INEB Conference 2013 at Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, October 27 to November 5, 2013
The social and environmental issues wIe face today affect people of all religions. Modern trends towards materialism, consumerism, urbanization, corporate globalization and nationalism are contributing to a wide range of inter-connected challenges: depression, loneliness and suicide, poverty and inequality, communal conflict, environmental degradation and climate change.
As we search for new paths, our religious traditions have a critical role to play. Religious teachings and practices help us move beyond the material. They shape our understanding of the world, our values, and our behavior. Religious teachers and practitioners recognize that personal transformation is the root of global transformation.
In recognition of these shared challenges and opportunities, the International Network of Engaged Buddhists (INEB) has been expanding its programs to increase dialog, understanding, and collaboration across traditional religious divides. This includes divides between institutions and sects in the Buddhist tradition and divides between religious traditions. In recent years, INEB has participated in and organized inter-faith programs on greed and consumerism, women?s leadership and gender issues, peace and human rights, and climate change and biodiversity.
Every two years, INEB organizes an international gathering of kalyanamitra, which means spiritual friends. In these bi-annual gatherings known as the INEB Conference, opportunities to discuss and formulate ways to address these social issues. The location rotates each year. The INEB Conference held its first in 1989 in Bangkok. The INEB Conference have since been held in Bodhgaya(India) Nagpure(India), South Korea, Sri Lanka and Taiwan. The 2013 INEB Conference will be in Malaysia. The gathering is an opportunity to learn more about the specific context and challenges of the host country and to exchange more broadly between participants from all of the countries.
The 2013 conference provides an opportunity to increase understanding and engagement with the majority Muslim community. This is a timely event. In recent years, there have been examples of Buddhist and Muslim tensions in Thailand, Indonesia, the Maldives, Myanmar, Bangladesh, and Sri Lanka. Buddhism and Islam are the two most prevalent religions in Southeast Asia. It is vital that strong bonds of mutual respect and compassion between these two great faiths are maintained and nurtured.
In 2006, INEB organized a Buddhist-Muslim dialog on justice and peace at the SuanDusitRajabhat in Bangkok, which resulted in the Dusit Declaration. The 2013 INEB Conference in Malaysia will build on these past programs and include a Buddhist-Muslim youth camp, study tours, and dialog on Buddhist-Muslim relations. Participants from all countries will have an opportunity to learn about the Malaysian experience with inter-sectoral and inter-faith dialog and collaboration. Besides the dialog, Muslim representatives will be invited to participate in the INEB conference activities to further encourage and foster greater understanding and cooperation. Muslim representatives as well as other representatives from other religions will also be invited.