PM graces opening ceremony of Vajrayana conference in Zhichenkhar

The three-day conference will end today

Prime Minister Dr Lotay Tshering graced the opening ceremony of the 3rd International Conference on Vajrayāna Buddhism at Zhichenkhar in Langjopakha Thursday evening.

Addressing the three-day conference organized by the Centre for Bhutan Studies & GNH and the Central Monastic Body of Bhutan, Lyonchhen welcomed the participants from over 23 countries and wished them a spiritually enriching conference.

“Over the years as I embraced the profession of a medical practitioner, my comprehension of the religion narrowed to one aspect – of being motivated by compassion in everything I do. Today, at the helm of governance, this is the same principle that I apply,” Lyonchhen said.

Lyonchhen shared that for an ordinary Bhutanese, life is defined by the ambience of spirituality and that he has no authority to speak on Vajrayāna Buddhism.

Highlighting that compassion for him is religion, Lyonchhen explained that serving a King, who is an embodiment of compassion for him is religion.

Meanwhile, the inaugural ceremony of the conference was attended by the Cabinet Ministers, Members of Parliament, senior public officials, international and national participants.

Themed “Techniques in Vajrayana Buddhism”, this year’s conference brought together scholars from around the world to discuss and deliberate on Vajrayāna Buddhism and explore the diverse ways in which the techniques of Vajrayāna Buddhism can be adapted and made relevant to a modern, transcultural, scientifically driven, and environmentally challenged world.

According to the Centre for Bhutan Studies & GNH, the conference will specifically seek to identify the characteristics of Vajrayāna Buddhism that distinguish it from other modes of Buddhist practice. Papers have specifically invited that address the ways in which Vajrayāna’s deeply embodied forms of self-cultivation, ranging from visualization practices to strenuous physical yoga, activate dormant capacities of mind and body towards more altruistic modes of awareness and well-being. Meanwhile, Vajrayāna Buddhism is often referred to as the ‘Path of Skillful Methods’ in reference to its diversity of means for realizing enlightenment in a single lifetime and Bhutan is reportedly the only country in the world where Vajrayāna tradition has been flourishing since its inception in the middle of the eight century.

Yenten Thinley from Thimphu