A Buddhist monk from Sri Lanka claimed that India has experienced a significant resurgence of Buddhism under Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s leadership as the International Buddhist Confederation (IBC) observes Abhidhamma Day on Sunday.
Theravada Buddhists will observe Abhidhamma Day on Sunday, which commemorates the Buddha’s descent from heaven after teaching his mother the Abhidhamma. To commemorate the occasion, famous monks from Sri Lanka, Myanmar, Nepal, and Bhutan will gather in Uttar Pradesh, India.
Waskaduwe Mahindawansa Mahanayake Thero, a Sri Lankan Buddhist monk who is also taking part in the event, said: “The international Buddhist community has convened in India today, the day before the full moon, to prepare for tomorrow’s significant festival. In particular, the Modi administration has led to a significant resurgence of Buddhism in India. Buddhism emphasises happiness and kindness.”
He praised India’s aim to “rescue the earth from strife and violence” through the teachings of Buddhism and recalled PM Modi’s remarks at the UN.
“PM Modi recently mentioned at the UN that Buddhism was a gift from India to the world to prevent war and violence. We all value this international endeavour. We appreciate being invited to attend this crucial occasion in Uttar Pradesh by the IBC and the Indian government “The monk tacked on.
PM Modi and Nepalese Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba took part in the “Shilanyas” ceremony to mark the beginning of building of the India International Centre for Buddhist Culture and Heritage on an IBC-owned tract of land in Lumbini.
Moreover, five projects totaling Rs. 325.53 crores have been developed as part of a Buddhist Circuit under the Swadesh Darshan Yojana by the Ministry of Tourism. IRCTC has launched the “Buddha Purnima Express” special train to ease travel inside the Buddhist Circuit.
The Burmese lunar year begins in April, and Abhidhamma Day is observed on the full moon of the seventh lunar month, which also marks the conclusion of the (first) Rains Retreat and the Pavarana festival.
The International Abhidhamma Divas is being held to commemorate the auspicious day and is being organised by the IBC in partnership with Gautam Buddha University (GBU), Greater Noida.
After teaching his mother the Abhidhamma Pitaka (a basket of ultimate things), the Sakhyamuni descended from the celestial realm of the thirty-three divine beings (Tavatimsa-devaloka) to Sankassiya, today known as Sankisa Basantapur, Farrukhabad, Uttar Pradesh.
Dr. Ashin Nanissara (Sitagu Sayadaw), Chancellor of the Sitagu International Buddhist Academies in Myanmar, will be the event’s chief guest.
It has not yet been established whether Yogi Adityanath, the Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh, will attend as the Guest of Honor.
Last year, the Abhidhamma Divas was held at Kushinagar’s Mahaparinirvana Temple, with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi serving as the chief guest. Additionally, he opened the international airport in the centre of pilgrimage for Buddhists.
Theravada tradition holds that this day is fortunate because the Buddha had gone to heaven to teach his mother the Abhidhamma Pitaka (a basket of ultimate things).
After three months of instruction, Buddha returned to Earth. His disciples observe the three-month period similarly by staying put and praying. For Buddhist monks and nuns, it is known as the three-month rainy retreat (Varshavaas or Vassa).
The Asokan Elephant Pillar, which represents the significance of the location and the event, serves as a historical monument for the area. The Buddhist writings have him coming here after instructing the Devas in Abhidhamma with his mother present as a witness.
The Abhidhamma Divas will also feature prominent monks from Sri Lanka, Myanmar, Nepal, Bhutan, ambassadors headquartered in India, and other diplomats representing many nations.
The other two Flagship programmes of the IBC are Asadha Purnima and Buddha Purnima, respectively.
A panel discussion on the “Significance of Abhidhamma,” a book launch titled “Recent Development in the Studies of Abhidhamma in India,” a screening of the documentary on the IBC’s project in Lumbini, and a cultural performance by students from Buddhist universities round out the day’s events.
IBC is a Buddhist umbrella organisation that provides a common forum for Buddhists all around the world. Its main office is in New Delhi, India.
The IBC is also dedicated to the international preservation, advancement, and promotion of Buddhist legacy, both material and immaterial, particularly at revered locations like Bodh Gaya, India, the location of Buddha’s enlightenment, among many other important sites.
To bring together the collective wisdom of Buddhists worldwide to speak with a single voice; to integrate Buddhist principles into global involvement while fighting to protect and advance Buddhist culture, practises, and legacy.