Common Buddhist links provide long term support to India-Bhutan diplomatic relation and for the regional order, a leading thinker of Thimphu said here this week. Dasho Karma Ura of Bhutan said that the tradition of Buddhist teachings especially that of the 8th century teacher Guru Padmasambhava serves as a firmer ground for bilateral ties.

“Teachings of Guru Padmasambhava provide deeper content for relation between the two sides. Diplomacy has come too much in the foreground but in fact it is this that is far more fundamental than strategic interest,” said Dasho Karma Ura who is credited with conceptualising the idea of Gross National Happiness for Bhutan.

The Indo-Bhutanese ideas on Buddhism were shared during a conference titled “Life and Legacy of Guru Padmasambhava” that was held here during 29-30 January under the auspices of the Centre for Escalation of Peace (CEP), Sahapedia and the India International Centre (IIC). The conference is part of the celebrations on golden jubilee of India-Bhutan diplomatic relation.

The ancient teacher is considered to be the founder of Tibetan Buddhism and is known to have spread the message of rationality of the Buddha to the entire Himalayan region including parts of Pakistan and Afghanistan.

Former Foreign Secretary Shyam Saran, one of the organisers of the event, described Guru Padmasambhava as an “Indian sage” who is forgotten in his country of birth, India. The conference will be attended by experts and speakers from Nepal, India, Bhutan and other parts of the world.

“His life and teaching have a particular resonance today as he adapted his teachings to the cultural milieu of the different Himalayan kingdoms and localities where he preached. The Buddhism associated with him is remarkably accommodative and draws upon the local traditions which he encountered in his extensive travels in the Himalayan zone and Tibet,” said Mr Saran.

According to some accounts, Guru Padmasambhava, also known as the Second Buddha was born in present day Swat valley of Pakistan but historical documents inform that he was born in present day Orissa. Research has shown that the Samye monastery in Tibet that he is credited with building is based on the model of Odantapuri of ancient Kalinga.

The Indo-Bhutan discussion coincided with the visit of the Chinese ambassador Luo Zhaohui’s visit to the Himalayan country which also hosted a Chinese cultural group during the time.

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