International Lay Buddhist Forum

The International Lay Buddhist Forum (ILBF) is an independent lay Buddhist movement that is all-inclusive in membership and outlook. Any lay or ordained individual or member of any lay or monastic Buddhist organisation who are supportive of lay Buddhist development and the interaction of lay and monastic Buddhists are welcome. The movement aims to represent and further the interests and roles of lay Buddhists in the development of local and global Buddhisms in the world today.

Aims and Objectives
A message from the president, Master Hwaling

Living Buddhism and leading a Buddhist life

We follow Buddha’s teachings and apply them to our everyday life in order to increase everyone’s happiness and wellbeing, beyond mere theories and ideals.

Practical Buddhism, Buddhism in daily Life, Buddhism for the benefit of all

We apply the teachings of the Buddha to real life and practice them in order to gain peace of mind, develop wisdom, and make human society peaceful and beautiful.

Responsibilities of lay Buddhists for the role of the holy Sangha

Lay Buddhists form the majority of Buddhists worldwide and hold the most important position within the fourfold community and the holy Sangha, in order to spread the Buddha’s teaching in a modern, useful way.

Internationalization of Buddhism

Through the Bodhimitra organization, we aim to strengthen ties among Buddhists of all branches and affiliations and exchange information so that humanistic and Engaged Buddhism may become a main influence in leading humankind to world peace and reconnecting people to altruism and spirituality.


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 Chong-ji Order (총지종) with the support of the Association of Korean Buddhist Orders. Similar events have been held annually until 2012 and bi-annually since. So far, the annual and bi-annual events have been attended by lay Buddhists and monastics from various countries in Asia, Europe, Australia and the Americas. At each forum, participants voiced the need for the existence of an organisation, which could serve Lay Buddhists’ interests and play a role in a healthy development of Buddhism(s) in contemporary society. Hence growing organically from the existing activities, the International Lay Buddhist Forum, ILBF in short, was formally constituted in 2011.

After the 9th forum the ILBF continues under the name “Bodhimitra – the International Lay Buddhist Forum”. Bodhimitra can be translated as Friends of Enlightenment.
president, Dr. Hwaling Lee from the Chong-ji Order leads the forum and is supported by a new international team of academics and practitioners from Universities and Buddhist Groups from around the world.

Guiding Philosophy of ILBF

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

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

Previous Forums

The first five Lay Buddhist Forums were held in 2007-2011 in Seoul (South Korea) hosted by the Chong-ji Buddhist Order with support from the Association of Korean Buddhist Orders and the government of South Korea under the leadership of Master Hwaling.

The sixth forum was held in 2012 in Malaga (Spain) hosted by the Tibetan Buddhist cultural association, Karma Guen (chief organiser: Prof. Dr. B. Scherer).

The seventh forum was held in 2014 in Tokyo (Japan) hosted by the Risshō Kōsei-kai (立正佼成会; chief organiser: Dr Gene Reeves).

The eight forum was held in 2016 in Padang Sidempuan, North Sumatra (Indonesia) hosted by the pan-Indonesian Buddhayana community under the guidance of Ven. Xueyuan.

The ninth forum took place over New Year 2018/2019 in Thailand. The conference was split between Phranakhon Si Ayutthaya Rajabhat University and the Tai Hua Fo Guang Shan Temple in Bangkok.

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