiness, inner freedom; and other aspects of what some determine to be engaged Buddhism since there is no firm consensus, our authors contribute.
During the panel sessions 13 presentations were given. The following subjects were predominant:
Engaged Buddhism in the context of Thai tradition
New Buddhism in India
Practical application of engaged Buddhism

There were several papers on subjects relating to engaged Buddhism within the Thai tradition. They highlighted the need for socially engaged activities in various fields. Among the more theoretically oriented themes was the relationship between monastic vinaya and social activism. The consensus, however was that the Sangha should be more open to social activities.

New Buddhism, its difficulties, problems and need for support came out very clearly in a number of papers. It was clear that still there was not sufficient awareness among the Buddhists at large about the significant growth of new Buddhism in India. The papers highlighted the need for kalyana-mittas and the development of networks of support from the rest of the Buddhist world.

The practical application of engaged Buddhism by many Buddhist activists was emphasized. While the assembly was appreciative of many examples of renewed Buddhist activities, the perception was that there was more to be done. The hardships and difficulties faced by some Buddhist societies were noted and it was agreed that the Buddhists at large need to be supportive of such groups in particular.

The essence of the entire panel was that social activism of Buddhists, is very much within the purview of Buddhist religious practice. It was highlighted that socially engaged Buddhism is not mere activism of Buddhists but the activities guided by the Dharma. The overwhelming consensus of the panel was that socially engaged Buddhism is the face of future Buddhism.

4. Summaries on Global Recovery through Harmonious Coexistence


Introductory Statement
Never has the need for harmonious coexistence been more urgent. Today the world seems to be battered by one crisis after another, be it economic, financial, political, environmental, or health-related. It would be optimistic to assume that there is a simple solution to such crises, and that they can be permanently averted through science, technology, social revolutions, political ideologies, or even religion. Instead, it seems it is the nature of the world to exist in a state of semi-permanent crisis, and rather than disappear the crises simply mutate and flow on in a never-ending stream.

A very real danger is that any crisis can be made worse by giving rise to social division and dissent through suspicion, blaming, aggression, hostility and even war. According to Buddhist teachings this is not inevitable, and with its deep insight into psychology and motivation Buddhism can help develop strategies for managing the human dimension of global problems and repairing fractured societies. A generic response through psychology, however, may not be enough by itself, and since every crisis is different the specific local context needs to be fully understood before a remedy can be prescribed.

We need to understand the dynamics of interaction across social categoriesfor example, between minority and majority groupsand explore the boundaries and limitations of social markers such as religion, race, ethnicity, family, gender and class, and the tension and conflicts which such divisions can create. The papers presented in the panel on Global Recovery through Harmonious Coexistence explored these matters by considering a combination of broadly-based strategies as well as specific case-studies of situations where conflict has been transformed into harmonious coexistence.

Our panel explored two aspects of harmonious coexistence. The first was conceptual and involved looking at models and ideals of harmonious coexistence. Here we heard about the concept of peace in Buddhism and Gandhian thought, the history of coexistence between the schools and sects of Japanese Buddhism and the insights into interdependency in Mahayana philosophy, the Buddhist concept of happiness, and the contribution to peace that can be made by religion.

On the practical side we learned how clear and compassionate speech can dispel the enemy image, practical suggestions for improving racial, religious and inter-ethnic relations in the USA, and how the tools of conflict management were used to solve a specific conflict over water resources in the Mae Ta Chang basin in Thailand.

The number of presentations in our panel was slightly reduced due to the absence of a few speakers but in spite of this we felt our panel was able to make a constructive contribution to the theme of the seventh United Nations Day of Vesak Celebrations on the theme of Global Recovery: the Buddhist Perspective.

Further comments
To offer a few more specific comments on topics which emerged in our discussions I would like to highlight the following contributions because they offer practical steps towards harmonious coexistence: Non-violent Communication using clear and compassionate Speech to dispel the Enemy Image (Dr Deborah Bowman)
Combine wisdom of Buddhism as the oldest science of mind with modern psychological tools
3 standard responses to threat from others:
o Fight
o Flight
o Freeze
Learn to see this as behavior not as a negative reaction but something we can understand and have compassion for
People often try to say what they need by saying what they dont like, so:
Respond to it with the following practical steps:
o Connect to others (rather than disconnect)
o Open ourselves up, let go of expectations as to what might happen (rest in the moment)
o Make clear observations to the other person: give feedback and mirror their feelings until a clear request comes and they empty their cup and state clearly what they need from us

Buddhist and Gandhian concept of peace (Asha Nimali Fernando)
Gandhi a close neighbour
Buddha sketched out a vision of a humanitarian society, but was not an activist
Buddhist tradition hasnt put flesh on the bones, and hasnt evolved Gandhi-like political tactics or spoken to the oppressed in practical terms
Does Buddhism need Gandhi, and why does it need to look to another religion
Gandhis 3-fold model of peace: Spiritual/Social/Political
Dhamma includes justice. In Gandhi, more attention to social and economic justice, rights, freedom, independence, democracy, law

Religious and Inter-ethnic relations in USA (Jonathan Lee)
Immigrant Asian groups being perpetual foreigners leading to temple vandalism etc
7 Practical Recommendations for Bringing strangers together
1. Regular Open House
2. Participate in local civic festivals
3. Give back to the local community
4. Hold educational workshops on Buddhism
5. Temper the impulse to make accusations of racism
6. Make compromises for a win-win outcome as opposed to a win-lose outcome
7. Promote educational programmes for young people

Solving a water war in Changmai (Ven Dr Hansa Dhammahaso)
Patterns of Conflict Management
o Dissolution of ego (disappearance of selfishness)
o Acknowledgement of diversity
o Respect for others life and resources
o Participation
o Interdependence
o Sharing
Methods of Conflict Management
o Negotiation
o Mediation
o Creation of participation process


5. Summary Report Mental Well-being

Buddhism, is often, the subject of the minds, working on the mind a favorite topic for scholars to teach. Some authors too the term: well-being, and assumed it was referring to medical or mental health issues, and wrote pertaining to this interesting topic; however many authors should learn more about the medical-neuro-sciences, because now, just echoing abhidhammic material is not enough to explain in the modern era. There is a lot of deep reading material in this session contemplating the higher offerings will benefit Buddhist studies for years.

Core Ideas
Mental imbalances and illnesses are more affected by the mind than the external physique; thus, suffering can be controlled by the mind.
Mental imbalance leads to decline in both physical and mental health.
That awareness of factors that cause suffering will moderate and exterminate suffering.
Anger, fear, hatred, envy, delusions, and excessive desires are the root cause of all suffering and mental imbalances.
Mental well-being can only be achieved by complimenting understanding with practice.
That practicing the five precepts, observing morality and upholding truth, virtue, and love will promote better well-being.
That thoughts is followed by emotions, and falling for automated thoughts without evaluation practice enslaves human beings and society to impertinence thoughts and negative thoughts
That suffering is a cycle that can be broken only by mental practice to minimize the sense of needs.

Suggestions
Constant practices of Samadhi and Samma-Samadhi
Buddhist Chanting and music of the same tone in order to spread the benefits to children
Practicing self-evaluation and self-awareness
Communication and community sharing of Buddhist mental cognition
Practice of Buddhist mental cognition, which includes awareness and analysis
Acceptance of dukkha and an impermanent state
Living in harmony with nature and becoming aware of needs
Avoiding anger, delusion, and needs
Follow the Five Precepts and the Eight Folded Path
Promoting the concept of letting go
Promoting sense of interconnectivity
Promoting metta



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