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Human Interest

Buddha Purnima in Mongolia

IANS | June 14, 2022 07:17 PM

ULAANBAATAR: Mongolia celebrates Buddha Purnima on Tuesday (June 14) marking the birth of Siddhartha Gautam (Gautam Buddha) on this day.

The government decided to declare this day a national holiday in 2019. While the streets bore an empty look due to offices being closed, at the same time one could see large number of holiday-makers enjoying the beautiful weather with the temperature hovering around 18 degrees and a cool breeze blowing. But the city is also charged because of the arrival of the Buddha relic from India, further enhancing the relevance of this day.

A large crowd had gathered in and around the Gandan Monastery in the capital city of Ulaanbataar since early morning, marking the day and to pay their obeisance to the relic. The Indian delegation which arrived at the venue led by Minister of Law and Justice Kiren Rijiju was overwhelmed by the rousing welcome they received at the Gandan Monastery. The extent and depth of faith that prevails among people in Mongolia towards Buddhism and towards India is unfathomable.

The crowd was so overawed with the arrival of the relic from India which they consider as the land of the Buddhha that some among them were trying to touch the Indian delegation members as if to make a connect with those from the 'land of the Buddha'. While the delegation took its place at the Gandan Monastery where more than thousand people had gathered, another 3,000 strong procession of Buddhist monks and followers reached the Gandan Monastery in a procession that travelled through the city.

The delegation led by Rijiju received the procession along with the Mongolian Minister of Culture Nomin Chinbat and Khamba Nomun Khan of the Gandan Monastery. A professional music choir set the pace for the day with a piece from the Mongolian national music collection. They later played two more wonderful themes mesmerising the audience. This was followed by a prayer marking the placing of the relic in the casket before the altar which forms part of the platform in front of the large Buddha statue that adorns the temple.

In his speech on the occasion, Khan, Head of the Gandan Monastery, and the Speaker of the Mongolian Parliament, highlighted the enormous role played by India in promoting Buddhism in Mongolia and various aspects of Buddhism in Mongolia. They also highlighted the relevance of this important day and how it was the Buddha's blessings which had saved the country from the pandemic and other challenges. They reiterated the extent of peace and harmony that the Buddhist faith had brought about in the Mongolian society and now with the relic being brought in, they claimed that there was a strong sense of connect among the people of India and Mongolia.

During his speech to the gathering, Rijiju mentioned that Buddha is a shining example of compassion, peace and non-violence. He said that the Buddha's teachings are eternal and touches human values at the core of Buddhist philosophy. He mentioned that during his last two visits and on this visit too, he felt the warmth and affection of the people of Mongolia and hence it was all the more a matter of pride and honour for him to bring the relic to Mongolia. He appreciated the fact that the Mongolian people had seen a 55 episode serial on the Buddha prepared in India, which was dubbed in Mongolian. Rijiju also mentioned that on this sacred day, one should pray to shun violence and ensure that no pain comes in lives of people.

Referring to parts of speech given by Prime Minister Narendra Modi during his 2015 visit to Mongolia, Rijiju reiterated his statement to the effect that "Indians and Mongolians are telling the world that the bonds of hearts and minds have the strength to overcome the barriers of distance." On his part, Rijiju mentioned that being a Buddhist, he himself had a special connect with Buddhism. He said that the Buddha was a shining example of compassion and his teaching are eternal and touches human values at the core of Buddhist philosophy.

The event was a grand one with a large gathering witnessing it with some of the senior most dignitaries present on the occasion. There is no doubt that the relic from India flown on board a special plane by Rijiju and the delegation has made the people of Mongolia realise the love and affection that India and Indians have for this country. Coverage in the local media was a clear evidence of the tremendous success of the visit.

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