From the Worldwide Faith News archives

Royal Thai Government Helps Fund World Religious Leaders Meeting

From Worldwide Faith News <>
Date Fri, 07 Jun 2002 11:07:23 -0700

World Council of Religious Leaders thanks Royal Thai Government;
US$ 75,000 allocated for Bangkok meeting

World religious event an outgrowth of the Millennium Peace Summit 2000

BANGKOK, June 6 -- Next week's world summit of religious leaders convening 
here has been given a moral and financial boost by Tuesday's Royal Thai 
Government decision to allocate three million baht (about US$75,000) to the 

The World Council of Religious Leaders meeting opens June 12 at 
Buddhamonthon, near Bangkok, where by tradition it is understood that 
Buddhism was first introduced to what is now Thailand.

World Millennium Peace Summit Secretary-General Bawa Jain and 
Mahachulalongkornrajavidhyalaya University Rector Phra Thepsophon, Interim 
Co-Chair of the World Council of Religious Leaders, expressed thanks to 
Thailand for its support and encouragement of the world religious event.

Thailand's first fully inter-faith religious event was the World Council of 
Churches (WCC) Salvation Today conference held 30 years in December-January 
1972-1973 at the Thai Red Cross Conference Center. That site became a point 
of pilgrimage for persons concerned with the meeting of religions because 
of the death of Catholic monastic Fr. Thomas Merton during a conference 
there in December 1968.

Leaders of the World Fellowship of Buddhists in 1972 welcomed Christians 
and others from around the world to Thailand to consider the meaning of 
Salvation, primarily is a Christian context, but also in Buddhist, Hindu 
and Muslim understanding.

The organizers of next week's World Council of Religious leaders are 
saying, in effect, that salvation relates to peace, to relative prosperity 
(freedom from poverty), and protection of the natural environment, both in 
our own lifetimes, but for generations to come. They hope that peace 
emissaries will emerge from Bangkok to carry hope and substance to the rest 
of the world.

At least 11 world religions will be in attendance Thailand's Buddhist 
Supreme Patriarch and Crown Prince officially open the event next 
Wednesday. Rabbis, Imams, Gurus, Swamis, Bishops (Protestant and Catholic), 
Bahais, Buddhists, Confucianists, Hindus, Jains, Jews, Muslims, Shintoists, 
Sikhs and Zoroastrians and various indigenous religions  will pray, hear 
reports on world crises and reflect on poverty, environmental degradation, 
and challenges to peace throughout the world.

World Council co-host Phra Thepsophon (Phra Maha Prayoon Mererk), Rector of 
Thailand's Mahachulalongkornrajavidhyalaya University, achieved the highest 
level in Pali studies while still a teen-aged monk in 1976. He went on to 
write and publish a Ph.D. thesis on "Selflessness in Sartre's 
Existentialism and Early Buddhism" followed by some 50 other books on the 
often rough-edged contact between traditional Buddhism, the West and 
modernization, and education, conflict and world peace.

The convocation expects to act, first by agreeing upon and signing a 
Charter, and by planning pathways to peace and follow-through, which 
includes giving religious, moral and spiritual council to the United 
Nations and others who act at the world level.

More than religious and spiritual leaders gathered at the United Nations in 
New York in August 2000 and pledged to act to establish a permanent 
religious organization for world peace.

Lance Woodruff, Thailand Religion News Service
E-mail: <>, Tel: 02 623-6330, Mobile: 09 792-8874

World Council Secretariat, Mahachulalongkornrajavidhyalaya University
Wat Mahadhatu, Maharaj Road, Bangkok 10200 Thailand
Tel: (662) 226-6251. Fax: (662) 623 6328, 02 221-6950, 02 226-6251 Email:

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