KKF Delegation Speaks at “Religions for Peace” Conference in Bangkok

On October 29, 2009, KKF delegation jointed the Religions for Peace conference in Bangkok, Thailand. The conference focused on “The Role of Religious Leaders in Conflict Transformation and Peace Building” An Encounter of Religions for Peace Inter-religious Councils of Thailand and Sri Lanka. Place: Hotel Tawana Ramada Surawong Road. Bangkok, Thailand. Delegations: -Phra Rajvarajarn, President, Inter-religious Council of Thailand -An Encounter of Senior Religious Leaders from Sri Lanka – Rev. Norio Sakai, International Trustee, Religious for Peace International from Japan -H.E. Mr. Teera Slukpetch, Minister of Culture, Bangkok, Thailand -H.E. Mr. Chaturon Chaisang, Former Deputy Prime Minister, Former member of the National Reconciliation Commission. -Rev. Venbjorn L. Horsfjord, General Secretary, European Council of Religious Leaders. -World Religious Leaders from Buddhism, Hindu, Muslim, Christian, Sikh and others -KKF Delegation: Ven. Thach Berong, Ven. Meas Savoune, Ven. Thach Phirum, Mr. Prak Sereivuth, Mr. Thach Lenny, and Mr. Taing Ratana This conference was discussed on the majority-minority relations in Theravada Buddhist countries. Both Sri Lanka and Thailand are striving to overcome challenges arising from majority-minority relations. To address such challenges and to advance national unity, fostering mutual trust and cultivating a habit of common action among different ethnic and religious communities are critical. Religious leaders and their communities have an important role to play in this process. Religions for Peace have facilitated the building of mechanisms for multi-religious cooperation for peace called “Inter-religious Councils” in many countries affected by conflict. Such an Inter-Religious Council led by senior representatives of mediation, rejects extremist tendencies, and educates the public on the positive, socially transformative power of religions and their cooperation. In order to address the misuse of religion to divide peoples, different religious communities and their leaders must come together. Multi-religious efforts can be more powerful – both symbolically and substantively – than the efforts of individual religious groups acting alone. The cooperation among different religious communities for peace can transform discord into collaboration, harness commitments towards common goals and common action, develop partnerships with civil society and public sector, and create a greater voice and impact. The conference discussed about the causes of violence and conflict in the southern of Thailand, and in Southeast Asia. The group discussion has created an opportunity for Ven. Thach Berong raised his concern about the Khmer-Krom Theravada Buddhism and Khmer-Krom Human Rights violation in Kampuchea-Krom (Southern Vietnam) today. And for all participants who were Buddhists, Muslims, Christians, Hindu and Sikh to engage in dialogue through “deep listening”. We exchanged our ideas in order to improve mutual understanding. The themes of the dialogue included challenges and suggestions on peace building process in Thailand, Sri Lanka and Southeast Asia.

Ven. Thach Berong raises his concerns about KK Theravada Buddhism and KK Human Rights violations in Kampuchea-Krom.
Conclusion: “The challenge of harnessing religion’s transcendent qualities in the cause of peace is formidable and not for the faint of heart. Not only is this work of faith-based diplomacy intellectually, psychologically, emotionally draining, but it involves significant risks as well. There are almost always vested interests in every conflict that want to see that conflict continue, and a number of spiritually inspired peacemakers have paid the ultimate price for their efforts-Mahatma Gandhi, Anwar Sadat, and Martin Luther King jr. to name a few of the better known. The need for this kind of spiritual engagement, however, is only growing more urgent with the passage of time. From violence-plagued urban slums to remote villages on the fringes of the Sahara, to the green hills of Mindanao, there is solid proof that it works. The cases described in the following pages are only a few examples of what is possible”. “The World Conference of Religions for Peace” “Religion sparks violence and impedes efforts to address global problems such as terrorism according to many. In reality, however, religious networks are also working to eliminate terror, prevent”. KKF delegation suggested three main points to the conference:

  • To realize the heart or core of one’s own religion and to help others to realize the heart of their own religion;
  • To work together for mutual good understanding;
  • To develop cooperating among all religions so that they can work together to drag the world out off the tyranny of materialism.