Present on the dias – my colleagues of the Cabinet Dr. Mahesh Sharma, Shri Kiran Rijuju Ji, Secretary General of the International Buddhist Foundation, Dr. Dhampai Ji, all the pilgrims, ladies and gentlemen who have come today from all across the country.
We have a belief that when thousands of minds and hearts gather at one place and chant a mantra, energy zones are created;and we all have experienced that energy zone here. Although our eyes are open and we are looking at each other;within brain nerves of yours and me, every moment the utterance of Lord Buddha’s name resonates – and that is something that we all can feel within ourselves.
Perhaps, words will not suffice to express the kind of emotions and devotion that we all carry today. Like people who get enchanted with words, in the same manner we get enchanted with the Buddha. I deem this as my fortune, to be amongst all of you today on the sacred occasion of Buddha Purnima, and seek the blessings of everyone and in particular those of the religious leaders. Just now, Mahesh Sharma and Kiran Rijuju were telling me, I have come here for the second time. I would have come the last year as well, but that time during Baisakh, I had gone to Sri Lanka as a chief guest to a similar ceremony. There I had the privilege of celebrating Buddha Purnima with the people, with the government and among the Buddhist religious leaders coming from all over the world.
We all are very busy, and have our own responsibilities. But in the midst of this hectic life, by only taking Lord Buddha’s name for a few moments we feel blessed. On the other hand, religious leaders that I see here, the monks I see here, they have dedicated their whole life to teach the Buddha’s message of compassion worldwide. They themselves are on the path of the Buddha. And today on this occasion, I offer my respects, my salutations to all those great beings who have conveyed the message of Lord Buddha.
You all have come here from different parts of the country. I heartily welcome you too! Today, I have also got an opportunity to honour those who have worked towards this and who have done a remarkable job, be it an individual or an institution. I applaud their efforts and contribution and give them by best wishes for future. Especially, I congratulate Central Institute of Higher Tibetan Studies of Sarnath and All India Bhikshuk Sangh of Bodhgaya, for receiving the Baisakh honour.
Friends, precious heritage of India is incomparable. One can hardly see such rich heritage in other parts of the world.
Much has been said over centuries, much has been written about the birth of Gautama Buddha, his education and Mahaparinirvana; and it is the good fortune of today’s generation that in spite of all the calamities, all the difficulties, a lot remains intact and is safe.
Today, we are proud of the fact that whatever thoughts emerged out of the land of India, the greatest of them was concerned only and only with human welfare. This has been pivotal in all our thoughts. And, we are proud that during an era of new thoughts, the rights or emotions of others have never been encroached on. Not any discrimination between mine and yours, neither any conflict between my ideology and that of your ideology nor any difference between my and your God been made.
We are proud that whatever thought processes emerged out of India, they kept moving forward in keeping with the interests of entire humanity. We never said that you would be benefited if you followed us. The Buddha’s thoughts not only created a new consciousness within the different paths but today the national character of many countries of Asia is getting defined by his thoughts and traditions.
Friends, it is the specialty of this land, and indeed it is an important concept which every Indian can talk about with great pride, with authority, facing the world eye to eye that our culture, our history, our tradition have been witness to the fact that India has never been an invader. India has never encroached on any other nation. For thousands of years, our culture has adopted this path because of basic human values.
Friends, the journey of the Buddha from being Siddhartha to Gautama Buddha is not merely the path of attaining Nirvana. This is the story of the truth that whosoever through his knowledge, wealth and prosperity attempts to assuage the pain and suffering of others and follows the path of the Buddha, can follow and attain Buddhahood.
Buddha Purnima reminds us every moment of compassion and friendship. At a time when the darkness of violence, terrorism, racism, dynasty obliterates the Buddha’s message like dark clouds, the message of compassion and friendship becomes all the more relevant, all the more necessary, all the more crucial. Living are not those who attack their opponent with destruction, violence and hatred. Life belongs to them who overcome hatred, violence and injustice through true friendship and compassion. Thus, they can win hearts and achieve supreme victory.
This is the fact that those who have won over the anger of the mind through contemplation on the peaceful countenance of the Buddha, became immortal. It is an amalgamation of truth and compassion that makes one Buddha and blossoms the Buddha within.
The meaning of the Buddha is to bring the mind to a state of pure heart from a state of anger. Any society that discriminates on the basis of caste, colour, and language, can never be from India nor from the Buddha; there can be no place for this kind of thought on this land. Anyone belonging to any race, colour, class, or faith has always been accepted naturally, here, with a feeling of oneness. Be it Jewish society or Parsi, those who have mingled with this land for thousands of years are an integral part of our being and psyche. The thought of discrimination against them never entered our imagination. In one’s life, leading with a feeling of equality, oneness is the meaning to live the Buddha.
Because of these emotions of equality, equanimity, looking at people with evenness and community, the Buddha became the most accepted individual of the world. Baba Saheb Ambedkar too shared this emotion and he too embarked on the path of the Buddha. Today, the best introduction of India that can be offered to the world along with development in physical areas is that our country is the land of the Buddha. This too enhances the pride of India in the world. Generated from the sacred soil of our country, “Dharmam Sharanam Gachhami, Buddhham Sharanam Gachhami, Sangham Sharanam Gachami” has become the mantra of people who teach the lesson of humanity to the entire world. Therefore, the great message of Buddha Purnima is that before you start changing others, change yourself; you too will become the Buddha! Instead of looking at everyone outside, win the inner war; you too shall become the Buddha! “Appa Deepo Bhava” (Be a lamp unto thyself).
Lord Buddha always encouraged developing a peaceful mind and a compassionate heart. Equality, justice, freedom and human rights are the key values of today’s democratic world. Gautama Buddha gave a very clear message two and a half thousand years ago. In India, these issues were not separate matters of discussions but were a part of the world vision.
The meaning of equality in Lord Buddha’s own philosophy is that every person has a dignified presence on this earth. For everyone, opportunity of rights and availability of resources should be ensured without any discrimination.