Ministry of Culture commemorated the “Thrice blessed day of Buddha’s Birth, Enlightenment and Mahaparinirvana”, falling on the auspicious Full moon day of Vaisakha in the presence of Shri Prakash Javadekar, Minister for Human Resources Development, Dr. Mahesh Sharma, Minister of State (I/C) for Culture and Tourism and Shri Kiran Rijuju, Minister of State for Home Affairs at a function here today.
On this auspicious occasion of Buddha Jayanti Celebration 2017, Ministry of Culture felicitated Prof. S.R. Bhatt, an eminent scholar of Buddhism who has made immense contribution to the preservation and promotion of Buddhism. Mangalacharan in Theravada tradition and chanting of Monks of Mahayana tradition was performed. Prof. Geshe Ngawang Samten delivered Buddha Updesh and Renowned dancer Shovana Narayan performed on the theme ‘Shunyata’.
Addressing on the occasion, Shri Prakash Javadekar said that the teachings of Bhagwan Buddha are very popular worldwide and the Ministry of Human Resources Development is working on inculcating the teachings of Bhagwan Buddha in the text books as his teachings are still very relevant. He opined that the aim of imparting education should not only be confined to gaining knowledge and getting skilled for employment but should focus on preparing an ideal person also. He emphasized on improving the curriculum framework of NCERT textbooks.
Dr. Mahesh Sharma, in his address said that Buddhism has left a great impact on social and cultural life of our country and Bhagwan Buddha’s entire events of life took place in India. His three baskets, known as Tripitaka, contain the ethical discipline, the methods of training of mind and the ground and modes of the cultivation of wisdom. Seven out of Eight religious places associated with Bhagwan Buddha are situated in India. He emphasized that the Government of India is dedicated to the preservation and promotion of monuments, holy shrines and places of Buddhism in India to provide better facilities to pilgrims and tourists.
Shri Kiran Rijuju, in his address said that the entire World looks at India as to what India is doing for Buddhism. He opined that India can again become Super Power if it continues to follow the path shown by Bhagwan Buddha. He said that the Ministry of Home Affairs has taken an important step in easing the norms of e-visa for foreign tourists.
The Buddha Jayanti falls on the Vaisakha Purnima, that is, on the full moon day of the month of Vaisakha according to the Indian lunar calendar. This is the most important occasion for Buddhists celebrating the Gautama Buddha’s birth, enlightenment and Mahaparinirvana on the same day. In the first meeting of “World Fellowship of Buddhist” held at Colombo, Sri Lanka in May 1950, it was decided to commemorate Vaisakha Purnima as the Buddha’s thrice blessed day.
India is the origin of many world religions including the Buddhism. Buddha’s entire events of like took place in India. The advent of the Buddha Sakyamuni in 6th century BCE brought a radical reformation in the culture of philosophy and spirituality in the India. His teaching of Karuna, compassion, and Maitri, loving kindness, give an equal perspective towards all sentient beings including human beings within which no classes are allowed. With the philosophy of dependent origination and practice of non-violence rooted in love and compassion, Buddhism made immense contribution to the culture of peace.
Buddhism being an important heritage of India’s ancient glorious legacy, Indian government took various initiatives for the promotion of Buddhism. In 1956, Government of India organized the 2500th anniversary of Buddha’s Mahaparinirvana as international mega event.
Nava Nalanda Mahavihara was established in 1951 in Nalanda, Bihar to revive the ancient seat of learning in Nalanda. In 1959, Central Institute of Buddisht Studies was established in Leh, Laddhak. In 1968, Central Institute of Higher Tibetan Studies was established for the promotion of Buddhist and Tibetan studies. Central Institute of Himalayan Culture Studies, Dahung, Arunachal Pradesh was established in 2003. Again in 2010 Nalanda University was established at Rajgir to recreate the Ancient centre of Wisdom. These institutions have been productive in bringing publications of Tripitaka and restorations and translations of the lost works of the great masters of Ancient Nalanda and other high learning centres.
On regular basis the Government of India organises major events like international conference Baudha Mahotsava and Vaisakhapurnima, the day of the Buddha’s birth, enlightenment and mahaparinirvana. The recent international conference in March organised at Rajgir was landmark event which was attended by scholars from 35 countries deliberating on various issues under the umbrella “Buddhist Response to the Crises of 21st Century”. This was inaugurated by His Holiness the Dalai Lama and concluded by the President of India. This is one of the series of major events organised by Ministry of Culture under the leadership of Dr. Mahesh Sharma, Ministr for Culture and Tourism to promote Buddhism.
With profound spiritual and academic foundation, Buddhism has left a great impact on social and cultural life of India in the past. As India has enshrined the drama wheel of Buddhism on the national flag, the nation is dedicated to disseminate the Buddha’s message of compassion and loving kindness to develop a peaceful society and to enlighten the humanity.