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Ven. Sobhita: Address to Interreligious Leadership Conference 2017

Address to Interreligious Leadership Conference 2017
Seoul, Korea, November 10 to 14, 2017


Distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen,

First of all, may I express my gratitude for this opportunity to participate in this Interreligious Leadership Conference 2017 in Seoul, South Korea. I am most delighted and honored to meet all of the guests and religious leaders from Korea and abroad.

Every day when we wake up in the morning and listen to the radio or read the newspaper, we are confronted with the same sad news: violence, crime, wars and disasters.

We could solve these problems if all religious leaders and peacemakers could join hands and cooperate. We have many religious leaders and peacemakers here today. I know that different people have different ideas and faiths or beliefs. But, we, the religious leaders in every county, should not cling only to our respective belief and faiths. 

We should learn about and appreciate other religions. Nowadays, all religious leaders should lead their society and community to be able to appreciate other religions and cherish one another. This is because every religion has noble, gentle, peaceful teachings for people. 

In the Bible it says, "I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you; That may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust." (Matthew 5:44-45)

In the Hindu tradition, there is a saying: vasudhaiva kutumbakam (Maha Upanishad 6.71).  It means "The world is one family." The essence of this saying is the observation that only base minds see dichotomies and divisions. The more we seek wisdom, the more we become inclusive and free our internal spirit from worldly illusions or Maya. World peace is hence thought by Hindus to be achieved only through internal means—by liberating ourselves from artificial boundaries that separate us.

According to Islam, faith in only one God and our common ancestry through Adam and Eve are the greatest reasons for humans to live together in peace and brotherhood. The Islamic view of global peace is mentioned in the Qur’an where the whole of humanity is recognized as one family. All the people are children of Adam. The purpose of the Islamic faith is to make people recognize their own natural inclination towards brotherhood and sisterhood. According to Islamic eschatology, the whole world will be united under the leadership of the prophet Jesus in his second coming. At that time, love, justice and peace will be so abundant that the world will be in the likeness of paradise.


Buddhists believe that world peace can only be achieved if we first establish peace within our minds. Buddha said, “Peace comes from ourselves. Do not seek it outside.” The idea is that anger and other negative states of mind come from us, not from others. And they are the cause of wars and fighting. Buddhists believe that people can live in peace and harmony only if we abandon negative emotions such as anger in our minds and cultivate positive emotions such as love and compassion.

These are the viewpoints of each religion of the world for world peace. Every religion has good suggestions for better life and peace of mind. Every religion leads and shows the way to peace and how to escape from the worries and fears.

We all want world peace, not for us, but for the generations that will follow us, so that they will be able to live happily, quietly and peacefully after we have departed from the world. I do believe that if we, the religious leaders, can unite, the world will be united in turn.

My job is to teach people from different religions to work together. In classrooms and seminars, I show how to strengthen interreligions cooperation for the achievement of peace, and how to promote understanding of the role of religions in achieving peace to students and religious leaders around Myanmar. I have performed this work for about four years.

We hold dialogues about scripture, signature campaigns, peace walks and peace talks. I organize members of different faiths and different sects within the same faith to come and share about their religion openly. I also invite university students to participate in these events. I believe that the youth are the key to creating a better world and a peaceful world.

Therefore I would like to encourage to you all to join hands and pledge to create world peace for the present and future. With our words and especially our deeds, our global mission of peace and tolerance can succeed. I do believe. I do hope. We can do this. We can get there. Thank you so much. 


To go to the Interreligious Leadership Conference Schedule 2017, click here.