Buddha Jayanti brings peace, charity to fore

Chandra Luitel

Kathmandu, May 4:

Nepal has been an ideal place for people of diverse religions living in harmony and peaceful co-existence since ages. Buddhism and Hinduism exist so harmoniously that it is hard to differentiate between the two. Buddha Jayanti celebrated throughout the country on the full moon day of every Baisakh — first month of Nepali calendar — displays religious fervour at its zenith. To prove this, a royal chariot moved around the capital exhibiting the relics of Lord Buddha today. Thousands of devotees paid their respects to the great apostle of peace in diverse ways.

“Buddhism does not discriminate between people on the basis of their caste and creed,” said Bhikshu Anand, vice-president of the 2548th Buddha’s Anniversary Celebration Committee. This is one of the many reasons for Buddhism to achieve popularity throughout the world, he said.

Sunita Pariyar of Dallu, Kathmandu, is proud to be a Hindu but is inclined towards Buddhism as there is no discrimination and everyone is equal before God and man. “I worship Lord Buddha and other Hindu deities with equal enthusiasm and respect,” she said. Hundreds of thousands of Nepalis share similar views as they too respect both the religions equally.

Buddhism was founded by prince Siddhartha Gautam of Lumbini who later became popular as Lord Buddha almost 2500 years ago. At the age of 28, he left his kingdom in search of ultimate truth and meditated in Gaya, India, for six years. Finally, after achieving ‘nirvana’ (the ultimate truth which releases people from woes and sufferings), he started preaching the path of peace and truth. This is how he came to be known as Buddha - the apostle of peace.

“We worship Lord Buddha as the eight incarnation of Lord Bishnu,” said Rajeswore Adhikari, priest of a temple at Sitapaila. Buddha Jyanti is the most important festival of the Buddhists as Lord Buddha was born, achieved nirvana and died on a full moon day. It is compulsary for all the Buddhists to visit a monastery and give alms to the poor and needy on this day.

“Buddha’s teachings are more significant in today’s world as it shows the world the path to peace,” said Ram Harsa Shakya, monk and member of the 2548 Buddha’s Anniversary Celebration Committee.