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Buddha Jayanti Celebrated in Lumbini

3 Weeks ago   July 02, 2024   Visted:58  

Buddha Jayanti Celebrated in Lumbini

Develop Lumbini as a 'Birthing Center' for Buddhists Worldwide: Prime Minister Prachanda

Lumbini, Jeth 10 — Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal 'Prachanda' has announced plans to develop Lumbini as a 'birthing center' for Buddhists worldwide. Addressing the 2568th Buddha Jayanti and Lumbini Day 2081 ceremony on Thursday, Prime Minister Prachanda emphasized the potential of transforming Lumbini, the birthplace of Buddha, into a global center for Buddhists, which would in turn foster the development of Lumbini and the entire nation.

Recalling his tenure as the chairperson of the Greater Lumbini National Steering Committee formed in 2068 B.S., he shared his efforts in collaboration with UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to promote archaeological excavation, preservation, and promotion. Prime Minister Prachanda highlighted the ongoing archaeological efforts in Kapilvastu, Devadaha, and Ramgram to yield new developmental outcomes for the local communities.

He also mentioned that during Nepal's third investment summit, the Greater Lumbini Development Project proposal was presented to the global community, inviting foreign investment. Prachanda expressed his belief that this project would significantly contribute to the development of the Lumbini region. He envisions Lumbini as a sacred pilgrimage site that every Buddhist and common person feels compelled to visit at least once in their lifetime.

 

The current government, he stated, is committed to developing Buddha’s birthplace into a destination for world peace and religious tourism, guided by Buddha's teachings and ideology. He noted that his address in Lumbini alongside UN Secretary-General António Guterres had positively influenced global peace efforts. "Addressing the formal ceremony in Lumbini, Secretary-General Guterres and I appealed for world peace, which has since inspired efforts to resolve global conflicts," he said.

Prime Minister Prachanda emphasized that Buddha's birthplace not only brings global recognition to Nepal but also opens unlimited possibilities through religious tourism. He pointed out that the Asoka Pillar inscription, erected by Emperor Asoka, irrefutably confirms Buddha’s birth in Lumbini. He urged for the swift completion of the remaining tasks of the Lumbini Master Plan and included Lumbini in the list of national pride projects to expedite its development. He also reminisced about the successful organization of the Second World Buddhist Summit in 2004 and announced plans to host the third summit soon.

Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Narayan Kaji Shrestha remarked that Buddha's teachings, which emphasize believing only after testing, are scientific and essential for today's world. He highlighted the role of Lumbini in global peace and the benefits of mindfulness practices in Buddha’s teachings for human health.

 

Lumbini Province Chief Minister Jokh Bahadur Mahara affirmed the provincial government’s support for making Buddha’s birthplace globally renowned. He stressed the pride Lumbini brings to the province as the birthplace of the Apostle of Peace and the potential for development through religious tourism.

Culture, Tourism, and Civil Aviation Minister Hon. Hit Bahadur Tamang noted that Lumbini, as a World Heritage Site, is not only Nepal’s pride but also a spiritual center whose development is linked to national dignity. He emphasized the need to retain tourists for longer durations in Lumbini and mentioned the ongoing efforts to complete the remaining tasks of the Lumbini Master Plan.

Vice-Chairperson of the Lumbini Development Trust, Dr. Lhakyal Lama (Khenpo Chimed), described Lumbini as a center of peace, harmony, and unity. He urged for the global dissemination of Buddha’s teachings, asserting that they are key to world peace. He expressed that celebrating Buddha Jayanti in the presence of the Prime Minister has inspired the Buddhist community.

The ceremony featured speeches from BIMSTEC Secretary-General Indra Mani Pandey, Indian Ambassador Naveen Srivastava, Thai Ambassador Suwapong Sirison, Sri Lankan Ambassador Marshal Sudarshana Pathirana, and UN Resident Coordinator Ms. Hanaa Singer-Hamdy, all of whom highlighted the universal relevance of Buddha’s teachings. Before the ceremony, Prime Minister Prachanda participated in a prayer session at the Mayadevi Temple. A procession showcasing traditional attire of various ethnic groups was also organized, as noted by Member Secretary Sanuraja Shakya. Additionally, individuals from various sectors were honored on this occasion.

Senior Director Gyanin Rai informed that the event was attended by Labor and Employment Minister Dol Prasad Aryal, Speaker of Lumbini Province Tul Bahadur Gharti, Member of the House of Representatives Basudeva Ghimire, Lumbini Province ministers, provincial assembly members, local representatives, Rinpoche, Buddhist religious leaders, monks, and nuns.