More than a thousand Buddhists are in Burma for the World Buddhist Summit as it enters its second day.
The summit in Rangoon opened Thursday with the ceremonial ringing of 108 bells and an address by Burmese Prime Minister General Soe Win. Government head General Than Shwe made a rare, brief appearance.
The prime ministers of Thailand and Laos attended, as well as believers from other parts of Asia, Australia, and the United States. They came despite boycotts from some Buddhist groups over human rights violations by Burma's military government.
Burma alone is sponsoring the event after its main sponsor, a Japanese sect called Nenbutsushu, withdrew funding after former Burmese Prime Minister Khin Nyunt was removed from office in October.
The three-day summit concludes Saturday.
Information for this report is provided by Reuters, AFP and AP.