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Buddhist sage Guru Padmasambhava legacy celebrated at Center for Escalation of Peace

Buddhist sage Guru Padmasambhava legacy celebrated at Center for Escalation of Peace

An international conference and exhibition of rare artefacts are celebrating the life and legacy of 8th century Buddhist sage Guru Padmasambhava here on Tuesday. Organised by Centre for Escalation of Peace (CEP), India International Centre and Sahapedia, the conference titled "Life and Legacy of Guru Padmasambhava" also celebrated the 50 years of diplomatic relations between India and Bhutan.

During the two-day conference distinguished scholars from India, Nepal and Bhutan, will highlight the contemporary relevance of the Guru's teachings as well as "the rich, diverse tradition associated with the 8th century Rinpoche". The conference is accompanied by an exhibition of rare thangka paintings, sculptures and photographs associated with the sage.

"Guru Padmasambhava undertook many travels across India, Bhutan, Tibet and Nepal. A study into his travels demonstrates his ability to contextualise and localise his message, taking into account the particularities of place and sensibilities of the people. "He found a way to celebrate our individual differences in our shared commonalities. That is why, in addition to bringing into focus the relevance of his teachings, this conference also dedicated to the 50 years of diplomatic relations between India and Bhutan," Arun Kapur, Director of CEP, said. The conference opened with the keynote address by Dashi Karma Ura, president of Centre for Bhutan Studies.

Other speakers over the course of two days include accomplished Buddhist practitioners such as Mingyur Rinpoche, Neten Chockling Rinpoche, and scholars like Wangchuk Dorjee Negi, Karma Phuntso and Ian Baker. "Guru Padmasambhava is known as the Second Buddha because he played a seminal role in spreading Buddhism and Buddhist teachings across the Himalayan region including Northeast India, Nepal, Bhutan and Tibet," Shyam Saran, former ambassador to Nepal and Life Trustee of the IIC, said.

The exhibition has put embroidery thangka of Guru Padmasambhava, a painting of Changagkha Lhakhang Guru made on mud plaster with mineral pigments, a 13th century Tibetan bronze statue of Guru Zahoram, a 17th-century gilded bronze statue of Guru Padmasambhava among other artefacts on show.

The first day of the conference saw sessions looking at the sacred sites associated with the sage and his teaching, on Vajrayana Buddhism, on the emergence of mythos on the guru, and on the traditional pathways of religion that helped spread Tantric practices. The concluding day of the conference will focus on the texts and commentaries related to the sage and their various interpretations. The exhibition will come to a close on January 3.

(With inputs from agencies.)

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