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Bangladesh: Buddha Purnima celebrated

By BSS, May 22, 2005

Dhaka, Bangladesh -- The Buddhist community of the country yesterday celebrated their biggest religious festival, the Buddha Purnima, marking the advent, nirvana (enlightenment) and departure of Lord Gautam Buddha.

On this day, Goutam Buddha, born as Siddharta Gautam at Kapila Bastu in Nepal in 563 B.C., got supreme enlightenment or nirvana at the age of 35 at Gaya in the Indian state of Bihar and finally departed from the world at the age of 80 (483 B.C) at Kushinagar.

The Bouddha Purnima was celebrated in all monasteries of the Buddhists as well as various educational institutions through day-long programmes. The day was a public holiday.

Buddhist monasteries in Dhaka and across the country have been decorated with flags marking the festival. Recitation from the Buddhist sacred book Tripitak, breaking of fast by the monks and offering of "kathin chibor dan" (presentation of yellow robes to the monks) were the special features of the celebrations.

Special prayers were offered in all monasteries across the country seeking peace, progress and prosperity of the nation.

President Professor Dr Iajuddin Ahmed and his wife Professor Dr Anwara Begum hosted a reception for the members of the Buddhist community on the occasion at Bangabhaban.

Visiting Japanese Senior Vice-Minister for Foreign Affairs Shuzen Tanigawa and members of his entourage also attended the reception.

Ambassadors and High Commissioners of Japan, Thailand, Myanmar, Sri Lanka and Charge d'Affaires of Vietnam were present on the occasion.

President Professor Dr Iajuddin Ahmed and Mrs Ahmed welcomed the guests, exchanged pleasantries with them and wished them a happy and prosperous future.

Noted artistes Mina Barua, Shelu Barua and other artistes belonging to the Buddha community performed in a cultural function at the Darbar Hall of the Bangabhaban.

Secretary of the Bangladesh Buddhist Religion Welfare Trust Sukomol Barua said Prime Minister Begum Khaleda Zia will exchange greetings with leaders and leading monks at the Prime Minister's office at 1.30 p.m. today.

The Bouddha Kristi Prachar Sangha brought out a morning procession in the morning from the Kamalapur Monastery, followed by "Sangadana" (presentation to monks). A discussion was arranged at the monastery this afternoon where minister for social affairs Ali Ahsan Mohammad Mujahid was present as the chief guest.

A similar discussion was held at International Buddha Bihar at Maddya Badda in the city yesterday afternoon on the occasion of the Buddha Purnima.

National and local dailies published special articles while Bangladesh Betar, Bangladesh Television and private TV channels aired special programmes highlighting the importance of the auspicious day.

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