World’s Buddhists meet in Colombo today

The World Fellowship of Buddhists (WFB) will be marking its 60th anniversary and also holding its 25th General Council Conference at the Cinnamon Grand Hotel in Colombo from November 14 to 17, 2010.

The WFP was founded by Professor Gunapala Malalasekera the then President of the All Ceylon Buddhist Congress in 1950, to promote fellowship among Buddhists of various schools of thought.
The conference is being held in 2010 after 26 years, the last being held in 1984, All Ceylon Buddhist Congress president Jagath Sumathipala said adding that 410 monk and lay delegates representing 32 countries will take part in the commemoration and the conference with China’s Religious Affairs Minister representing his country.

This year’s theme of the conference is “Reconciliation through the Teachings of Buddha,” which will be discussed on November 16, Mr. Sumathipala said. Several other issues of significance to Buddhists the world over will be discussed such as the legal status and recognition in Europe of Buddhism as an official religion.

“Temple authorities in Europe find it difficult to engage in social activities, due to the lack of recognition, compared to other religions which are recognised there as religions”, Mr. Sumathipala said.
Only a few European countries have so far given official recognition to Buddhism while the rest of Europe has so far failed to extend official recognition to Buddhism as a religion, he said.

The conference will be inaugurated on November 14 with the Prime Minister as the Chief Guest, while on November 15, a Business Forum, which is a new feature, will be held in the afternoon of the same day at 3 p.m.

The 60th anniversary of the WFB will be marked at a ceremony on November 16 at 6 p.m. at the Sugathadasa Stadium and the delegates will visit the Sacred Tooth Relic at the Dalada Maligawa on November 17, concluding the celebrations.

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