PROMOTING harmony in society is of the utmost importance, especially in this time and age where there is disparity due to the difference in races and social status, said World Buddhist Sangha Committee president Venerable Liao Chung.
“With these differences, there is bound to be misunderstandings and people fighting. This creates a lack of happiness.
“We hope we can promote a peaceful life by treating everyone as equals.
“Promoting harmony is the aim of the committee,” he said in his speech at the opening of the 10th World Buddhist Sangha Council General Conference held at Hotel Equatorial Penang on Sunday.
The conference, considered the largest to date, drew participants from 27 countries such as the United States, Australia, Bangladesh, Canada, China, Denmark, England, France, Germany, Hong Kong, India, Myanmar and New Zealand.
The conference, which ends tomorrow, is organised by the Malaysian Buddhist Association (MBA) and participants will be exchanging notes and ideas oncreating harmony.
Organising chairman Datuk Seri Venerable Seck Jit Heng, who is also MBA president, said thiswas the third time since 1995that Malaysia had hosted the conference.
“It was held in Penang in 1995 and Kuala Lumpur in 2005.
“In this era of technology and globalisation, human living conditions are facing huge changes.
“To create harmony, reach new understanding and achieve a higher level or unity is an important mission for Buddhism.
“Buddhist organisations worldwide must strive to communicate and learn from each other,” he said.
Chief Minister Chow Kon Yeow, who was guest of honour, shared that the decision to choose Penang as the venue for the conference was significant as in 2008, George Town was gazetted as a Unesco World Heritage site.
“One reason Penang was recognised is that we have people from various religious backgrounds who have been able to live harmoniously for over 200 years.
“The fact that we can live together peacefully can be an example for the rest of the world,” he said in his speech.
Also present at the openingceremony of the conference were Penang Tourism Development Committee chairman Yeoh Soon Hin, Bukit Bendera MP Wong Hon Wai and Penang Island City Council mayor Datuk Yew Tung Seang among others.