Buddhist Leaders Gather to Discuss Buddhism's Role in HIV/AIDS Prevention, Treatment
Buddhist leaders from Cambodia, China, Myanmar, Thailand and Vietnam are meeting in Bangkok, Thailand, beginning today for a five-day conference to review the religion's response to Asia's HIV/AIDS crisis, Agence France-Presse reports. At the UNICEF-sponsored conference, 60 monks, nuns and government officials will examine ways to reduce the spread of HIV/AIDS and the suffering caused by the disease in the region. National efforts, such as a Cambodian law that supports Buddhist clergy and institutions in HIV/AIDS prevention and care, will be discussed. However, no specific regional initiatives will be proposed. Supreme Patriarch Somdech Tep Vong, Cambodia's Buddhist leader, who will preside over the seminar, said, "It is part of the traditional role for monks and nuns to provide a refuge for the people. By taking the Buddha as our example, we ... can help bring an end to the suffering caused by HIV and AIDS." Buddhist ideals of moderation, self-discipline and compassion are "central to effective HIV prevention and care," according to a UNICEF statement, Agence France-Presse reports (Agence France-Presse, 8/24).
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