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.

ILBF 2016 – Keynote ‘Mindfulness in Action’ by Bee Scherer & Jeff Waistell

Mindfulness in action: Buddhist Responses to Capitalism and Consumerism

Prof. Bee Scherer, PhD (Canterbury Christ Church University)
Mr. Jeff Waistell (Oxford Brookes University)

This presentation engages with Buddhist critiques of capitalism and consumerism; and it challenges the capitalist appropriations of Buddhist techniques. Scherer & Waistell show how Buddhist modernism and Marxism/socialism can align, and how Engaged Buddhism spawns egalitarian, socially revolutionary impulses for sustainability and ecological responsibility within the framework of Buddhist thought and mindfulness traditions.
The example of the Thai Asoke community exemplifies Buddhist communal mindfulness-in-action and shows how communal principles can operate in such work-based communities.