Bhutan’s foreign minister Lyonpo Damcho Dorji was guest of honour at inaugural session of the 3rd International Dharma-Dhamma Conference held in Indore on Saturday. In a brief interview, he talked about the significance of religious conferences. Excerpts:
How significant is world religion conference, like the one held in Indore, for Bhutan?
We attach a lot of importance to such conferences. Bhutan is a country of Buddhism. Buddhism is influenced by Hinduism. Many Buddhist teachings are based on Hinduism. Both religions teach you to accept that there is more than one way of enlightenment. India is home to all faiths in world which have co-existed for centuries. It is the world’s largest democracy. There is no country better placed than India to deal with religious conflicts.
Do you think such conferences really help in reducing communal stress, religious conflicts, specially when the speakers and listeners are enlightened people. Don’t you think that real challenge is to enlighten those who create communal violence?
Communities across the globe will have to join hands to reduce conflict and choose a better path. Countries will have to come together for this.
We have no such problems in Bhutan. Our country has coined the term Gross National Happiness (GNH), which implies that sustainable development should take a holistic approach towards notions of progress. GNH is explained by good governance, sustainable socio-economic development, cultural preservation and environmental conservation.
Is Bhutan’s GNH the answer to global religious conflicts?
It has been adopted by the UN general assembly. March 20 is observed as the International Day of Happiness. Therefore, we think it has a global appeal.