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Mongolia: Buddha?s 2,549th birthday celebrated

TheUBPost, May 25, 2005

Ulan Bator, Mongolia -- On May 23 Mongolia?s Buddhist believers, followers and spiritual leaders celebrated their biggest religious festival across the country - Ikh Duichen, or Buddha Purnima, marking the sacred day of the advent, nirvana and departure of Buddha. On this day, Goutam Buddha, born 2,549 years ago as Siddharta Gautam at Kapila Bastu in Nepal in 567 B.C, reached supreme enlightenment at Gaya in the Indian state of Bihar.

Although the day was not an official public holiday, thousands of devotees from Mongolia and abroad flocked to Gandantegchinlen Monastery, which was decorated with flags to mark the festival. The Khamba lama of the Mongolian Buddhist Center, D.Choijamts, greeted the gathered people and wished peace, progress and prosperity to the nation.

During the day, monks and lamas from the monastery recited from the Buddhist sacred book Tuviin Chog, praying for the wellbeing of the people. On this day in particular people are meant to avoid sin and perform virtuous deeds as the effects of their actions will be duplicated 1,000 times.

Prime Minister Ts.Elbegdorj and Parliament Speaker N.Enkhbayar attended a special religious ceremony, highlighting the importance of this day.

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