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International Buddhist conference in Sarnath on Wednesday

IANS | July 12, 2022 12:02 PM

VARANASI: The International Buddhist Confederation (IBC), under the aegis of Union Ministry of Culture will celebrate the forthcoming Ashadha Purnima on Wednesday (July 13) the Dharma Chakra Pravartana Divas at Mulagandha Kuti Vihara, Sarnath.

This is the annual flagship event of IBC and the second most sacred day for Buddhists after the Buddha Purnima or the Vaishakha Purnima.

IBC is hosting a grand event at Mulagandha Kuti Vihara where the Sakhyamuni's Holy relic is enshrined.

This is in keeping with the historical legacy of India, the land of Buddha's enlightenment, his turning of the wheels of Dhamma and Mahaparinirvana.

A video address by President of India, Ram Nath Kovind and Prime Minister Narendra Modi will be presented at the outset of the programme where other speakers include Governor of Uttar Pradesh Anandiben Patel and Minister of State for External Affairs Meenakashi Lekhi

Many other dignitaries and the patriarchs of Buddhist Sanghas, eminent Masters and Scholars from around the world and IBC chapters, member organisations will be participating in the event.

The focus of the 'Talks and Presentations' will be on the "Significance of Ashadha Purnima".

It will also include a live demonstration of Nalanda Debate which involves two debaters arguing on their understanding of Dharma in the Tibetan language, with a translator explaining each one's arguments. This demonstration will provide a glimpse of the Buddhist version, nuances of the Dharma and its practice in the Monasteries around the country, as a learning method for the young Monks of today.

It may be recalled that it was at Sarnath that Buddha gave his first sermon, setting the wheel of dharma in motion.

The auspicious day of Ashadha Purnima which falls on the full moon day of the month of Ashadha as per Indian lunar calendar is also known as Esala Poya in Sri Lanka and Asanha Bucha in Thailand.

The day marks Buddha's first teaching after attaining Enlightenment to the first five ascetic disciples on the full-moon day of Ashadha at 'Deer Park', (Risipatana Mrigadaya) in the present day Sarnath, near Varanasi.

This teaching of Dharma Chakra Pravartana Sutra (Sanskrit) is also known as the Turning of Wheels of Dharma and comprises the Four Noble Truths and the Noble Eightfold Path.

The rainy season retreat (Varsha Vassa) for the monks and nuns also starts with this day lasting for three lunar months from July to October, during which they remain in a single place, generally in their temples dedicated to intensive meditation. They are served during this period by the lay community who also observe eight precepts and meditate under the guidance of their teachers.

The day is also observed as Guru Purnima by both Buddhists and Hindus as a day to mark reverence to their Gurus.

The International Buddhist Confederation (IBC) was formed in 2012 as a global umbrella Buddhist body with headquarters in New Delhi.

Established under the patronage of the supreme Buddhist religious hierarchy, it currently has a membership drawn from 39 countries, of over 320 organisations, both monastic and lay, that include world bodies, national and regional federations, orders, temple bodies and monasteries and international organizations, institutions etc.

The IBC stands for the preservation, development and promotion of Buddhist heritage, both tangible and intangible worldwide, especially the holy sites like Bodh Gaya in India, where Buddha attained Enlightenment.

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