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Buddhism serves as common plank for Nepal, Sri Lanka: Bajracharya

The Risisng Nepal, May 23, 2005

KATHMANDU, Nepal -- Minster for Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation, Buddhiraj Bajracharya said that Buddhism served as a common plank for Nepal and Sri Lanka and this religious proximity had helped to consolidate bilateral relations.

Buddha Purnima (full moon day), Buddha?s birthday, his enlightenment day and his day of parinirvana naturally have great significance among Buddhist people all over the world, he said.

He said that the Day assumed immense significance not only for the Buddhist fraternity but also to all peace lovers from across the world. A great deal of importance was being attached to the Day, which was marked every year with different programmes, Bajracharya said.

Lord Buddha is fondly remembered for his teachings of non-violence, peace and charity that sought to free people from all forms of sufferings, he told the programme organised by the Sri Lankan Embassy to mark the Sri Lankan Vesak Day. The day is celebrated to mark the 2549th birthday of Lord Buddha.

He said that the government is happy to celebrate this occasion with Sri Lanka friends because there is a common faith in Buddhism between the people of the two countries. Every Year thousands of Sri Lankans visit Nepal for pilgrimage to Lumbini and other Buddhist sites. When they return back, they carry the warm love of the Nepalese people, he said.
Besides the pilgrimage, there are several other avenues yet to be explored towards further strengthening the existing friendly relation between Nepal and Sri Lanka, he said.

Tourism and cultural exchange programmes could be the areas for further enhancing the friendship between two countries, he said.

Sri Lankan Ambassdor to Nepal Grace Ammal Asirwatham said that the significance of Vesak lies with the Buddha and his universal message of peace to mankind. ?Vesak, which marks the birth, enlightenment and parinibbana of Lord Buddha is celebrated by Buddhists all over the World,? she said.

In Sri Lanka it is the most significant of all Buddhists? festivals. It is also called as the light festival. Vesak is a unique day when Sri Lankans put Buddha?s teachings into practice, Asirwatham said.

?Sri Lanka people from all walks of life shed their social barriers and flock to temples in white to listen to sermons, take part in rituals and practice meditation,? she said.

On the occasion the Buddhist Vikshu Nigrodha Thero of the Visha Shanti Vihar performed the Gilanpasa Pooja . Kolitha, a Vikshu delivered the Dhamma Deshanawa in English and said that Buddha was not a God but a commoner. He developed saintly attributes through his conduct and teachings. Students from the Oasis School had sang devotional songs at the programme.

Ambassadors from Buddhist countries to Nepal were also present on the occasion. Around one hundred fifty Sri Lankans are currently staying in Nepal. Some of them are students, some visitors and others who work for diplomatic missions.

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