MBU-ATBU International Conference 2010

Ven. Sugandha

Mahamakut Buddhist University International Conference 2010: Dissemination of Theravada Buddhism in the 21st Century

Convened as a part of the 117th Anniversary of Mahamakut Buddhist University and the 97th Birthday of His Holiness Somdet Phra Nyanasamvara, Supreme Patriarch of Thailand and President of Mahamakut Buddhist University Council

30 September-1 October 2010
Mahamakut Buddhist University,
Salaya, Nakhon Pathom

Organized by
Mahamakut Buddhist University

In co-operation with
Association of Theravada Buddhist Universities

1. Background

On the first of October 2010, the Mahamakut Buddhist University, the first Buddhist University of Thailand is celebrating the 117th anniversary of its foundation and the 97th Birthday of His Holiness Somdet Phra Nyanasamvara, Supreme Patriarch of Thailand and President of Mahamakut Buddhist University Council. The university was founded by His Majesty King Rama V and Prince Patriarch Somdet Phra Maha Samanchao Kromphraya Vajiranyanavarorasa with the objectives of promoting and supporting Theravada Buddhist education and its dissemination both in Thailand and abroad. Theravada Buddhism is the oldest form of Buddhism surviving in the world today. It began to be disseminated from India by the Emperor Asoka in the 3rd century BCE, and over the centuries has become fundamental to Asian civilization and travelled to every part of the world. The globalization which has resulted from the power of modern technology has contributed even further to the rapid spread of all forms of Buddhism, so that Buddhist principles have influenced almost every field of modern endeavour, from education to the entertainment industry.
Nevertheless, it is noticeable that the influence of Theravada Buddhism, which on the global scale seemed for a while to predominate over that of other forms of Buddhism, has recently been somewhat eclipsed by the resurgence and popularization of Mahayana and Vajrayana Buddhism. This has made scholars question the methods by which Theravada is being disseminated, and seek reasons for its comparative lack of success. When they arrive abroad, Theravada missionaries from Sri Lanka, Myanmar and Thailand set up temples and monasteries which become cultural centres and provide religious services for the diaspora populations from their own countries, rather than aiming their efforts at the local populations of the host countries. The modern world has been described as a “world without frontiers”, but how true is this? It is therefore appropriate that to celebrate its anniversary Mahamakut Buddhist University should organize an international conference on ‘The Dissemination of Theravada Buddhism in the 21st Century’, in order to discuss the problems that Theravada Buddhism faces and the obstacles to its successful propagation in the contemporary world.”

2. Objectives

1. to celebrate the auspicious 117th anniversary of the MBU, the first Buddhist University of Thailand
2. to create an international research network on the subject of dissemination of Theravada Buddhism
3. to create and disseminate the knowledge derived from new research work on Theravada Buddhism by international researchers and direct experiential knowledge from the Dhammaduta monk in situ.
4. to promote and strengthen MBU and Thailand in leading the dissemination of Theravada Buddhism in the world in the 21st century.

3. Responsible organisation

Mahamakut Buddhist University in co-operation with the Association of Theravada Buddhist Universities (ATBU)

4. Participants

Lecturers, academicians, members of ATBU, Dhammadutas, students both from Thailand and abroad numbering 300 people in total.

5. Expected Result

This will be able to understand the condition of dissemination of Theravada Buddhism in the world. It brings the creation, dissemination and exchange of knowledge among international scholars which leads to the holistic development of dissemination of Buddhism. This will develop academic network in the field of dissemination of Buddhism at the international level.

6. The programme

Wednesday, 29 September 2010 Venue: MBU, Shrine Hall
All day Arrival of national and international academicians and participants
Check in into designated hotel around Salaya
17:00-18:00 A Tour of New Mahamakut Buddhist University
Welcome Reception

Thursday, 30 September 2010 Venue: Sujib Punnyanubhap Conference Hall, MBU
08:00-09:00 Registration
A briefing to His Holiness Somdet Phra Wanarat, member of the Sangha Supreme Council of Thailand, Acting Head of the Dhammayuttika Order, Advisor of the Training Institute For Dhammaduta Bhikkhus Going Abroad and Vice-President of Mahamakut Buddhist University Council
Ven. Rector, Mahamakut Buddhist University
Opening Address
HH Somdet Phra Wanarat
09:30-10:00 Video Presentation: 117 years of the Mahamakut Buddhist University
Welcome Address
the Most Ven. Phra Theppariyattivimol, Rector of MBU
10:00-11:00 Keynote Speech:
Dissemination of Theravada Buddhism in the 21st Century
Prof. Richard Gombrich, Oxford University, UK
11:00-11.15 Group Photo
11:15-12:00 Lunch break
13:00-14:00 Buddhist Mission in the UK schools
Ven. Sumana, International College of Buddhist Studies, UK
14:00-15:00 Role of Multimedia in Dissemination of Buddhism
Dr. Titus Leber, an independent writer and director of films
15:00-15:30 Coffee break
15:30-16:30 Dissemination of Buddhism and Islam
Dr. Dion Oliver Peoples, Mahachulalongkornrajavidyalaya University
15:30-18:00 General Meeting and Workshop for ATBU member universities
19:00 Dinner

Friday, 1 October 2010 Venue: Sujib Punnyanubhap Conference Hall, MBU
09:00-10:00 Renaissance of Theravada Buddhism in Nepal: Prospect and Problem
Dr. Keshab Shakya, Former Vice-Chair Lumbini Development Trust
10:00-11:00 Attending religious ceremony of celebrating the 117 Years of establishment of the MBU
11:00-12:00 Lunch break
13:00-14:00 Christian Reflection on Buddhist Mission
Dr. Gregory Sharkey SJ.,
14:00-15:00 Thai Dhammaduta in the world
Ven. Dr. Phra Khru Thirasarnpariyatikhun, MBU
15:00-15:30 Coffee break
15:30-17:00 Panel Discussion
Dissemination of Theravada Buddhism in the 21st Century
Ven. Ashin Nyanissara, Myanmar
Ven. Dr. Khammai Dhammasami, UK
Ven. Dr. Anil Sakya, Thailand
Ven. Wei Wu, Malaysia
Dr. Rabindra Panth, India
Dr. Eko Legowo, Indonesia
Mrs Nina Yee, Australia
17:00-18:00 Questions & answers
18:00 Conference Close

Saturday, 2 October 2010
All day See off all foreign participants to the Suvarnabhumi Airport