Spiritual leaders from most of the world's Buddhist sects condemned China for meddling in religious affairs and debated the formation of a new international body, based in India, which would speak on behalf of Buddhism at international forums like the United Nations.
The four-day meeting, which began Sunday, was the first ever congregation of Buddhist spiritual leaders, “supreme patriarchs” and representatives of Buddhist sects from around the world, the Indian Express reported. Beijing had urged New Delhi to cancel the event or bar the Dalai Lama from speaking to the attendees. After India refused, planned talks on the border disputes between the two nations were cancelled.
Officials from the Indian government and diplomatic service avoided the event, as a concession to China, however.
The first day saw a closed door meeting of top spiritual leaders — from Vietnam, Sri Lanka, Myanmar, Thailand as well as from Taiwan, Malaysia, Mongolia and Bhutan — on the formation of an International Buddhist Confederation based in India that would act as an umbrella body for Buddhism, according to the Express. The paper quoted unnamed sources as saying that the leaders unanimously condemned China’s demand to India that the conference be deferred.