| Monks at the Buddha Smriti Park in Patna on Monday. Picture by Nagendra Kumar Singh |
The preservation of Buddhist heritage sites in India and especially in Bihar was the focus of the deliberations at the international Buddhist Conference Sanga in Patna on Monday.
“Bihar is not only a modern state. It is the place where our teacher — Buddha — attained enlightenment,” said Venerable Putamee, a delegate from Thailand.
Like Putamee, other delegates — from more than 20 countries and 17 states in India — laid emphasis on cultural tourism and exploring the potential of the Buddhist circuit in India.
Tenzin Priyadarshi, the founder and director of The Dalai Lama Center for Ethics at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, US, said: “It is essential to communicate with the government to ensure that ancient Buddhist sites are protected. The Archaeological Survey of India can help with this.”
The three-day Buddhist Conference Sanga, which began on Saturday, was organised by Bodhgaya Temple Management Committee and sponsored by the art, culture and youth affairs department. Patna district management and Bihar State Tourism Development Corporation had facilitated the programme hosted at Buddha Smriti Park.
Putamee said: “It was a noble idea to organise this conference in Bihar. It was very informative and enlightening. It was like a big candle, from which the Buddhist followers and believers saw the light of wisdom and dharma.”
He added that more such conferences should be held frequently.
Art, culture and youth affairs minister Sukhada Pandey added: “The BTMC would help in the exchange of ideas. Resolutions passed at the conference will help the state keep a close eye on the sites of archaeological importance.”