DENPASAR, BALI, July 3, 2013 (Khabar Southeast Asia): Hindu leaders and scholars from more than 21 countries called for enhancing tolerance during the second World Hindu Summit (WHS), held in Bali from June 13th to June 17th. "We happily announce to the world that harmony and tolerance shall prevail and that acceptance is the basic principle of our relationship, with our brothers of same faith or with our brothers of the different faiths. Hindu believes in one world, one God Supreme, and one World Family. There are no boundaries or borders in Hindu Dharma. We are all one, we share the same fate and destiny," the summit declaration said.
A similar tone was expressed by the newly elected president of the World Hindu Parisad, Ida Pedanda Gede Ketut Sebali Tianyar Arimbawa. He called on Hindus to enhance tolerance. "We are calling for all Hindu devotees to always be respectful to each other and accepting of different faiths," the Hindu high priest said.
Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono addressed the assembled leaders in a speech to the opening ceremony of the 35th Bali Arts Festival, attended by WHS participants. "I urge Hindu devotees from all around the world to always embody a harmonious and peaceful life," he said. He also urged Indonesians across the archipelago to maintain tolerance. "We should firmly refuse any forms of violence committed in the name of a specific religion or identity because that is simply not consistent with our values and character as a nation that respects pluralism," he said, stressing the nation's motto of Bhinneka Tunggal Ika (Unity in Diversity).
As many as 500 Hindu leaders and scholars attended the second WHS. The WHS discussed many contemporary issues including tolerance, the environment, health, science, human rights, and globalisation. It also launched two new international Hindu organisations, both based in Bali: the World Hindu Parisad, a forum for discussion and deliberation among members, and its implementation arm, the World Hindu Centre. Creation of the two organisations was mandated during the first WHS, held in Bali in 2012.