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Modi proposes creation of repository of all traditional Buddhist literature and scriptures
New Delhi, December 21, 2020
Prime Minister Narendra Modi today proposed the creation of a library of all the traditional Buddhist literature and scriptures and offered to set up such a facility in India with appropriate resources.
The library will collect digital copies of Buddhist literature from various countries. It will aim to translate the works and make them freely available for all monks and scholars of Buddhism, the Prime Minister said in his address at the Sixth Indo-Japan Samwad Conference.
“The library will not only be a depository of literature, but It will also be a platform for research and dialogue - a true 'Samwad' between human beings, between societies and between man and nature. Its research mandate will also include examining how Buddha's message can guide the world against contemporary challenges. Challenges like poverty, racism, extremism, gender discrimination, climate change and many others,” he added.
“Five years ago, we began this series of conferences with former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. Since then, Samwad has travelled from New Delhi to Tokyo, from Yangon to Ulaanbaatar. In this journey, it has remained true to its fundamental objectives: to encourage dialogue and debate; to highlight our shared values of democracy, humanism, Ahimsa, freedom and tolerance; and, to carry forward our ancient tradition of spiritual and scholarly exchanges,” he said.
Noting that the essence of Samwad was togetherness, he said this was the time “to draw upon our ancient values and prepare for the times to come. We must keep humanism at the core of our policies. We must make harmonious co-existence with nature as the central pillar of our existence. Samwad, a dialogue with ourselves, with fellow human beings, and with nature can light our way on this path.”
"This forum has done great work to ensure promote the ideas and ideals of Lord Buddha, especially among the youth. Historically, the light of Buddha's message spread out from India to many parts of the world. However, this light did not remain static. In each new place it reached, Buddhist thought continued to evolve further over the centuries. Because of this, great treasures of Buddhist literature and philosophy can be found in many different monasteries today, across many different countries and languages. This body of writing is a treasure of humankind as a whole and he expressed his desire to preserve it in a repository such as a library," he said.
Referring to the scourge of wars and conflicts across the world, he said collaboration rather than confrontation was the way forward for peace.
“Hostility will never achieve peace. In the past, humanity took the path of confrontation instead of collaboration. From Imperialism to the world wars. From the arms race to the space race. We had dialogues but they were aimed at pulling others down. Now, let us rise together.
“Lord Buddha's teachings command the strength to turn the discourse from enmity to empowerment. His teachings make us large-hearted. They tell us: learn from the past and work towards a better future. This is the best service we can do for our future generations,” he added.
Referring to this visit to Sarnath three weeks ago, he said this was where Lord Buddha gave his first sermon after attaining enlightenment. This light emerged from Sarnath spread across the world embracing the values of Compassion, nobility and above all, the good of the entire humanity. And gently, peacefully, it changed the course of world history.
“It was in Sarnath that Lord Buddha spoke in detail about his ideal of Dhamma. Dhamma for him was more than prayer and rituals. At the Centre of Dhamma are humans, and their relation with fellow humans. Thus, it is most important to be a positive force in the lives of others. Samwad should be one that will spread this spirit of positivity, unity and compassion across our planet. That too at a time when we need it the most,” he said.
“This is the first Samwad of a new decade. It is happening at a critical moment of human history. Our actions today will shape the discourse in the coming times. This decade and beyond will belong to those societies that place a premium on learning and innovating together. It will be about nurturing bright young minds who will add value to humanity in the times to come. Learning should be such that furthers innovation. After all, innovation is the cornerstone to human empowerment.
“Societies that are open-minded, democratic and transparent are better suited to innovate. Therefore, now is the time, more than ever before, to change the paradigm on what we see as growth. Discussions on global growth cannot happen only between a few. The table must be bigger. The agenda must be broader. Growth patterns must follow a human-centric approach and be in harmony with our surroundings,” he added.