500 participants found happiness in the here and now at the Buddhist Conference 2554, held 23 October at Kong Meng San Phor Kark See Monastery, Singapore. The conference was organised by Dharma In Action (DIA), an informal gathering of energetic and enthusiastic Buddhists working together to promote Buddhism as a lifestyle in Singapore.

The day started with participants wishing themselves and all beings well and happy, with a Metta meditation session led by Venerable Chuan Ren.

Mr Danai Chanchaochai, Thai CEO cum Dharma work extraordinaire, then spoke on The Priceless Nature of Happiness – Why Money Cannot Buy Happiness, sharing from his vast experience how to achieve and maintain happiness in the workplace.

Extending the understanding and practice of true happiness, Geshe Tenzin Zopa from Nepal explored what it means to be a happy Buddhist and shared how Buddhists should practice to transform our own minds and karma.

In bite-sized sessions in between talks, Venerable Faxun from Singapore taught how everyday happiness can be achieved through small, simple steps such as being mindful of one’s breath while commuting on public transport. The Venerable also co-wrote a booklet, DIY Happiness, which contained tips for Buddhists and non-Buddhists alike to find peace and joy by doing simple things such as spending time with oneself and mindfully picking up the phone.

The breakout sessions had a strong focus on concrete action and discussion, where participants could interact freely with speakers and in between themselves.

To transform the mind, the practice of meditation is integral.

Highlighting the importance of meditation, Geshe Tenzin Zopa introduced the building blocks to successful meditation in his workshop.

In another workshop, Dr Phang Cheng Kar, President of the Kuala Lumpur Buddhist Mental Health Association, imparted useful techniques to cope with expectations and stress at the workplace.

Mr Vijaya Samarawickrama, an international conference speaker and author of Buddhist books from Malaysia, gave a witty talk on how the Dharma can be applied for harmonious personal relationships.

Geshe-la, Dr Phang and Mr Vijaya then shared their insight and rich life experiences with the audience in the plenary session, where participants could ask questions. The conference ended on a joyful note with a blessing session by Venerables from the three Buddhist traditions.

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