Pandemic festivities of Vesak Day

Arts & Culture Pandemic World

To celebrate the 2565th Buddha Purnima Diwas today, Prime Minister Narendar Modi delivered a keynote address in the international event, Virtual Vesak Global Celebrations, organised by the Ministry of Culture. 

Sonepat: For a second consecutive year, devotees are either celebrating Buddha’s birthday at home, online, or amidst COVID-19 restrictions in public spaces. 

“As Delhi is under lockdown, no monasteries are opened and the celebration stays limited. I’ve painted Buddha today, and I’m listening to Buddha Purnima music. I will also light candles in the evening,” said Shruti, a follower of Buddhism.  

Bhadant Yashpaal, a priest of Buddhism from Maharashtra said that they’ve shifted the entire celebration of Buddha Purnima online.  He said, “Before the pandemic, we used to organise a number of rallies, where all the devotees and followers came together to celebrate the birth of Lord Buddha.” He added, “The priests in our temple gave speeches and shared the life teachings of Buddha. We all sat together, conducted a day of prayers and offerings; and remembered the beliefs of Buddhism. It was a peaceful time.” 

But because of the ongoing lockdown, said Yashpaal, priests are now delivering their speeches online.  

In India, Ministry of Culture organised an international Buddha Purnima event, in collaboration with the International Buddhist Confederation (IBC); where Prahlad Singh Patel, Minister of State (Independent Charge) of the Ministry of Culture and Tourism, and Kiren Rijiju, Union Minister of State for Youth Affairs, Sports and Minority Affairs joined keynote speaker PM Narendra Modi to address the audience.  

The Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) said in a press release yesterday that “the event will witness participation of all the supreme heads of the Buddhist Sanghas from around the world” and that “over 50 most prominent Buddhist religious leaders from around the world will address the congregation.”

In his keynote address on the occasion of Vesak Global Celebrations on Buddha Purnima, PM Modi said that the path shown by Buddha is absolutely relevant in current times. “Lord Buddha’s teachings and the importance given to social justice can become a global unifying force,” he said. 

On the occasion, India is to gift 50 volumes of the Kanjur published by the National Mission for Manuscripts to Mongolia, according to the Culture Ministry. The Ministry tweeted, “It is the most sacred Buddhist text in Mongolia, containing ‘Concise Orders’ of Lord Buddha, and granting cultural identity to the country.”

Greetings continue to pour in for Vesak — a day that marks the birth and enlightenment of Buddha. In another press release yesterday, Shri Ram Nath Kovind, The President of India, said, “On the auspicious occasion of Buddha Purnima, I extend my best wishes to all the fellow citizens and followers of Lord Buddha all over the world.” He further said, “We are faced with an unprecedented crisis in the form of COVID-19 pandemic. On this auspicious festival of Buddha Purnima, I pray that through our solidarity and collective resolve, may we emerge successfully from this pandemic and continue to move steadfastly towards the well-being of people at large.” 

India is not the only country celebrating the birth and death anniversary of Lord Buddha. This day is a UN-recognised international holiday that’s celebrated worldwide by the followers of Buddhism. Countries such as Indonesia, Singapore, Vietnam, Thailand, and South Korea share this celebration as well.  

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