Diplomat Interviews


A State of Nirvana


Buddhism- a path for altering the mind, for going from ignorance to wisdom, from self-centeredness to altruism and compassion.  With love, goodness, calmness, and self-control, Buddhism focuses on the practice of mindfulness, meditation and is stripped of supernatural beliefs such as reincarnation to achieve enlightenment or nirvana. Let us know more about the countries following Buddhism by various Ambassadors to India.


In Conversation with Ambassador of Taiwan to India H.E. Baushuan Ger, of Taipei Economics and Cultural Centre in India (TECC)

How did Buddhism emerge in the country?

The origin of Taiwan’s Buddhism dates back more than 300 years, to the time when Han Chinese began immigrating to Taiwan during the late Ming and early Qing dynasties.

Buddhism is one of the major religions in Taiwan. Taiwanese people predominantly practice Mahayana Buddhism, mixed with Confucian principles, local practices and Taoist traditions.  Roles for religious specialists from both Buddhist and Taoist traditions exist on special occasions such as for childbirth and funerals.  Around 8 million people, 35% of the population believes in pure Buddhism whereas 80% worships mixture of Buddhism with local practices Taoist practices.

Buddhism has appeared and disappeared several times. How many times did Buddhism come to your country?

Buddhism experienced a rapid increase in popularity in Taiwan after WWII, attributed to Taiwan’s economic miracle following the war and several major Buddhist organizations promoting modern values such as virtues, wisdom, enlightenment, equality, freedom, and reason, which were attractive to the country’s growing middle class. Taiwanese Buddhist institutions such as Fo Guang Shan Foundation and Tzu Chi Foundation etc. are well-known for their involvement in secular society, including providing of a number of public goods and services such as colleges, hospitals and disaster relief, etc. 

Each country has their own form of Buddhism like Mahayana in Japan, Tibetan in Mongolia and so on. What form of Buddhism is followed in your country? 

The growth of Buddhism rose most sharply in the late 1980s when the Taiwan became liberalized.  Aside from societal influences there have also been a number of developments when it comes to the Buddhist community. The modernization of Taiwan has coincided with the rise of Humanistic Buddhis. The growth of Buddhism in Taiwan was spearheaded by a number of organizations developing during this period led by various teachers and masters who took socially engaged approaches in accordance with Humanistic Buddhist philosophy. As Buddhist groups become more involved in people’s everyday lives, there has been a general push to make teachings of Buddhism more relevant and applicable to modern- day issues such as environmental protection, human rights and stress management. These developments have helped create an image of Buddhism as being highly relevant in the modern world to the Taiwanese society.


In Conversation with H.E. Mr. Dambajavyn Ganbold Ambassador of Mongolia to India

How did Buddhism emerge in the country?

The first spread of Buddhism occurred before the mid-13th century, prior to the reign of Kublai Khan. The second great wave of Mongolian Buddhism began with Chinggis Khan and his sons, and the special relationship that Chinggis established with the Sakya School of Tibetan Buddhism. Mongolia’s Third Buddhist wave, as outlined by Lobsang Tamdrin in The Origins of Dharma in the Hor Regions, refers to the coming of the Dalai Lama School of Tibetan Buddhism to Mongolia in the 1570s, and its adoption by Altan Khan as the national religion of the country. Buddhism has appeared and disappeared several times. 

Buddhism has appeared and disappeared several times. How many times did Buddhism come to your country?


Buddhism was introduced to Mongolia three times. First one was in the period of 6th century from India. Second introduction took place in the beginning of the 13th century. Third one was during 16th century. For Mongolians, Tibetan Buddhism became a way of unifying people and creating a sense of nationalism in 16th century. From 16th century to 20th century, more than 2,000 monasteries were constructed and almost 40 percent of male population became celibate monks. Large monasteries had hundreds of monks and schools for art, astronomy and theatre. They regularly organized religious dramas and festivals. Education in Mongolia was managed by Buddhist monasteries and only monks had access to it.

Each country has their own form of Buddhism like Mahayana in Japan, and so on. What form of Buddhism is followed in your country?


Most Mongols practice the Yellow Hat sect of Tibetan Buddhism Tibetan Buddhism, which combines elements of the Mahayana and the Tantric schools of Buddhism with traditional Tibetan rituals of curing and exorcism, shares the common Buddhist goal of individual release from suffering and the cycles of rebirth. The freedom of worship having been restored, and the country retying with its cultural and religious roots, 200 temples and monasteries welcome approximately 5000 monks today. Even if it is not any more State religion, the Tibetan Buddhism remains the religion of more than 60 % of the Mongols today.



In conversation with H.E. Mr. Ung Sean Ambassador, Royal Embassy of Cambodia

How did Buddhism emerge in the country?

Buddhism entered Cambodia via two different streams. The earliest forms of Buddhism, along with Hindu influences, entered the Kingdom of Funan with Hindu merchants. In later history, a second stream of Buddhism entered Khmer culture during the Angkor empire when Cambodia absorbed the various Buddhist traditions of the Mon kingdoms of Dvaravati and Haripunchai.Buddhism has appeared and disappeared several times.

How many times did Buddhism come to your country?

Buddhism in Cambodia or Khmer Buddhism has existed since at least the 5th century. In its earliest form it was a type of Mahāyāna Buddhism. Today, the predominant form of Buddhism in Cambodia is Theravada Buddhism. It is enshrined in the Cambodian constitution as the official religion of the country. Theravada Buddhism has been the Cambodian state religion since the 13th century as of 2013 it was estimated that 97.9 percent of the population are Buddhists.

Each country has their own form of Buddhism like Mahayana in Japan, Tibetan in Mongolia and so on. What form of Buddhism is followed in your country?

Cambodians are Buddhists to a degree of about 95%. Nearly every ethnic Khmer in Cambodia, which makes up at least 90% of the population, practises Theravada Buddhism. It has served as the state’s recognised religion from around the fifteenth century. In 1989, Buddhism once again became the state religion. Cambodia had 4,000 gilded Buddhist temples that were populated by monks wea ring saffron robes as of 2008.