Two-Day International Conference on "Buddhism in Southeast Asia" to be Held in Phnom Penh - KNT Diary

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Friday, August 24, 2018

Two-Day International Conference on "Buddhism in Southeast Asia" to be Held in Phnom Penh


Preah Sihanouk Raja Buddhist University (SBU), Phnom Penh, in collaboration with Embassy of India in Phnom Penh will organise a two-day international conference on "Buddhism in Southeast Asia" in Phnom Penh Hotel, Phnom Penh, Cambodia, on 04-05 September B.E. 2562 / C.E. 2018.

Buddhism in Southeast Asia consists of a variety of traditions of Buddhism including two main traditions: Mahāyāna Buddhism and Theravāda Buddhism. Historically, Mahāyāna Buddhism had a prominent position in this region, but in modern times most countries follow the Theravāda tradition. 

Southeast Asian countries with a Theravāda Buddhist majority are Cambodia, Myanmar, Thailand, and Laos. Vietnam continues to have a Mahāyāna majority due to Chinese influence. However, Theravada Buddhism is growing there. Indonesia was Mahāyāna Buddhist since the time of the Sailendra and Srivijaya empires, but now Mahāyāna Buddhism in Indonesia is now largely practised by the Chinese diaspora, as in Singapore and Malaysia. Theravada Buddhism is also professed by a large number of indigenous Indonesians. Mahāyāna Buddhism is the predominant religion of most Chinese communities in Singapore. In Malaysia, Brunei, and Indonesia, it remains a strong minority. Both Theravada and Mahayana transitions were developed in India known as Southern and Northern traditions respectively.

The conference will witness the presence of many prominent scholars on Buddhism from Cambodia, India and other countries. Internationally, this conference is seen as an effort in bringing closer relations between India and Southeast Asian countries, particularly Cambodia through Buddhism. Locally, it is a cherished effort by the SBU under grand leadership of Most Venerable Dr Sovanratana and his colleagues to project the university image and especially to foster awareness among Cambodian Buddhist students and scholars about international Buddhism by interacting with prominent Buddhist scholars from different parts of the world.

The conference is no doubt a rare event of its kind to take place in Cambodia. Anyone who is interested in widening his/her scope of understanding Buddhism and its traditions practised by Southeast Asian people, its connection to India, and various issues of contemporary Buddhism should not miss this learning opportunity.

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