International Buddhist Confederation (IBC), under the aegis of Ministry of Culture, is celebrating Asadha Poornima on July 4, as Dharma Chakra Day.
This day commemorates Buddha’s First Sermon to his first five ascetic disciples at the Deer Park, Rsipatana in the present day Sarnath near Varanasi, UP. The day is also celebrated by Buddhists all over the world as the day of Dharma Chakra Parvattana or “Turning of the Wheel of Dharma”. This day is also aptly observed as Guru Poornima by both Buddhists and Hindus as a day to mark reverence to their gurus.
In keeping with the historical legacy of India being the land of Buddha’s enlightenment, his turning the wheels of Dharma, and Mahaparinirvana, President Ram Nath Kovind inaugurated the Dharma Chakra Day from the Rashtrapati Bhavan. The Minister of Culture Prahlad Patel and Minister of State for Minorities Affairs, Kiren Rijiju also addressed the opening ceremony.
A special address by the President of Mongolia was also read out and a valuable Buddhist manuscript of Indian origin preserved in Mongolia for centuries together, was presented to the President. Speaking on the occasion, President Kovind said that Covid-19 pandemic is wreaking havoc across a large part of the globe and causing immense misery to humankind, cutting across national boundaries, religions, race, rich and the poor. However, he said, “I have no doubt that we will emerge victorious out of the present crisis soon. But before the world stare at another crisis, we all have to work hard and selflessly for the benefit of all.”
Hinting at India’s approach towards China and the ongoing conflict at the border, he said that India, as a nation, believes in peace and that “our trust and hands of friendship often gets betrayed”.
“While our national resolve remains firm and strong to meet any challenges, we continue to tread the path of Victory of Truth, as reflected in our national symbol and ethos. The half of world’s population live in this part of the planet and have both a glorious shared civilizational and cultural heritage as well as a path to even greater shared future,” the President said.
‘India believes in peace, partnership and prosperity and hope that the spirit of partnership, friendship and shared path to prosperity and peace will prevail over spectre of war and destruction in our neighbourhood,” he added.
Through a video message, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said that we need to follow the eight-fold path of Lord Buddha for the well-being of society and nation.
“I want to convey my greetings to all on the occasion of Ashadha Poornima today. It is also known as Guru Purnima. This is a day to remember our Gurus, who gave us knowledge. In that spirit, we pay homage to Lord Buddha,” PM Modi said.
“The eight-fold path of Lord Buddha shows the way towards the well-being of many societies and nations. It highlights the importance of compassion and kindness. The teachings of Lord Buddha celebrate simplicity both in thought and action,” the PM added.
On the coronavirus outbreak and the challenges faced by the world in these tough days, Modi said that solutions can come from the ideals of Lord Buddha. “Today the world fights extra-ordinary challenges. To these challenges, lasting solutions can come from the ideals of Lord Buddha. They were relevant in the past. They are relevant in the present. And, they will remain relevant in the future,” he said.