The International Buddhist Confederation (IBC), in association with India’s Ministry of Culture, celebrated Ashadha Purnima on 3 July in New Delhi. The event took place at the National Museum, Janpath, and welcomed delegates from around the world to honor the day marking the Buddha’s first teaching to five ascetics in Sarnath.
Dignitaries at the event included Buddhist patriarchs, renowned Buddhist teachers, scholars, and diplomatic representatives. The National Museum was chosen to host the event as it holds a wealth of cultural history tied to the Buddha and his early teachings.
IBC secretary Khenpo Chimed represented the IBC at the event. A press release stated: “Asadha Purnima commemorates Lord Buddha’s first sermon to his first five ascetic disciples at Sarnath, Uttar Pradesh, after attaining enlightenment at Bodh Gaya in Bihar. This is popularly also known as the day of the First Turning of the Wheel of Dharma. In this sermon, Lord Buddha stated the Four Noble Truths and the Noble Eightfold Path.” (Dev Discourse)
India’s president, Droupadi Murmu, made a recorded message for the event in which she urged the youth to take the Buddha’s message to heart to find personal empowerment and to improve society.
“On Asadha Purnima, we got acquainted with the Dhamma of Lord Buddha, which is not only a part of our ancient cultural heritage, but it is also an essential feature of our daily life,” Murmu said, adding that to know about the Buddhadharma “we should learn and understand the first sermon given by Shakyamuni on the sacred land of Sarnath.” (Dev Discourse)
According to All India Radio, Nepal’s minister of culture, Sushila Sirpali Thakuri, emphasized that India and Nepal shared a common Buddhist heritage during his address at the conference. Meanwhile, the IBC secretary in Nepal noted that the Buddha’s teachings offer a path forward for harmony and world peace.
The event marks a major celebration for the IBC, as it is commonly held to be the second most sacred day for Buddhists after the day marking the Buddha’s birth, awakening, and passing away, also known as Buddha Purnima or Vaishakha Purnima. According to a press release, the program highlight was the screening of a film on the IBC’s special project in Lumbini, Nepal, the India International Centre for Buddhist Culture and Heritage.
Construction of the center is underway, with Indian prime minister Narendra Modi having laid the foundation stone on 8 May last year on Buddha Purnima.
Also featured at the celebration was a Dharma talk on the significance of Ashadha Purnima by His Holiness the 12th Chamgon Kenting Tai Situpa, as well as an address by India’s minister of culture and external affairs Meenakashi Lekhi.
Falling on the full moon of the month of Ashadha, according to the Indian lunar calendar—corresponding with June/July in the Gregorian Calendar—Asadha Purnima has different names in distinct Buddhist regions. It is known as Esala Poya in Sri Lanka and Asanha Bucha in Thailand, where it will be celebrated on 1 August this year.
The holiday also marks the traditional start of the rains retreat (Vassa) for Buddhist monastics. Lasting for three lunar months, this period typically involves devoted seclusion at a single abode, often at temples or monasteries. The day’s significance also extends beyond the Buddhist community, as both Buddhists and Hindus come together to observe Guru Purnima, a day to honor their respective spiritual mentors.
Prez calls upon youth to learn from teachings of Buddha to empower themselves (Dev Discourse)
Embassy of India, in association with International Buddhist Confederation, celebrated Asadh Purnima in Kathmandu (All India Radio)
Indian Embassy in Nepal, International Buddhist Confederation hold joint celebration Asadha Purnima (Dev Discourse)
Delhi: International Buddhist Confederation to celebrate Ashadha Purnima in National Museum today (The Statesman)
International Buddhist Confederation celebrating Ashadha Purnima in Delhi (DD News)
The Ashadha Purnima day, when Buddha’s Teachings proved to be Universal, and doors of enlightenment opened for all humanity. (Mid Day Gujarati)
Indian Embassy holds ‘Ashadha Purnima’ (The Khmer Times)
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