How Buddhism can be one of the integrative factors for Pan-Asianism ideology?

Published: March 5, 2018

21st century is referred as Asian Century. An effective cooperation and integration of Asian countries can give a new narrative to the Asian led 21st century. Buddhism can be one of the integrative factors for the development of Pan-Asianism because

  • Origin and spread: Buddhism originated in the Indian Sub-continent in the 5th century BC, Today is the major religion of many Asian countries.
  • Trade: The trade relations among the Asian countries grew as Buddhism flourished. Travelers like Hiuen Tsang visited India and further became bridge among the countries of South Asia.
  • Unity in Diversity: Many sects of Buddhism like Mahayana, Vajrayana and Theravada Buddhism are practiced. Thus promoting unity in diversity.
  • Diplomacy: Ashoka after relinquishing physical conquest concentrated towards cultural conquest which was driven by Buddhism. Buddhism diplomacy is relevant even today.
  • Shared Values and History: Buddhism has intertwined the history and also has provided a system of shared values. The five principles of Buddhism like Ahimsa, Satya, Brahmacharya, Asteya and Aparigriha are the moral principles driving the Asian population even today.
  • Tourism: Other avenue which has huge potential in integrating Asian countries is Tourism driven by Buddhism.

Buddhism with its roots in India is flourishing in Asia. Buddhism is one of the biggest gifts of India to the World. India gave a new way of life for people in Asia through Buddhism about 2000 years ago. The geo-politics of 21st century is again providing an opportunity for India to re-script a new era of transformation for Asia. India due to historic and cultural reasons has immense soft power in the region giving it a natural advantage. India should build on this advantage to build a new narrative for itself in the global arena under the Indo-pacific ambit by acting as a catalyst for the Asian led 21st century.

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