Thailand has set itself the goal of becoming the world’s center of Buddhist activities and studies. The Cabinet has resolved to support the establishment of Thailand as the recognized center for Buddhism.
It assigned the Office of National Buddhism to serve as the core agency in coordinating with the Sangha, as well as related organizations and individuals in working out details of the project.
The concept is that, as the world Buddhist center, Thailand will serve as the international coordinating center for Buddhist countries in the overall picture and in terms of information and contact between specific groups.
In its role as the center for Buddhism, Thailand would hold conferences, seminars, meetings, and training in various Buddhist buildings and temples, which would be equipped with sufficient facilities to accommodate visitors. It will also serve as the center for Buddhist research and studies and an ideal location for spiritual exercise and renewal.
The world Buddhist center should attract people inside and outside the country interested in conducting various joint activities. In this regard, existing buildings, such as auditoriums, museums, libraries, and hostels should be developed in accordance with the management of the world Buddhist center.
Meanwhile, the Thai government and various Buddhist organizations are holding a Buddhism promotion week between 18 and 24 May 2013 to mark the “World Day of Vesak,” or Visakha Puja, the holiest day of the year for Buddhists everywhere. The Day of Vesak falls on the full day of the sixth lunar month, coinciding with 24 May this year.
Minister to the Prime Minister’s Office Niwattunrong Boonsongpaisan said that the celebration of Visakha Puja 2013 is meant to pay tribute to Their Majesties the King and Queen and Members of the Royal Family. It is also to commemorate the 100th birthday anniversary of His Holiness Somdet Phra Nyanasamvara, the Supreme Patriarch of Thailand, on 3 October 2013.
Activities planned during the Buddhism promotion week will take place at Buddhamonthon in Nakhon Pathom, Mahachulalongkornrajavidyalaya University in Ayutthaya, Sanam Luang in Bangkok and various temples. An international Buddhist conference will be held on 21-22 May at the United Nations Conference Center in Bangkok.
In his message on the occasion of Visakha Puja 2013, His Holiness the Supreme Patriarch of Thailand urged Buddhists to practice Dhamma for peace and happiness for themselves and the country. He said that the Buddhist principles could be condensed into three major guidelines: to do good, to abstain from bad, and to purify the mind.
For the Buddhism promotion week at Sanam Luang ceremonial site, His Majesty the King has presented his personal Buddha relics for the people to pay homage to. Moreover, various Dhamma activities for the new generation have also been organized during the period.