From the Worldwide Faith News archives www.wfn.org
Royal Thai Government Helps Fund World Religious Leaders Meeting
Worldwide Faith News <email@example.com>
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: <firstname.lastname@example.org>, 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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