On Sunday 8 May, the Buddhist Missionary Society of Malaysia (BMSM) organized a seminar on the ‘Historical Development of Buddhism’ as part of its Wesak ‘Buddha Day’ celebrations. Nalanda founder Bro. Tan joined renowned Nepali archaeologist Dr. Basanta Bidari and Australian venerable Bhikkhu Jaganatho on the panel of speakers to discuss the subject, with Prof. Ong Puay Liu as the moderator.
In his lecture, Bro. Tan spoke about the arrival of Buddhism in Southeast Asia and its expansion into different areas of Indo-Malaya, Myanmar, Thailand, and Indochina from 3rd century BCE to 13th century CE. The mainly Malaysian audience was astonished to hear that recent archaeological findings have placed Kedah as probably the earliest site in the region to receive the arrival of Buddhism!
In contrast to some other religions, the spread of Buddhism across Southeast Asia had been voluntary and extremely peaceful. Missionary monks, traders and local rulers were all instrumental for the organic growth of the faith.
More than 120 history enthusiasts and devotees attended the seminar, which was held at Samadhi Vihāra in Shah Alam, Selangor. Accompanying Bro. Tan there were Nalandian officers Bro. Charlie Teng, Bro. Lee Teck Beng, Bro. Eugene Yong and a few others. Also present were the President Loh Pai Ling and other BMSM leaders. After the seminar, Bro. Tan and Nalandian officers paid a courtesy visit and offered respects to the abbot of Samadhi Vihāra, Ven. Mahinda Māhathera.