Dalai Lama, Karmapa lead Buddha Purnima celebrations in India (Roundup)

Thursday, May 27, 2010

PATNA/NEW DELHI - Thousands of Buddhists from all over the world, including the Dalai Lama and the Karmapa, Thursday led the Buddha Purnima celebrations in India that was attended by hundreds of monks from as far as Tibet and Nepal.

The Dalai Lama, leader of the Tibetan community, inaugurated a sprawling 22-acre park in Patna to commemorate Lord Buddha’s 2,554th birth anniversary that is celebrated as Buddha Purnima.

It is the most sacred day for Buddhists as it not just marks the birth anniversary, but also enlightenment and passing to final Nirvana of Lord Buddha.

The inauguration of the Rs.125-crore Buddha Smriti (memorial) Park was attended by delegations from four predominantly Buddhist countries — Sri Lanka, Myanmar, Japan and Thailand.

The foreign delegations brought consecrated Buddha urns and gifts that were kept at the memorial park by the Dalai Lama. He also planted a sapling of the tree under which Buddha is believed to have attained enlightenment in Bodh Gaya.

In Bodh Gaya, hundreds of Buddhists from across the world celebrated the occasion, the focus of the events being the Mahabodhi temple that is the faith’s holiest shrine.

Delhi celebrated Buddha Purnima, enriched by the presence of hundreds of monks and lamas from all over the country besides Tibet and Nepal, including the Karmapa, one of the most important lineage holders of the teachings of Tibetan Buddhism.

As it is the first time that Buddha Purnima has fallen on the same day as per the Hindu and Tibetan calendars, it made the day very auspicious. The celebrations were marked by the arrival of the 17th Karmapa, Trinley Thaye Dorje, spiritual head of the Karma Kagyu tradition of Tibetan Buddhism.

“The Dharma is known as one of the best objectives of life, and it is accepted by one and all as the path of peace and prosperity. I pray for the sake of world peace and urge you all to do the same to overcome evil and the power of love to overcome unrest among all the people of the entire nation,” Dorje said.

In Dharamsala, where the Dalai Lama and most Tibetans live in exile since they fled to India in 1959, special prayers, sermons and recitation of Buddhist scriptures were conducted to mark the occasion by thousands of faithful followers.

Over 150,000 Tibetans live outside Tibet, most of them in India. There are an estimated six million Tibetans worldwide, including in Tibet.

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