The congregation had to be inaugurated by Chairman Indian Council of Cultural Relations Karan Singh. The Dalai Lama is scheduled to give his valedictory address on Wednesday.
The President and the Prime Minister were invited and had agreed to attend the conference. However, they denied it afterwards, said a functionary of Asoka Mission, which has organised the congregation.
Though no one is speaking out openly about Chinese objection to the Tibetan spiritual leader addressing the conference, it has made the monks unhappy. Expressing the displeasure, main organiser of the congregation Lama Lobzang told Deccan Herald, “China is nobody to decide where he should speak, where not. How can they dictate such things?”
The Lama, who heads Asoka Mission, said: “The congregation is purely religious and it has nothing to do with politics.”
The four-day congregation shot into controversy when China wanted the Indian government to prohibit the Dalai Lama from addressing the conclave attended by close to 1,000 monks across the world. India rejected the Chinese demand on the ground that the Dalai Lama was an honoured guest of the country and a revered spiritual leader.
Chinese anxiety mainly relates to recent happenings in Tibet, where as many as nine Buddhist monks and two nuns have resorted to self immolation to protest violations of human rights and the repressions.
Beijing apprehends that the Dalai Lama may use the platform to highlight the issue.
On Sunday, the first day of the session, no direct reference to Tibet or any other place was made. However, there were comments on the plight of Buddhist heritage and traditions. Angdava Sherpa, Member of Parliament in Nepal, referred to attack on cultural traditions and demanded that the congregation oppose it. Her stand received wide support. Sherpa has skipped ongoing session of Parliament in her country to attend the congregation. Many senior monks endorsed the idea of global unity of Buddhists keeping aside differences of sects.