Great Shravasti, Buddhist Cultural Assembly - An introduction
Great Shravasti Buddhist Cultural Assembly is intended to be an annual gathering of Buddhists from different traditions around the world to affirm the unity and celebrate the diversity of Buddhism.
Recognizing the importance of nurturing and promoting the spiritual lives of lay Buddhists, His Holiness The Drikung Kyabgon Tinle Lhundup has expressed that this annual assembly should focus on the active participation of the laity. Furthermore, it is also His Holiness' wish that participants of this annual assembly will develop a non-sectarian, common vision of Buddhism that can be effectively applied to the betterment of the lives of the many. His Holiness envisions that after five years of this program involving Buddhists primarily, this annual event will go beyond the Buddhist fold to include and engage people of all faiths and backgrounds committed to the shared vision of the improvement of all lives..
A brief history
For many years, followers of Drikung Kagyu around the world have requested His Holiness The Drikung Kyabgon Tinle Lhundup to convene an annual Drikung Kagyu "prayer gathering" (Tib. monlam) for Drikung Kagyu followers, just as has been done by other lineages of Tibetan Buddhism in-exile. While recognizing the value of such an undertaking, His Holiness has set a greater vision - aspiring instead to host an annual non-sectarian, international gathering of lay and monastic Buddhists representing the global nature of Buddhism in the 21st century.
Thus, when an opportunity arose in 2013 to acquire some land in the historic city of Shravasti, His Holiness swiftly announced this greater vision and began organizational work for the first annual assembly set for November 2015 and the construction of a unique Buddhist temple and convention center that incorporates architectural elements from India, Bhutan, Tibet and the Far East (scheduled to be completed by 2018).