Messages from Hungary


From Most Ven. Laszlo Mireisz and H.E. Janos Jelen, Hungary


Most Venerable Buddhist Leaders, Respected Delegates, Honorable Guests!
It is my honor to convey our congratulations to the organizers and participants of the United Nations Day of Vesak 2014 on behalf of the Dharma Gate Buddhist Church and College of Budapest, Hungary, as well as all Hungarian Buddhists. I appreciate the opportunity to be present at this great and wonderful event and wish to express my gratitude for the invitation.
In the past two decades the number of Buddhist followers in Hungary has risen from a few dozens to over 50,000. (Besides the members of Asian communities, in the 2011 census, almost 10,000 people declared themselves Buddhists. In 2013, 23,000 tax payers offered 1% of their annual income tax to Buddhist organizations.) Officially registered Buddhist organizations number around 30 and more than two thirds of them belong to the Mahayana or Vajrayana traditions.
The Dharma Gate Buddhist Church is one of the five Buddhist religious organizations recognized by the Hungarian Parliament, and the only one which has an institution of higher education recognized and supported by the state.
Founded in 1991, the Dharma Gate Buddhist College has recently reformed its BA and MA programs in Buddhist religious studies. This year (in 2014), we are initiating a new training program for lay teachers specialized on teaching the Dhamma for elementary school students who wish to learn about Buddhism and launching an international MA program (in English language) in cooperation with Mahachulalongkomrajavidyalaya University of the Thai Sangha.
Hungarian citizens of South, Southeast and East Asian origin (Cambodian, Chinese, Indian, Japanese, Korean, Laotian, Vietnamese), numbering a few tens of thousands, also play an active role in the development of Buddhism in the country through their enthusiastic support of several Buddhist organizations.
Based on all the above, we can say that in terms of achieving the aims of Millenium Development Goals (MDG), the Dharma Gate Buddhist Church and College wishes to move on especially in the fields of strengthening the Buddhist communities, and educating the primary and nursery school age groups besides providing secondary and tertiary education in Hungary.
The time has come to establish proper monasteries, vihâras, and meditation centers — as well as to renew the already existing infrastructural support for our educational and training activities.
I sincerely believe that the UN Day of Vesak 2014, just like similar celebrations held in previous years, will be an excellent opportunity for Buddhist leaders, delegates, and supporters, to interact and exchange their ideas about the contribution of Buddhist communities to the world at large. May it contribute to the growth of Buddhism, and benefit all sentient beings!

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