Dignitaries gather on the first day of ‘Bodhi Saptah’ at Mahatma Mandir

Ahmedabad: Gujarat provided an international platform to reassert the religion of peace and the teachings of Tathagat with the 2nd International Buddhist Conference on Sunday held at Mahatma Mandir on Sunday. Scheduled to be held till September 23rd at Mahatma Mandir, Gandhinagar, the first day of Bodhi Saptah, led by the Sangha Kaya Foundation, was graced by the presence of Shri Ramdas Athawale, Minister of Social Justice, Govt. of India, Bollywood actor Ravi Kishan, and His Excellency, Prince Thanora Norodom, the Prince of Cambodia, along with various other national and foreign delegates of artists, scholars, state representatives along with monks and other spiritual gurus.

The congregation initiated with a peace walk early morning near Mahatma Mandir, where around more than 100 monks and Buddhist followers participated.

Dignitaries from Gujarat promoted places in the state like Devni Mori, Junagadh, Baroda, Vadnagar, Valabi, spots which are still manifest with the essence of Buddhism, and are rife with spiritual tourism value. While Gujarat found its own place in the international Buddhist circuit , Buddhism itself found a cultural expression in the contemporary world through the dance forms of South and South-East Asia, the parts of the world where Buddha’s teachings found their first expression.

“The relevance of recently unveiled Buddhist Heritage sites of Gujarat which clearly speaks of the profound Buddhist and Asokan legacy, if accurately exhibited along with the international Buddhist Community will unquestionably enhance the uncharted cultural and spiritual Tourism in Gujarat by drawing the attention of pious Pilgrims from South, South-East Asia, Far East etc. This again contributes in already established and rich culture of Gujarat, rather enhancing it and also adds on and creates new vertical of job opportunities for the unskilled and semi skilled people of the state” said Bhante Prashil Gautam, President, Sangha Kaya Foundation.

Other dignitaries of the convocation included names like Dr. Pornchai (President, World Alliance of Buddhist), Bhante Sadanand Mahathero, (President, All India Bhikshu Saangha), Acharya Dr. Lokeshmuniji, Mr. Jenu Devan, Commissioner of Tourism, Lamria Lobsang, Secretary of IBC, Nalinhtron Dhammasiriboon, President and Founder of DMSB and Mr. Atharvyu, (Secretary Yatradham, Govt. of Gujarat). The guests navigated through the diverse strands of Buddhism and its prospective role in resolving critical issues of the world.

“Siddhartha Gautama felt the need to establish a new philosophy that will teach the masses how to love one another beyond categories. For that he had to forsake everything, which he could do only through one thing- a selfless heart. His selflessness gave the country Baba Ambedkar, and the constitution made by him, for which he found the strength in Buddha’s teachings. His selflessness had also given the country Asoka and the chakra, the symbol of ‘Dhamma’— the right path. As long as Baba’s constitution is intact and as long as the chakra holds high in the tricolor, none can break the integrity of this country,” said Shri Ramdas Athawale, Minister of Social Justice.

“I especially would like to thank Sanghkaya Foundation for inviting me to this Buddhist congregation, because the peace that I have found here through the reiteration of Tathagat’s message, have awakened a new meaning of the idea, that ‘Mankind is the biggest Dhamma’,” said Ravi Kishan, Actor.

Day 2 of the congregation will navigate through the diverse strands of Buddhism, compassionate capitalism, the journey of Buddha, Ashoka, Chinese travelers and Dr. Ambedkar in Gujarat and aspects of contemporary Buddhism promises to enrich the knowledge.

Japan, China, Hong Kong, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan, Thailand, Macau, Sri Lanka, Myanmar, Vietnam, Malaysia, Nepal, Cambodia, Mongolia, Tibet, Laos and Bhutan are the partner countries for the conference.

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