Statement from the Chongji order

Dear ILBF/Bodhimitra friends!

We are sad to see that confusing messages have been sent. A few former ILBF volunteers have decided to go against Buddhist ways of behavior and they are trying to spread misinformation about ILBF.

We can assure you that there was no hijacking of websites; however, there was simply a change in volunteers. This was necessary due to the behavior of a few previous volunteers (including some who give themselves officially-sounding titles). We have unsuccessfully tried to reach out to this disgruntled group but, unfortunately, they continue their misinformation.  Please note that the website, Facebook page and associated email addresses are genuinely under ILBF – now Bodhimitra – directed under Master Hwaling with the full support of the Chongji order. You can ignore any miscommunications from others.

We want to remind and reassure you: ILBF was initiated by the Chongji order; while ecumenical and independent, the Chongji order and Master Hwaling always have been the founding facilitators of the WLBF/ILBF/Bodhimitra project. After the difficulties that arose with organizing the 9th ILBF in Thailand, Master Hwaling and the Chongji order decided that it was necessary to work with a new group of volunteers for the 10th forum.

Please note ILBF was always just a group of volunteer/friends working for Lay Buddhists worldwide. The group gave itself an international steering board in 2011 but the then-envisioned working modus of the board was already abandoned in 2014 as unworkable; volunteers managed to continue the meetings since then informally.

The Chongji order has always retained its intellectual and spiritual founding rights to what was first called World Lay Buddhist Forum (then ILBF; now Bodhimitra) and there is a consistent stream of agreement since 2012 that the Chongji order as the founding and supporting organization will bring the ILBF (now Bodhimitra – ILBF) back to South Korea for its 10th anniversary (ILBF Bodhimitra 2020 Call for Participation:

This is also what Master Hwaling was asked to do in Thailand.

We do believe in Buddhist conduct according to the five śīlas and encourage everyone to abstain from lying, ill-will, and from the sowing of dissent and mistrust.

WLBF/ILBF/Bodhimitra was not set up for the vanity, power, or the financial interest of a few individuals but to serve the interests of Lay Buddhists globally.

We hope you will continue to support Bodhimitra – ILBF in its aims and objectives.

All good wishes,

Chongji order

Bodhimitra five śīla (ethical principles)

* I will not kill or harm any life.

* I will not retain what is not given rightfully, nor will I take away others’ possessions.

* I will respect the sexual rights and happiness of others.

* I will not lie, nor use harsh or harmful words.

* I will avoid using substances that harm my body and mind.

Bodhimitra ILBF Aims and Objectives

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.


A Photo Impression of Gyeongju (South Korea): One of the Locations for the 10th International Lay Buddhist Forum

Visit our Call for Participation for more information for the 10th Bodhimitra International Lay Buddhist Forum.

Call for Participation, 10th Bodhimitra International Lay Buddhist Forum


Call for Participation – Bodhimitra ILBF

10th International Lay Buddhist Forum

“Practical Buddhism”

Oct. 22-26, 2020

Seoul and Gyeongju,

South Korea

Dear Buddhist friends, academics, and practitioners-cum-scholars,

We are delighted to announce the 10th International Lay Buddhist Forum to be held in Seoul and Gyeongju, South Korea, October 22-26, 2020, organized by the Korean Chongji (총지) order under the guidance of Bodhimitra ILBF president, Dr Hwaling Lee.

The theme of this year’s forum is “Practical Buddhism”.
Under this umbrella, Bodhimitra ILBF aims to collect reflexive perspectives on the application of Buddhist teachings and practices to daily life, social advocacy and welfare (including Socially Engaged and Humanistic 人生 Buddhist perspectives).
In particular, we invite contributions under the following sub-themes

  • Practical Buddhism and Buddhist Modernity: Adaptations, Theories and Trends
  • Buddhist Education: Approaches and Challenges
  • Buddhist Activism: Caring for the World and for Each Other
  • Socially Engaged and Humanistic Buddhism: Practices and Approaches

Participants are welcomed from all Buddhist schools of thought and practice. We particularly encourage the participation of (lay) Buddhist teachers; academics; community leaders; educators; and youth representatives.
As with the previous fora, the 10th forum will bring together Buddhists and scholars from around the globe who want to engage actively with the programme on a shared journey of discovery of—and learning about—Practical Buddhism. Participants will contribute to the discussions, workshops, academic paper panels and round tables. The conference programme will be followed by an immersion programme (“temple stay/tour”).
All aspiring participants should send a short bio and a statement of around 200 words indicating their suggested contribution relating to the forum’s theme “Practical Buddhism”.
Academic contributions should consist of a 200-word paper abstract conforming the usual academic standards.
Buddhist practitioners should send a 200-word reflection. This reflection can consist of an abstract of

  • a suggested contribution to a discussion or workshop topic
  • a Buddhist organisation’s approach to Practical Buddhism
  • an individual motivational statement, e.g. under the heading ‘What does Practical Buddhism mean for me?’
  • a workshop/practice contribution (dharma activity, sharing, meditation etc.)

