| Princess of Bhutan Ashi Kesang Wangmo Wangchuk offers prayers at Mahabodhi Mahavihara in Bodhgaya on Saturday. Picture by Suman |
Gaya, Sept. 14: Delegates of the International Buddhist Confederation today prayed for world peace under the Bodhi tree at Mahabodhi Mahavihara here.
Members from as many as 39 countries had reached Bodhgaya last evening. This morning, they offered prayers at the World Heritage Site. This was the first time since the July 7 serial blasts in the holy town that representatives from so many countries visited Bodhgaya. The prayers were aimed at spreading the message that Bodhgaya was still a centre of peace and there was nothing to be scared about.
On Friday, after reaching Mahabodhi Mahavihara, Bhutan princess Ashi Kesang Wangmo Wangchuk wrote in the shrine’s visitors’ book: “Had a nice visit to the holy stupa. Happy to see the improvements taking place around the holy site.”
The prayers this morning started with chanting in the Theravada tradition of Buddhism followed by the Mahayana and Vajrayana traditions. The Bhutan princess, Sangharaja of Laos and Mahanayakas of Sri Lanka were among the delegates who attended it.
General secretary, International Buddhist Confederation, Lama Lobzang said: “After today’s prayers, the members would return to their respective base and spread the message of peace from Bodhgaya. Apart from members from across India, delegates have also come from countries such as China, Korea, Japan, Thailand, Bhutan, Australia, Germany and Sri Lanka for the congregation. They arrived in Bodhgaya from Patna last evening. Princess of Bhutan Ashi Kesang Wangmo Wangchuk also visited the Mahabodhi Mahavihara and offered prayers before the statue of Buddha in the sanctum sanctorum.”
After the prayers today, Gaya district magistrate and Bodhgaya Temple Management Committee chairman Balamurugan D. presented each of the representatives of the delegation a wooden replica of the Mahabodhi Mahavihara, an idol of Lord Buddha, khada (silk scarf), souvenir and a coffee table book Awakening in Bodhgaya.