The International Network of Engaged Buddhists intend to hold our bi-annual conference on “The Future of
Buddhism: From Personal Awakening to Global Transformation” at Buddhagaya, the place where the Buddha
was fully enlightened 2600 years ago. The Indian government has also supported a Global Buddhist Congregation
to be held in New Delhi at the end of the year to mark the 2600th anniversary of the Awakening of the Buddha.
We hope that all Buddhists who can make themselves available in India on either occasion will take part in it.
The future of the teachings of the Buddha is at stake. The major task ahead is to make them appropriate for humankind
and all sentient beings at least for another 2400 years from now on. In a smaller time span, this year also marks the 150th birth anniversary of Rabindranath Tagore of India, whose life and work truly inspired many of us, who celebrated and shared his ideas and aspirations for harmony, wholeness and integrity. He dedicated his whole life to the cultivation of these ideas and dreams, especially throughhis poetry, plays, paintings and innovation in education.
For Tagore, growth in science, technology, and material wellbeing should go hand in hand with spiritual
growth. One without the other is like walking on one leg. Also, Tagore did not reject the West or industrial
civilization per se. Rather he insisted that the West must also learn from the East. The East has so much wisdom
to offer the West. This balanced and holistic worldview is needed now more than ever, as it is a prerequisite for a
sustainable and resilient future for us and for coming generations. Pure reason and pure materialism are as doomed
as the pursuit of purely personal salvation. The world view of Tagore is seeing the unity of reason and religion, spirit
and matter, and letting them dance together. This is the big vision where science complements spirituality, art
complements ecology, and freedom complements equality.