pilgrimage to Buddha Gaya
- 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.
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
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.
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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Date: November 08, 2004