Around 2,600 people attended the World Peace Association’s International Buddhist Chanting Ceremony to pray for world peace, promote cross-cultural understanding, and support tourism and investment in Nepal on January 3, 2020. About 1,1000 monks and a number of important government officials, including Nepal’s Minister of Culture, Tourism, and Civil Aviation, the Hon. Yogesh Bhattarai, attended the event, which was held in the country’s capital Kathmandu.
Themed “Visit Nepal, Pray in Nepal, Chant in Nepal, We all Come for Peace,” the event was hosted by the World Peace Association, in cooperation with Nepal’s Ministry of Tourism and the Buddha Dharma Mahabihar Sangye Chhoeling Monastery. The large-scale ceremony came on the heels of the official kick-off of the Visit Nepal 2020 campaign on January 1.
During the ceremony, World Peace Association Mentor Master Jing Yao spoke movingly about how Nepal is not just a holy Buddhist site, but also an example of peace for the world. “In today's international society, the situation is turbulent and many wars occur, almost all of which are caused by differences in beliefs and concepts. From the peaceful coexistence of religions in Nepal, we can see that when people have faith in their own ‘dharma wisdom and life’, there is a natural peace in their hearts. Of course, they will not quarrel over worldly matters,” he explained.
World Peace Association Secretary-General Sattva Zhang built on Master Jing’s message of peace in her own speech, imploring world leaders to use their power and responsibility to jointly safeguard world peace, cherish all lives, and enable the sustainable development of the planet.
Minister Bhattarai and World Peace Association Peace Envoy of East Asia Hong An also delivered speeches, before the group observed a minute of silence for world peace. Master Jing Yao and Guru Karlsang Lama then led attendees in prayer. Participants chanted and prayed for harmony across cultures and countries, and a more prosperous 2020 for Nepal and the world.
Approximately 1,100 Nepali monks and masters from 41 temples in the Kathmandu Valley also joined the event. Each monk and master in attendance received donations of food and monetary assistance. Later, 41 Buddhist masters, one from each temple, and 130 peacemakers from across the world attended the "2020 Belt and Road Sustainable Development Leaders Closed-door Luncheon.” The working lunch was organized to promote world peace and the United Nations' 2030 Sustainable Development Goals.
The ceremony itself was bolstered by various ancillary activities. In addition to the luncheon, there were donations to local monks and impoverished families, cultural performances, a pilgrimage to sacred Buddhist sites, and private meetings between World Peace Association leadership and Nepali officials.
Before the chanting ceremony, the World Peace Association hosted a welcome dinner for select ceremony participants and special guests at the Soaltee Crowne Plaza. Rt. Hon. Ganesh Prasad Timsina, Chairperson of the National Assembly, Federal Parliament of Nepal, was the guest of honor and gave a keynote speech. Traditional Chinese and Nepali performances were staged at the event, to enhance cross-cultural understanding and appreciation. Highlights included the ‘Dance of 10,000 Purple and Red Flowers in Spring’, the ‘Thali Dance', and the song ‘Phoenix Shining Brightly’, with the performers’ exquisite costumes and graceful movements earning great applause.
Between the enchanting performances, Global Alliance for Sustainable Development Foundation Chairman Zhang Qihua, Lumbini Buddha Holy Land Charity Foundation Chairman Yu Jin San, and Yie Hui Ming, President of Fujian Damin Comprehensive Agriculture Development Company, who donated 4,000 packages of white and black tea to local monks on behalf of the World Peace Association, spoke a few words about the importance of philanthropy and world peace. The entire event was emceed by a local talent, Stella Mainali, who also serves as Global Ambassador for the International Young Leader’s Assembly.
Following the chanting ceremony, the World Peace Association, with the help of local volunteers, distributed bags filled with blankets, basic necessities, and Chinese organic tea to 600 low-income families from Kathmandu. Many mothers and children represented their families at the event. An additional 50 bags were given to Ministry of Tourism officials, to be distributed to underserved families from areas outside Kathmandu Valley.
The next day, World Peace Association mentors met with monastery masters and local leaders. Master Jing Yao received a gift from the monetary for his efforts in promoting world peace. In return, he presented a piece of exquisite calligraphy to Professor Dr. Ganesh Man Gurung, Secretary of the Nepalese Committee and Chairperson of the Nepal Sociological Association.
Members of the international delegation finished their trip to Nepal by making a pilgrimage to Lumbini. Lumbini is one of Buddhism’s holiest sites, as it’s the birthplace of the Lord Buddha, Siddhartha Gautama.
The World Peace Association, a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization registered in New York, USA, promote peace and development worldwide by organizing major peace-themed and cross-cultural events and conducting high-level public diplomacy around the world. The chanting ceremony in Nepal, held right after New Year’s Day, was an auspicious beginning to the new year for both the organization and its goals.