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Dalai Lama consecrates Buddha's relics in Bodh Gaya

IANS, Feb 3, 2007

Patna, India -- Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama Saturday consecrated the Buddha's relics, which were shifted from Sri Lanka, to a newly built temple in Bihar's Bodh Gaya, the birthplace of Buddhism, a senior monk said.

The Dalai Lama, along with dozens of monks, consecrated the relics amid chanting of Buddhist scriptures near Buddha's statue at Jaya Sri Mahabodhi Vihara - the new branch of the Mahabodhi Society of India, said D. Rewath Thero, general secretary of the society.

The relics were shifted to Bodh Gaya two days ago and hundreds of Buddhists monks and devotees took out a colourful procession in the holy town.

The Buddha, who was born as Prince Siddhartha, founded Buddhism and is said to have attained enlightenment under the Bodhi tree in Bodh Gaya, about 110 km from here.

The relics were handed over to Buddhist monks by Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapakse Tuesday. They had been kept in a Sri Lankan temple for decades. Sri Lanka decided to shift the holy relics to Bodh Gaya because it is the holiest shrine of Buddhism in the world.

Relics of Buddha's two disciples from Kolkata were also moved to the temple, which is now set to draw Buddhists from across the globe.

The Dalai Lama, who arrived in Bodh Gaya Friday, offered prayers at the 1,500-year-old Mahabodhi temple as well. The spiritual leader will also inaugurate a three-day international conference at Bodh Gaya starting Sunday.

He is staying at a Tibetan monastery in the town and security has been tightened during his visit, said a police official.



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