Let the Lotus Bloom Forth: Buddhism in India

2019 marked the 70th anniversary of the promulgation of India’s constitution: itself a complex and multilayered story in which Buddhism is interwoven. This year’s reception bid farewell to Mr. Puneet Agrawal as India’s consul-general in Hong Kong and Macau. Buddhistdoor Global first began collaborating on Buddhist projects with his predecessor. Under Shri Puneet Agrawal’s consulship, we participated in several events that helped the website sharpen its perspective on the complex influence that the Buddhist tradition exerts on India, especially after the Sixth International Buddhist Conclave last year.  

Since 2014, Buddhistdoor Global has always supported the principle behind the Indian government’s ongoing campaign to promote what operators and politicians call the Buddhist tourism circuit (I do prefer using the word “pilgrimage”). I’ve always believed in this revival of international and domestic interest in Buddhist heritage sites, which had been happening even before 2014, when the International Buddhist Confederation was getting off the ground. We also heartily back what is nothing less than a much-needed dialogue between India and China, Asia’s two largest and oldest nations, with a shared history that is most deeply grounded through religion: namely, Buddhism.

From India in China (Consulate General of India, Hong Kong) Facebook

The Indian Consulate must be commended enthusiastically for one very simple thing: very few diplomatic offices and outlets of the religious press collaborate at the same level as the Indian Consulate here in Hong Kong and Buddhistdoor Global. I attribute this friendship to an honest yet productive conversation about Buddhism and India’s needs. Making all that possible has been a mutual willingness to listen to each other. In some way, I can’t help but feel that interfaith dialogue or comparative theology is similar to diplomacy. Engaging in either activity in good faith requires appreciation of each party’s horizons, and a careful discernment of harmonious echoes while refraining from subsuming either into the other in a form of spiritual or cultural colonialism.

Religion is not usually as prominent as other civic forces, but it is a membrane underlying and informing the values of societies and nations across the world. India has identified religion’s role in society and the elevation of humanity, and more happily, chosen Hong Kong as an ideal node of communication with the Buddhist community. The goodwill and openness is mutual. Happy 70th Republic Day to India – and may Buddhism continue to revive and flourish forevermore on your noble soil.

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