Beliefnet
Buddha City, Thailand, June 12--(Xinhua) Nearly 1,000 religious leaders from 13 major religions of over 70 countries worldwide kicked off a ceremonious meeting here Wednesday, aimed to found their common organization to promote world peace and stability. "It is another grand gathering for world's religious leaders since they held the Millennium World Peace Summit (MWPS) two years ago in the United Nations headquarters in New York, which initiated the process of creating the World Council of Religious Leaders (WCRL)," said MWPS Secretary-General Bawa Jain at the opening session of the conference at the Buddha City, Thailand's famous religious site 80 kilometers southwest of Bangkok.

"Thus the main purpose of this meeting is to formally launch the WCRL, which will become an independent advisory body of the world's religious community with a mandate to provide religious sources to assist the U.N. and its agencies in the prevention, resolutions and healing of conflicts, and in addressing global social and environmental problems," he said.

The meeting here between June 12 and 14 is sponsored by Thailand's Mahachulalongkorn Rajavidyalaya Buddhism University and the MWPS. It is due to adopt a charter of the WCRL and elect a chairing committee before it ends. A delegation led by Deng Fucun, vice chairman of the Three-Self Patriotic Movement Committee of the Protestant Churches of China, represented China's religious community at the meeting.

"There are many religions in the world, but I believe all of them have the same purpose and duty as their fundamental core. That is, to perfect the behavior and the hearts of individuals together with virtue and ethics," said Maha Vajiralongkorn, the Crown Prince of Thailand, in his opening address at the meeting.

"I hope that this meeting will be the way to mutual cooperation, mutual understanding and shared ideas among all religions for the benefit of people of all nationalities, all religions, on all sides and every land of the world, that they may live together in peace in the future," he said. During the three-day conference, delegates will also discuss issues such as the role of religion in the prevention of wars and conflicts, poverty reduction, development and environmental protection, and are expected to have dialogues with local politicians and media.

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