Please send your proposal to by 1 September 2019.
Acceptance will be communicated by 1 October 2019. Acceptance will be conditional on receipt of the full paper by 1 April 2020.
Style guidelines for the full paper can be found at

Paper submissions have no word limit but would typically be between 5000 and 10000 words.

Please note that the presentations at the Forum will be limited to 15 minutes.
Contributions will be translated into Korean for inclusion in the conference book.
We are currently envisioning that the participation at the forum (accommodation, board and transport within Korea) will either be free or significantly subsidised; we are also working on providing a limited number of international travel grants.
Further details about the programme and the registration will follow in due course.

We hope to see many of you in Korea, Oct 2020!


Bodhimtra –  International Lay Buddhist Forum (ILBF) is an independent lay Buddhist movement that is all-inclusive in membership and outlook. Any individual (lay, clergy, monastic) of a Buddhist organisation supportive of lay Buddhist development and the interaction of lay and monastic/clerical 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.

Bodhimitra began as a lay Buddhist movement at the “World Lay Buddhist” fora that were held in Seoul annually 2007-2011 and hosted by the Korean Buddhist Chong-ji order (총지종). Renamed “ILBF – International Lay Buddhist Forum”, a changing group of volunteers from various Buddhist organizations continued the fora biannually in Spain, Japan, Indonesia and Thailand.

After the 9th forum the ILBF continues under the name “Bodhimitra – the International Lay Buddhist Forum”. Bodhimitra can be translated as Friends of Enlightenment.

With the 10th anniversary forum, Bodhimitra ILBF returns to Korea.
Bodhimitra’s president, Dr. Hwaling Lee is supported by a new international team of Buddhist academics and practitioners from around the world.

For more Information about the ILBF please see

The 9th International Lay Buddhist Forum in Ayutthaya and Bangkok

The 9th ILBF was held over the New Year, 28 Dec 2019 – 2 Jan 2019.

The opening of the Forum took place in Ayutthaya with the first day of talks at the Phranakhon Si Ayutthaya Rajabhat University (or ARU for short).

The opening celebration consisted of gifts for the generous host prepared by Prof. em. Dr Franz Gschwind and presented by former Sakyadhita President Dr Christie Chang, followed by speeches, music and dance, and a wonderful authentic Thai dinner. The backdrop of the opening was an impressive exhibition space created and curated by the tireless and generous local co-organiser, the artist and architect Ajahn Dulpichai.

The first day of lectures started with a wonderful introduction by the Vice-Chair of Bodhimitra, Professor Bee Scherer, PhD (Director of the Intersectional Centre for Inclusion and Social Justice at Canterbury Christ Church University in the UK). Locating ILBF firmly within the framework of Socially Engaged Buddhism, Scherer praised the work of past organisers, such as the Chong-Ji order in Korea and the Buddhayana organisation in Sumatra/Indonesia and reminisced about the 2012 ILBF Scherer organised in Spain, while highlighting the importance of an International Lay Buddhist Forum for connecting lay-practitioners, academics and monastics.

The President of ARU, Dr Kasame Bumrungveth introduced participants to the University with its impressive range of scholarly and vocational programmes and conveyed his wishes for a productive meeting.

Interesting talks followed by scholars and practitioners, from Professor Hnin Hnin Aye of the University of Abhidhamma (Yangon, Myanmar) on the use of Buddhist Principles in Human Resources to Dr Saul Tobias (an Associate Professor at Fullerton, USA) on Mindfulness. Dr Phillipe Turenne spoke about the Rangjung Yeshe Institute in Kathmandu, Nepal, as a place of higher education for for scholar-practitioners. Also from Nepal, six Newari Buddhist ‘priests’ and ‘priestesses’ (i.e. householder-monastics) attended the 9th Forum: representatives of the Nepal Traditional Buddhist Association have been an integral part of the ILBF ever since the senior Newari Buddhist leader, the Most Rev. Prof. Dr. Naresh Man Bajracharya, participated at the 6th ILBF in Spain. At the 9th forum, the Newar Scholars Dr. Kabindra Bajracharya and Puspa Ratna Shakya gave a presentation on traditional chanting and ritual sand art in the Newar Tradition.

Important talks by Shermila Milroy and Dr. Damenda Porage from Sri Lanka about the role of women in Theravada and Vajrayana Buddhism led to an animated debate. The prolific Thai-American Socially Engaged Buddhist activist and change agent Nampet Panichpant-Michelsen gave an inspiring, personal account of her life with Buddhism.

