8th International Lay Buddhist Forum: Call for Papers, Presentations, and Participation

By Press Office
Buddhistdoor Global | 2016-01-07 |
Muara Jambi Temple in Sumatra, Indonesia. From realwow.orgMuara Jambi Temple in Sumatra, Indonesia. From

Date: 19–23 August 2016

Venue: Buddhayana, Padang Sidempuan, North Sumatra, Indonesia

Preliminary Program

19 Aug: Arrival at Padang Sidempuan

20 Aug: Opening and conference

21–22 Aug: Study tour

23 Aug: Departure

The International Lay Buddhist Forum (ILBF) is delighted to announce that its 8th conference will be held in Padang Sidempuan, North Sumatra, Indonesia, from 19–23 August 2016. The theme of this year’s forum is “Caring for the past, safeguarding the future: Buddhism, Heritage and Sustainability.”

Safeguarding our cultural heritage and environment for future generations is one of the most crucial challenges we are facing in the world today. The 8th ILBF invites participants to discuss the views, activities, and challenges of the Buddhist traditions with respect to tending to Buddhist cultural memory, sources, and material remains, and with respect to caring for the environment and creating sustainable modes of living as exemplified by, but not limited to, different strands of Socially Engaged Buddhism, Humanistic Buddhism, and self-sufficiency Buddhist movements.

The location of the 8th ILBF, the island of Sumatra in Indonesia, illustrates both the wealth of Buddhist heritage and the environmental challenges we all face.

Known as the Golden Island (suvarnadvipa), Sumatra has a rich Buddhist past. Buddhist scholars and teachers such as Dharmakirti from Sumatra crucially influenced the development of Mahayana and Vajrayana thought and practice. Yet, much of Sumatra’s Buddhist heritage is yet unstudied and vulnerable to further damage and eventual loss.

Similarly, Sumatra sees annually recurring environmental catastrophes in the form of deforestation, erosion and, in particular, air pollution through the illegal burning of vegetation for palm-oil farming, which covers ever larger parts of Indonesia, Singapore, and Malaysia in toxic clouds every September and October. These catastrophes generated by human greed and recklessness are stark reminders of our shared vulnerability and responsibility for the future.

The 8th ILBF invites Buddhists and academics to reflect on the role of Buddhism for the protection of our heritage and environment. Participants from all Buddhist traditions and groups and from academia are welcome. We particularly encourage the participation of Buddhist teachers, community leaders, and youth representatives.

Participants from outside academia are encouraged to reflect on questions such as:

- What does heritage and sustainability mean to you as a Buddhist?
- How does Buddhism inform your views and activities around safeguarding heritage and the environment?
- How has your own Buddhist practice and identity and/or your Buddhist organization adapted to the challenges of preserving heritage, caring for the environment, and creating a sustainable future?
- How can Buddhism contribute to cultural and environmental social justice and peace?

Academic participants are encouraged to submit paper proposals in the field of:

- Buddhist archaeology, museology, and heritage: curation, management, and social impact
- Excavating Buddhist thought for the 21st century
- Eco-Buddhism/Ecologically Engaged Buddhist movements
- Discourses and practices of sustainability in contemporary Buddhism

All accepted presenters will engage actively with the forum’s program and contribute a paper and/or a poster presentation. Delegates from Buddhist organizations who wish to participate in the forum’s program without giving individual presentations will be encouraged to contribute material to a collective poster or powerpoint presentation about their organization(s), which will form part of the forum.

Academic participants are asked to submit papers to professionally scholarly standards.

Abstract deadline: Please send a 100-400 word proposal and a short bio by 1 February 2016 to

Full paper/poster deadline (to facilitate translation into Indonesian/Chinese): 1 June 2016.

Acceptance of participation is conditional until full papers/posters are received.

Send any inquiries and/or your abstract and bio in lieu of application to:


US$150, including transfer from Dr. Ferdinand Lumban Tobing (Pinangsori) Airport (FLZ) serviced by Garuda Indonesia and Wings Air, board, and accommodation. Excludes any airfares.

About the ILBF

The International Lay Buddhist Forum is an independent lay Buddhist movement that is all-inclusive in membership and outlook. Any lay or ordained individuals or members of lay or monastic organizations who are supportive of lay Buddhist development and interaction of lay and monastic members are welcome. The movement aims to represent and further the interests and roles of lay Buddhists in the development of Buddhism in the modern world.


The International Lay Buddhist Forum began as a lay Buddhist movement at the first world Lay Buddhist Forum, held in Seoul in 2007. The forum was hosted by the Chongji Order with the support of the Association of Korean Buddhist Orders. Similar events have been held annually since then. The annual event has been attended by lay Buddhists and monastics from various countries in Asia, Europe, and North America.

At each forum, participants voiced the need for the existence of a lay organization to serve its interests and play a role in a healthy development of Buddhism in the modern world. This voice became stronger, louder, and clearer at each succeeding forum. This gave rise to the idea of establishing an international lay Buddhist movement.  A new constitution emphasizing its international outlook was adopted in October 2011.

Guiding Philosophy of the ILBF

The ILBF is a wholly independent lay Buddhist movement, representing the interests and roles of lay Buddhists and lay Buddhists only, not the lineages or traditions or orders or organizations of the members.

While the ILBF membership may include members from various Buddhist organizations, and its activities may be hosted and/or supported by particular organizations or individuals, the ILBF is independent of them and does not represent their teachings or values.

See more

Conference website
Conference Facebook page

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