Press release from the Institute of Kashmir Studies, Srinagar

News 19th September 2009

The Institute of Kashmir Studies, an organ of  South Asia Foundation (SAF), in collaboration with the Central Institute of Buddhist Studies Leh, ladakh organised a 3-day National Seminar on the theme "The Contribution of Kashmir to the Buddhist Thought and Religion" from 14th – 16th Sept; 2009 at Choglamsar Leh. Scholars from all over India participated in the Seminar and about 24 papers on various sub-themes were presented in the seminar. Stimulating and thought provoking discussions followed the paper presentation. Besides the scholars from all parts of the country, local intellectuals, poets, writers, performing artists, monks the students of the Central Institute of Buddhist Studies Leh and the members of the civil society of Leh, participated in the seminar. The Hon’ble Minister for Tourism and Culture Govt. of J&K State Mr. Nawang Rigzin Jora was the Chief Guest at the inaugural function. In his inaugural speech he underlined the need for organizing such seminars as they contribute in creating an atmosphere of tolerance and harmony among the different sections and the religious groups in the society. He said the essence of all religions and philosophical systems is to facilitate the growth and evolution fruition of mankind.

Prof. Mustafa Khawaja of IKS in his welcome address highlighted the contribution of Kashmir scholars to the various branches of Buddhist Philosophy especially logic and the contribution of Kashmiri monks in the spread of the message of the Tathagatha in the farflung areas and remote corners of the world. In his presidential address Dr. Nawang Tsering Principal Central Institute of Buddhist Studies Leh, highlighted the fact that Kashmir was once the central and most important seat of Buddhist learning and scholarship. The contribution of the Kashmir scholars is so huge that it would be almost impossible to have an overview of the whole of it within three days of deliberations. He further added that some writings of Kashmir Buddhist scholars and religious missionaries are available in their Chinese and Tibetan translations only. There is a need to re-appropriate these scholarly writings by translating them in the language that are accessible to the present generation.
M. Khawaja
Institute of Kashmir Studies