Muted celebrations on Buddha Purnima

Muted celebrations on Buddha Purnima

The Buddha Purnima celebrations were muted on Monday at the ancient Swayambhunath shrine situated on a hillock on the western fringes of Nepal’s capital.

The iconic 5th Century stupa, believed to be the oldest Buddhist shrine, remained closed for devotees as temple authorities feared the theft of sacred objects and artifacts lying in the open after the 7.9 magnitude temblor left a trail of death and destruction in the region.

Though the main stupa has suffered minimal damages, several small temples within the complex have been destroyed.

Devotees were down to a trickle on Buddha Purnima, the day that marks the birthday of Gautam Buddha who was born in Lumbini some 200 km away from here. Buddhists commemorate the birth of Buddha, his attaining enlightenment and his passing away on the full moon day of May.

“Last year lakhs of devotees had thronged the shrine. Today, there are barely a handful,” the saffron-robed Gyam Lama said.

According to legend, the Kathmandu Valley was once a lake and the hill now topped by Swayambhunath rose spontaneously from the waters, hence the name ‘swayambhu’, meaning ‘self-arisen’.

The then reigning deity called Manjushri is believed to have drained out the lake by cutting the Chobar hill situated in southern Kathmandu thousands of years ago.
Though the stupa was first built in the 5th century, it had been destroyed several times and rebuilt over the years.

The latest renovation was completed five years ago, the first one since 1921 and the 15th since the stupa was first built.

Modi shares pain of Nepal

On the occasion of Buddha Purnima on Monday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi shared the pain of earthquake-hit people of Nepal, hoping that the Himalayan country will soon “bounce back” to normalcy though the task of recovery was “long and arduous”, reports DHNS from New Delhi.

He also used the occasion to give call to the world to follow the “timeless message of love and compassion” teachings of Buddha to “get rid of war and
violence.”

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