Celebrating 50-years of formalization of diplomatic ties between India and Bhutan, a two-day international conference on 8th century Himalayan sage Guru Padmasambhava was held in New Delhi that saw the participation of distinguished scholars from both countries.
The conference, organised by the Centre for Escalation of Peace (CEP) and titled 'Life and Legacy of Guru Padmasambhava', was held on January 29-30. Scholars from both countries discussed the Guru who was born in India and moved towards Bhutan in the 8th century to spread Buddhism and Buddhist teachings all across the Himalayan region.
"This seminar has been organized as a part of a series of events that are being organised to celebrate India-Bhutan friendship," said former Indian diplomat to Bhutan VP Haran. "Guru Padmasambhava was born in India and is highly respected in Bhutan. India-Bhutan relations have been good all through the last 70 years. In fact, from the earliest part of the 20th century, even during the British era, we had good relations with Bhutan," he added.
"Guru Padmasambhava visited Bhutan two times. His importance is seen everywhere. There is an image or painting of the guru in every Bhutanese home or temple. He is remembered by people almost all day long," said Sonam Tobgay, Deputy Chief of Mission at the Royal Bhutanese Embassy.
The two countries share formal diplomatic ties for half a century now but the relations between India and Bhutan date back to centuries and has only grown stronger with time.
Chairman of Centre for Escalation of Peace, Arun Kapur said, "We had the Guru who is from India, who spent a large amount of his time in Nalanda there and then he travelled across the Himalayas. He is known as the second Buddha because he brought Buddhism in Bhutan and other Himalayan countries. So, almost from the beginning of sovereignty as a state in the country, Bhutan and India have this connection. It is almost like the umbilical cord."
"This is not a relation that started merely 50 years ago, we have been sharing good ties at least since the 8th century," Kapur concluded.
Parallel to the conference, an art exhibition, showcasing rare artefacts associated with Guru Padmasambhava, was also held.
Thangka paintings, sculptures and photographs portrayed the life and teachings of the Guru, who is also known as the second Buddha as he played a very crucial role in spreading Buddhism in North-East India, Nepal, Bhutan and Tibet.