Buddha Purnima celebrations at Theravada Buddhist Society in Itanagar, Arunachal Pradesh

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– Chow Bilaseng Namchoom

The Buddhist community on May 11, 2017 celebrated the Buddha Jayanti, the thrice blessed day symbolising Buddha’s birth, enlightenment and salvation (Nirvana) across the state with religious fervour and gaiety.

At Itanagar, the capital of Arunachal Pradesh, the 2561st Buddha Jayanti was jointly celebrated paying immense respect to the epitome of peace and non-violence by Theravada Buddhist Society and Itanagar Buddhist Cultural Society under the banner of 2561st Buddha Jayanti Joint Celebration Committee (BJJCC). To mark the auspicious occasion, thousands of Buddhists congregated at Theravada Buddhist Vihara and Thuptan Ga-Tselling Monastery, Itanagar with great zeal and enthusiasm.

The main event of the day was the religious procession in which people in large number chanting “Buddham Sharnam Gachhami, Dhammam Sharnam Gachhami, Sanggham Sharnam Gachhami” as well as carrying holy scripts and sacred books along with the statue of Lord Buddha went from Theravada Buddhist Monastery to culminate at Thuptan Ga-Tselling Monastery.

The auspicious occasion was graced by Minister PHE & WS, PA, IPR and Printing Bamang Felix as Chief Guest, DC Itanagar Capital Complex Prince Dhawan as Guest of Honour and Speaker T. N. Thongduk as special guest and other distinguished guests.

The event began with the lighting of traditional lamp by the chief guest and dignitaries.

Addressing the mammoth gathering, Felix said that teachings of the Buddha have been a way of life as Buddhism is based on peace, friendship, compassion and non-violence and it is taken as a peace religion.

He said that the celebrations are of great spiritual significance as an occasion for all of us to reflect on and draw inspiration from prominence of the Buddha on peace, harmony and tolerance.

Speaking on the occasion, Deputy Commissioner Dhawan spoke on the Dhamma, and said that the truth taught by the Buddha can be uncovered gradually through sustained practice. He also said that there is Buddha in each one of us, what we need is to ignite it.

While Speaker T. N. Thongduk stressed upon following Buddha’s teaching and path to develop love, compassion and generosity which helps in maintaining a good communal harmony and unity in the region.

Earlier, Chairman BJJCC Y. D. Thongchi gave the key note address on Buddhism.

Head Monk of Theravada Buddhist Monastery, Venerable Ratnadeepa also spoke on the occasion highlighting the teachings of the Buddha.

On this auspicious occasion BJJCC in collaboration with R. K. Mission Hospital and Health Department organised blood donation camp where many donors registered to donate blood during emergency need.

One act play on untouchability by the students of Nrityangan School enthralled the crowd. Offering of world peace prayer, illuminations of lamps in monastery and community feast were the other attraction of the celebration.

At Namsai, the Deputy Chief Minister Chowna Mein joined in the 2561 Buddha Jayanti Celebrations organised by the Pariyatti Sasana Buddha Vihara at Namsai. He took part in the religious procession around Namsai town along with Parliamentary Secretary Chow Zingnu Namchoom, Ven. Aggadhamma Mahathero, abot of the Pariyatti Sasana Buddha Vihara, Namsai, a host of monks and devotees.

During the Dhamma Sabha, Mein termed the Buddha Jayanti as a very important and auspicious day for the Buddhist community. He said that we are Buddhist by birth but still ignorant about many facets of the religion and its philosophy and called for better propagation and imparting teachings on the same. He expressed the need for preservation and promotion of Buddhist religious culture. Namsai district is an abode of Theravada Buddhism but people do not practice the principles of Buddhism and was particularly concerned about the rampant hunting of wild animals. He said hunting ought to be banned and compassion towards wildlife needs to be promoted.

Mein also suggested for celebration of Buddha Jayanti on a larger scale in future and the different organisations of the community must collectively organise it. He advocated for institutionalization of the Buddhist Viharas so that it can diversify its services like in health and education sectors instead of remaining just centres of religious teachings.

Chow Zingnu Namchoom while taking part in the deliberations exhorted to follow and propagate the teachings of Lord Buddha.

Ven. Aggadhamma Mahathero wished and prayed for peace, success and prosperity for everyone. Earlier he had hoisted the World Buddhist Flag after the religious procession. He had also in his personal capacity consecrated a stupa in the vihara premises on the occasion.

The other programmes marking the 2561 Buddha Jayanti were ordination of ten novices  (Pabbajja Samanera) and three days non-stop Pathan chanting which concluded today. The celebration concluded with Khamsin Thomtra.

While, the Mahabodhi Lord Buddha College Namsai organised a grand procession from its premises to culminate at Pali Vidyapith School Chongkham where students and people from all walk of life participated. Later, a blood donation camp was also organised in Pali Vidyapith School Chongkham, reported Venerable Panyaloka.

The auspicious occasion was also celebrated at Golden Pagoda (Kongmu Kham) Monastery, Lathao, Empong, Phanneng in Namsai dist, Tezu in Lohit district, Changlang dist and in Tawang and West Kameng districts.

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