PM Narendra Modi to address international Buddhist event on Baisakh Purnima
Prime Minister Narendra Modi will give the keynote speech at the online prayer session held by the International Buddhist Confederation in Delhi on Wednesday May 26, when Buddhists around the world are celebrating Vesak (also known as Baisakh Purnima in India) to commemorate Buddha’s birth, enlightenment, and nirvana amid restrictions imposed to fight Covid-19 pandemic.
The prayer session will be telecast on the Facebook page of the Mahabodhi temple, where Lord Buddha attained enlightenment at Bodh Gaya and from Lumbini, the birth site of Lord Buddha in Nepal and Candy in Sri Lanka.
During his virtual address at the event in the middle of the first wave of the Covid-19 last year, the Prime Minister stressed on India’s commitment to serve humanity and highlighted the country’s supply of critical drugs and humanitarian aid to several countries to help fight the pandemic.
The virtual programme will be attended by many believers, monks, scholars and experts, who will offer prayers, chant Buddhist Sutras and also discuss Buddhist philosophy.
No visitors will be allowed at the Mahabodhi temple due to the ongoing lockdown to contain the number of Covid cases in Bihar. “But there will be prayers in the Mahayana and Thearavada traditions. It will be followed by the Kheer Daan and Chivar Daan,” Gajendra Kumar, an official of the Bodh Gaya Temple Management Committee (BTMC) said. The prayers will start at 8am and will be telecast live on the Facebook page of the BTMC. Anybody can participate in this online prayers session, he added.
Live prayers and chanting of Buddhist Sutras have been planned at 101 sites across the world during the Vesak festival. The Sri Lanka Broadcasting Corporation has been airing the Ratana Sutta since last week with prayers to ease Covid-19 surge in India.
In Bihar it will be held at Silao, a site believed to be connected to Mahakasyapa, an enlightened disciple of Buddha and also to Shilabhadra, another Buddhist scholar and vice chancellor of the ancient Nalanda University.
Vesak is a special day to mark three key events in Buddha’s life, his birthday, the attainment of enlightenment and the achievement of Nirvana.
The United Nations acknowledged it as the International Day of Vesak in 1999 and since then it’s celebrated internationally including at the UN offices and at UNESCO.