Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the President of Mongolia, Khaltmaagiin Battulga jointly unveiling a statue of Lord Buddha and his two disciples, installed at the historic Gandan Tegchenling Monastery in Ulaanbaatar, at a function, in New Delhi on September 20, 2019 (File image courtesy: PIB)
On May 16, Buddha Jayanti will be celebrated all over the world. There is no doubt that Buddhists and others with a liberal mindset across the globe will celebrate the occasion with a great enthusiasm. In India, where the egalitarian faith took root, the day will be observed with a string of activities.
For the last two thousand years or so, every Buddha Jayanti is a celebration of India’s ‘soft power’. It began with the acculturation of tribal orders by draping them with cotton fabrics to replace their leaves, teaching to cultivate food grains and to cook them, to live in houses rather than huts and going as far as the formation of larger communities with the development of trade.
The whole of South East Asia developed into astounding states like Champa on the coastline of Vietnam, Cambodia, Lanvesukcha (modern Malaysia), Srivijaya and so on. To this day, uneducated Cham village women recount the exploits of Yan In which is Bhagwan (God) Indra. In=Indra even in India, as in Shachin which is equal to Shachindra ‘The Lord of Goddess Shachi or Indrani.’
Sprawling lands of East Asia and North Asia too have immense cultural identities with India. This vast Dharma cosmopolis runs from Sri Lanka, Myanmar, Thailand, Laos, Vietnam, Malaysia and Indonesia (throughout the coastline running across these countries has ruins of hundreds of temples to Lord Shiva).
In East Asia, there are the super cultural lands of China, Korea and Japan. Beyond the Himalayas, in North Asia, are Tibet, Mongolia, along with Buryatia, Tuva Region (the only Buddhist Turks) and Valmykia in the Russian Federation.
It would be in harmony with our millennium relations to invite some Buddhist Members of Parliament at least from four to five countries (i.e., Sri Lanka, Myanmar, Malaysia, Japan and Indonesia that share heritage with India, for the Buddha Jayanti. It will rejuvenate the cultural dimension of India’s international relations. The Sine of the Soul has no equal.