First of all, in behalf my Dhamma friends in Belarus I express deep sympathy to the people of Japan in connection of the tsunami and the following nuclear crisis. Buddhism is an integral part of Japanese culture and its impact on mentality and psychology of the nation cannot be overestimated. At this difficult time Japanese people displayed truly Buddhist spirit in their discipline and selflessness fighting the disaster, saving, and helping those who suffered most from it. Such an attitude is worth admiration.
At the same time these events make us aware of interconnectedness of all phenomena taught by Buddha. From this we see that all around us is intertwined and subject to the cause-and-effect law. All our interactions with nature bring about their consequences that may not be visible at the moment but will manifest in the future. Buddha taught the end of suffering based on the development of mind, or bhavana. Yet the state of mind depends on observing the moral principles in relation with environment, politics, economy, interpersonal relationship, etc. There is no area in our life where cause-and-effect law does not work. Therefore, this universal law of the Dhamma should be always taken into account before any action is planned. This conference theme “Buddhist Virtues in Socio-Economic Development” is very relevant to our time considering events like recent economic crisis and natural disasters because Buddhism can offer rational solutions to the problems the world encounters today caused by people’s greed, hatred and delusion.
Each Buddhist nation added something their own to the external or ritualistic aspect of Buddhism. However, the essence of the Dhamma is universal, that is, it not limited to a particular region, culture or time period and this makes Dhamma become popular in the world because it touches upon suffering and happiness issue.
Buddhism is not known to most of people of our country yet but more and more people get familiar with and become interested in Dhamma. Some people get in touch with Dhamma through their interest in mental training techniques or psychology, some – through martial arts, some – trough the culture of Asian countries where Buddhism is traditionally spread. There are different Buddhist groups in Belarus and interest in different aspect of the Dhamma continues to grow due to its universal appeal.
Buddhist teachings are capable of making positive changes in life of individuals, group of individuals practicing Dhamma and, therefore, influence some aspects of the whole society. May this conference named “Buddhist Virtues in Socio-Economic Development” contribute to this cause.