Dr Dominick Scarangello of the Lotus Sutra-centred Buddhist movement Risshō Kōsei Kai (立正佼成会), which graciously hosted the 7th ILBF in Japan in 2014, spoke about Buddhist Principles whilst living in a sharehouse in Japan and Master Beobkyung Kim gave an interesting talk about the practices of contemplation and compassion in the Chong-ji order in Korea. The order, who generously contributed to the organisation of the 9th forum, will again host the next, 10th Forum in 2020 in Seoul, to be organised by the current Bodhimitra ILBF President, Dr Hwaling Lee.

After a light dinner, the participants strolled at their leisure through the famous night-market of Ayutthaya sampling some of the culinary delights Ayutthaya had to offer.

The next day let the participants on a temple tour of Ayutthaya to arrive in the evening at the Thai Hua Fo Guang Shan Temple in Bangkok, a grand temple still under construction. Fo Guang Shan is a Chinese Mahayana Buddhist organisation founded by the Venerable Master Hsing Yun, and is known for their social activism as part of the concept of ‘Humanistic Buddhism’. The abbot of the temple Venerable Hsin Ting and the other Venerables and volunteers of Fo Guang Shan Bangkok gave the forum a very warm welcome.

On New Year’s Eve, the forum continued with two workshops, by Xuan Huynh and her husband Dr Thanh Huynh on mindfulness and by Dr Maurits Kwee on Buddhist psychology. Further, Huihui Lan, a young Singaporean occupational therapist, offered participants early morning Yoga sessions.

Dr Franz Gschwind, a retired engineering professor and long-term practitioner of Tibetan Buddhism, shared his experience of leading a mindful life; his wife Johanna spoke about the Tibetan Buddhist Rabten community and showed a video of their event of teaching meditation to children. The American Diplomat and China expert Roseanne Freese presented about the changes to Buddhism in mainland China.

Enkhgerel Batsaikhan (Annie) spoke on the changing attitude of Buddhist Youth in Mongolia. Dr Kalinga Seneviratne shared his experiences on non-violence response and Venerable Dhammasiri Thero gave us a glimpse into monastic life in Sri Lanka.

Further, the ILBF Steering Board formally met at Thai Hua Temple and recorded heart-felt thanks to all formerly active committee members, including the previous organisers Dr. Gene Reeves and Dr. Jongin Kim, as well as the former ILBF secretary, Ven. Bhikkhuni Bodhi (Dr. Bong). The committee decided to charge President Hwaling Lee with organising the 10th forum in Korea 2020, with the gratefully acknowledged support of Chong-ji Master Inseon and the assistance of Jogye order volunteer and professional translator Sarah Kim. It was further decided to add the name Bodhimitra –friend/s (on the path) to enlightenment– to the acronym ILBF. This additional name should facilitate an easier recognition and dissemination of the ILBF network.

For the countdown into the New Year, the participants were shuttled to the nearby Wat Phra Sri Mahathat Woramahawihan temple to observe the local community come together to chant and welcome in 2019.

The forum came to an end with a visit to Sathira-Dhammasathan, an impressive oasis of peace, healing and spiritual growth founded by one of Thailand’s most influential and inspiring female monastics, Maechee Sansanee.

ILBF is grateful to our friends Buddhist Door for publishing a first account gathered from selective sources about the 9th forum; equally, the Chinese Buddhist News network published a lovely report written by Sister Tzu Chin.

A special thanks goes out to all hard-working organisers and volunteers. Special mention is due to those avoiding the limelight: Bodhimitra treasurer Kathy Monaco (Ben Xi) and volunteer April Wang for her tireless work before, during and after the forum, especially during our stay at the Thai Hua Temple in Bangkok.

The pictures used here were taken by Dr Patrick de Vries and Pensiri Mahasutthikul.

Video of Thai Buddhist Nun Ordination in Sri Lanka – November 2015

After the Poya (Full Moon Day) celebration in the main Buddhist Temple near Colombo, the ceremonies started for the Ordination of the Thai Buddhist Nuns into full Bhikkhunis.

One of the new Bhikkhunis is former Vice-Chair of the ILBF, Venerable Bodhi

The Ceremonies started with the Katihna celebration in which the lay community offer new robes.

After a few early mornings, a lot of chanting and drumming the nuns are now fully ordained Bhikkhunis.

The ordination took place at the Sakyaditha Training & Meditation Centre in Sri Lanka (about 25km south of Colombo) and the nuns are from Nirodharam Temple near Chiang Mai, Thailand.

Registration form for IBLF 2018

Fill in the form below or click here to go directly to the form. Depending on the size of your screen you need to scroll down to see the form in its entirety.

Please note that the maximum number of participants is limited to 50 with a maximum of 6 per group.

Alternatively, scan the QR code with your mobile.



FOr additional questions please contact