Firstly, warmly welcome all of you to the opening ceremony of the 9th general conference of the World Buddhist Sangha Council. On behalf of the WBSC, I sincerely extend my heart-felt thanks to you. The 3rd meeting of the 4th Executive Committee and the 3rd meeting of the 7th Executive Committee were held in Bali and Jakarta respectively. This general conference is again co-sponsored by the Association Buddhist Centre Indonesia and the Mahakaruna Buddhist Centre-Medan. In the capacity of the president of the WBSC, I want to express my utmost appreciation to the generous support to the WBSC rendered by venerables and lay followers of Indonesian Buddhist community.
The main discussion item of this general conference is the revision of the Constitution. During the extemporaneous general conference in Singapore in 2002, the revision of the Constitution was made. Ten years passed. Conditions changed rapidly. To comply with different situations, our Constitution needs to be revised. Also, during the past meetings of Executive Committee, some members suggested to further the business of the WBSC. Some suggestions are related to the framework of the Constitution. However, the Constitution can be revised only in general conference. Therefore, this general conference lists the revision of the Constitution as the major discussion proposal. Participants of this general conference are kindly requested to offer your valuable opinions as the guidelines of our future development.
This year coincides with the 2,600th anniversary of Buddha’s enlightenment. To celebrate this great day, the WBSC held a commemorative conference in Sri Lanka co-organized by our English secretary-general Most Ven. Wimalaratana, deputy secretary-general Ven. Sumana, and director of Cultural Committee Ven. Chandima at National Gymnasium, Colombo on May 7. President Mahinda Rajapaksa of the Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka honored the opening ceremony. And, over one thousand sangha and laity attended the conference. This is the grand event of international Buddhism in recent years. Hereby I want to thank especially the contribution of Sri Lankan monks. In the meantime, the headquarters will do its best to assist any important activity held by our members in different areas.
Indonesia is a democratic country of racial harmony. Different peoples and religions are equally respected and develop in this land of freedom and democracy. People here are friendly, and society is harmonious. We are obliged to the Indonesian government to allow us to hold this conference in this land of peace and happiness. In particular, it is our greatest honor to have Minister of Religious Affairs His Excellency Mr. Boediono, to grace the opening ceremony today. May we pray for the prosperity of Indonesia, the good health of its president, vice president, and officials, and the well-beings of its citizen. May we pray also for the good health and peace of all sangha members and followers.