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Cambodian Students Participated in International Dharma-Dhamma Conference, Rajgir

From right: Mr Hok Chheangkhey, Ven. Loch Sovanna, Ven. Hun Chanden, Ven. Pich Phanith and Ven. Soeurn Phearom, Rajgir, 28 July 2019.

Rajgir-UP: Two-Day International Conference on "Sat-Chit-Ananda & Nirvana in Dharma-Dhamma Tradition" was organised by Nalanda University, Rajgir in collaboration with India Foundation, New Delhi, at Rajgir International Convention Centre, on 27-28 July 2019.

250 scholars from 11 countries participated in this special conference. Five Cambodian students who study in India also presented in this great event.

This was the 5th international conference. According to the Hindustan Times, Indian President Ram Nath Kovind inaugurated the 4th international conference. Whilst this 5th international conference Bihar governor Laljii Tandon presided over the inauguration ceremony and Union Minister of State for Youth Affairs & Sports Kiren Rijiju was a chief guest.

Hindu Priest Swami Avdhesananda Giri was invited to deliver his benedictory speech.

Many delegates participated in the international conference as high as ministers, high profile scholars and researchers from different international universities in countries in Asia such as India, Bhutan, Nepal, Maldive, Mauritius, South Korea, China, Mongolia, Vietnam and Cambodia.

It is noted that Cambodian delegates were invited from Cambodia to participate in this conference but this time they were not invited. However, one Cambodian PhD candidate, Ven. Hun Chanden, from Allahabad University, was among distinguished guests and participants. He presented his paper at the conference.

Ven. Chanden is also a monk in charge of Kaushambikhemararam (Cambodian Temple in Kaushambi), some 50 km from Allahabad, UP.

Meanwhile, four Cambodian students who study at Nalanda University, Rajgir, also volunteered and participated in the event. It was an honour that they were invited to recite Pali text at the commencement of the international conference.

Dharm-Dhamma International Conference is a new initiative that is aimed to link Buddhism (Dhamma) and Hinduism (Dharma) in exploring "the shared values of the dharmic traditions, which provide the guiding light to the troubled world today".

As quoted in the Hindustan Times, NU VC Prof. Sunaina Singh expressed that

The event created an opportunity to share ideas, experience and build collaboration for a better world and well-being of mankind in India and the world, but also to hear the echo of the ancient Nalanda University.

 The International Conference on Dharma-Dhamma Transition is an important event held annually. It is an opportunity for students to get the shared knowledge and experience for a beautiful, compassionate life. Mr Hok Chheangkhy, M.A. student in Buddhist Philosophy at NU from Cambodia, who participated and volunteered in the conference, expressed his opinion that

This conference offered huge benefits for me as a student of philosophy because the speakers from different countries made their presentations regarding various ideas for spiritual cultivation for attaining blissfulness and happiness based on the philosophy of Buddhism, Hinduism, Jainism and other religions.

Nalanda was an ancient Buddhist university in India and one of the first universities in the world. It was a Buddhist learning centre which attracted many international scholars from Tibet, China, Japan, Korea, Persia and Turkey.

From 12th century C.E. Nalanda was abandoned and it was until 19 century C.E. that Archaeological Survey of India excavated the ancient site.

When it opened again in the 1950s, it is interesting to mention that three Cambodian prominent Buddhist monks, Maha Wa Yav (Ghosananda), Maha Am Suon and Maha Meas John, were among the first batch students. In the 1960s, there were other three Cambodian Buddhist monks joined Nalanda, namely, Bhikkhu Uk In, Bhikkhu Pen Sa-Oeun and Maha Sun Saream.

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