President’s pilgrimage to Buddha Gaya  
[November 08, 2004 - 5:05 GMT]

President Chandrika Kumaratunga and her entourage paid a visit to Buddha Gaya, the place where Lord Buddha is believed to have attained enlightenment, yesterday [Sunday 7th November] in the State of Bihar. The chief incumbent of the Maha Bodhi Centre the Venerable Palwatte Seevali Thera received her at the Gaya airport.

The President was received at the main entrance to the Maha Bodhi Temple by officials and members of the Buddha Gaya Temple, the Maha Bodhi Temple and officials of the Gaya administration.

The Mahabodhi temple which is considered the ancient temple of Buddha has a 150 feet high tower housing a gilded image of Buddha.

At the inner chamber of the Maha Bodhi Temple, the President was blessed by the Maha Sangha who chanted the Mangala Sutra. She was then taken to the Sri Maha Bodhi Tree, under which the Buddha attained enlightenment and Vajrasana Complex where he performed his penance. Here too she was blessed by the Maha Sangha headed by Palwatte Seevali Thera.

President Kumaratunga after paying homage to the Buddha made floral offerings and lit lamps at the temple and received the blessings of the Venerable monks. The President then offered Atapirikara to the Venerable monks.

President Kumaratunga called on the seven places in the Maha Bodhi Temple Complex, where the Buddha is said to have spent seven weeks after attaining enlightenment and to the newly constructed meditation park adjacent to the Temple Complex. The President placed flowers at the Anagarika’s statue when she visited the Maha Bodhi Centre of the Maha Bodhi Society of India founded by Anagarika Dharmapala.

At the conclusion of her visit to Buddhagaya the President expressed her contentment at this opportunity to visit the Vihara where Prince Siddhartha attained enlightenment "It is after several years that I have been able to return to this sacred venue and I am grateful to the Venerable monks who have taken me around this temple" President Kumaratunga said. She also thanked the Venerable Palwatte Seevali Thera, chief incumbent of the Buddhagaya Centre of the Maha Bodhi Society of India for his efforts at making all the arrangements for her visit.

Later the President attended the World Buddhist Sangha Youth Conference attended by over 300 young Bhikkus from over 21 countries.

President Kumaratunga was accompanied Ministers Lakshman Kadirgamar, Susil Premajayantha and Douglas Devananda and by High Commissioner Mangala Moonasinghe, and Mrs. Gnana Moonasinghe






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Last Updated Date: November 08, 2004 


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