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New Delhi : Prime Minister Narendra Modi participated at an event marking Abhidhamma Day at the Mahaparinirvana Temple at Kushinagar, Uttar Pradesh.

Governor and Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh, Union Ministers G Kishan Reddy, Kiren Rijiju, Jyotiraditya Scindia, Cabinet Minister in Sri Lankan Government Namal Rajapaksa, Buddhist delegation from Sri Lanka, diplomats from Myanmar, Vietnam, Cambodia, Thailand, Lao PDR, Bhutan, South Korea, Sri Lanka, Mongolia, Japan, Singapore, Nepal, among others,  were present on the occasion.

Addressing the event, Modi noted the auspicious occasion of Ashwin Poornima and the presence of holy relics of Lord Buddha. Welcoming the delegation from Sri Lanka, the Prime Minister recalled the connections between India and Srilanka and talked about emperor Ashoka’s son Mahendra and daughter Sanghamitra taking the message of Buddhism to Sri Lanka.  He also remarked that it is believed that on this day, ‘Arhat Mahinda’ came back and told his father that Sri Lanka had accepted the Buddha’s message with so much energy. This news had increased the belief that Buddha’s message is for the whole world, Buddha’s Dhamma is for humanity, the Prime Minister said, according to a PIB release.

Lauding the role of the International Buddhist Confederation in spreading the message of Lord Buddha, the Prime Minister remembered  Shakti Sinha for his contribution as DG of the  International Buddhist Confederation.  Sinha passed away recently.

Modi said that today is another auspicious occasion – Lord Buddha’s coming back to earth from Tushita heaven. That is why, on Ashwin Purnima today, the monks also complete their three-month ‘Varshavas’. ‘Today I too have had the privilege of ‘chiver daan’ to the Sangh monks after the ‘Varshavas’’, Modi said.

The Prime Minister said Buddha is universal because he said to start from within. Buddha’s Buddhatva is a sense of ultimate responsibility. He  said today when the world talks about environmental protection, expresses its concern about climate change, then many questions arise with it. But, if we adopt the message of Buddha, then instead of ‘who will do’, ‘what is to be done’ path starts showing itself. The PM said that Buddha resides in the soul of humanity and is connecting different cultures and countries. India has made this aspect of his teaching part of the journey of its growth.

“India never believed in restricting the knowledge, great messages or the thoughts of great souls. Whatever was ours was shared with the entire humanity. That is why, human values like non-violence and compassion are settled in the heart of India so naturally,” the Prime Minister said.

The Prime Minister said Buddha, even today,  is the inspiration of the Constitution of India, Buddha’s Dhamma Chakra is sitting on the tricolour of India and giving us momentum. Even today, if someone goes to the Parliament of India, then this mantra is definitely seen – ‘Dharma Chakra Pravartanaya’, Modi said.

Talking about the influence of Lord Buddha in Gujarat and, specifically, his birthplace, Vadnagar, Modi said Buddha’s influence is visible in western and southern parts of the country in equal measures as the eastern parts.  “Gujarat’s past shows that Buddha was beyond boundaries and directions. Mahatma Gandhi, born in the land of Gujarat, was the modern flag-bearer of Buddha’s message of truth and non-violence”, he said.

Quoting Lord Buddha “Appa Deepo Bhava” meaning “be your own lamp”, the Prime Minister said when a person is self-illuminated, he gives light to the world as well. He added that this is the motivation for India to become self-reliant. This is the inspiration that gives us the strength to participate in the progress of every country in the world. The Prime Minister also remarked that Lord Buddha’s teachings are being taken forward by India in the mantra of Sanka Saath, Sabka Vikas, Sabka Vishwas and Sabka Prayas.