Tuesday December 12, 2017

Buddhist Circuit : Government holds meeting to develop important sites related to the life of Lord Buddha

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By NewsGram Staff Writer

The government today held a meeting to discuss the modalities for developing the Buddhist Circuit under the new Swadesh Darshan Scheme for which government has allocated Rs. 120 crore for this year.

“Buddhist Circuit is one of the five circuits identified under the Swadesh Darshan scheme of the Ministry of Tourism and Rs. 120 crore have been allocated this year for the development of the Buddhist Circuit under the scheme,” Minister of State for Tourism (Independent Charge) Dr. Mahesh Sharma said while addressing the Members of Parliament (MPs) from Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and Ladakh.

“Buddhist circuit will include places like Gorakhpur, Kushinagar, Sarnath, Sidharth Nagar, Sant Kabir Nagar, Shrawasti, Piprawa, Bodh Gaya, Vaishali , Nalanda among others,” the minister said.

Addressing the MPs, Dr Mahesh Sharma said that the Prime Minister, Narendra Modi attaches utmost importance to the development of theme based circuits in the country, and especially the Buddhist Circuit. The Minister said that the opinion of the MPs is very valuable, keeping in mind the local requirements and ground realities of these constituencies falling under the Buddhist Circuit .

At the meeting, the Members of Parliament raised issues related to their constituencies with respect to the development of Buddhist Circuit. They highlighted the issue of connectivity which is standing in the way of development of tourism in these areas.

The MPs suggested that a Buddhist National Highway should be created connecting the important places within the Circuit. The MPs also wanted improved air connectivity by developing airports at Kushi Nagar and Shrawasti , development of budget hotels, common amenities and infrastructure in these areas were discussed during the meeting.

Highlighting the economic benefits of developing the Buddhist circuit, the MPs  estimated that the number of tourist visitors can be easily increased to ten lakhs if the Circuit is developed properly, which will help the country to earn Rs 6000 crore of foreign exchange.

The inflow of foreign tourists will not only lead to increased inflow of foreign exchange earnings of India , but will also generate large amount of employment for the local people, especially in areas where there are no other avenues of employment for the local people.

The ministers discussed the importance of their areas where various events and activities related to Lord Buddha had taken place. They requested the minister to develop a special museum where the centuries old statue of Lord Buddha, all artefacts and various other objects related to Buddhism can be placed at a single location in the Buddhist Circuit for the tourists to view.

The MPs also suggested that an inter-ministerial group should be formed for the development of the circuit as it involves coordination and cooperation of various Ministries like civil aviation, roads and highways among others.

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‘You Never Lamb Alone’: Indian Christians Raise Objections to Ad Campaign by Meat and Livestock Australia (MLA) Featuring Gods to Sell Meat

The advertisements feature Lord Ganesha, revered in India, Lord Buddha, Jesus Christ, Thor, Zeus and others seated at a table enjoying what is a sumptuous non-vegetarian feast

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Meat and Livestock Australia MLA)
Unite Over The Meat More People Can Eat | You Never Lamb Alone advertisement by MLA. Youtube

Mumbai, Sep 12, 2017: The Catholic Secular Forum (CSF) on Monday raised strong objections to a new Australian advertising campaign featuring revered Hindu and Christians gods and other mythical figures to ‘sell’ its red meat and meat products.

CSF Founder-General Secretary Joseph Dias said the latest advertising campaign by Meat and Livestock Australia (MLA) is “bad in taste and offensive to all” and sought boycott of MLA and a ban of their products.

The advertisements feature the elephant-headed God, Lord Ganesha, revered in India, Lord Buddha, Jesus Christ, Thor, Zeus and others seated at a table enjoying what is a sumptuous non-vegetarian feast.

The ads have reportedly made an oblique reference to Prophet Mohammed, who is not pictured but is heard excusing himself from the party through a mobile phone call since he has to pick-up a child from daycare.

What has hurt Christians is that the caricature of Jesus Christ who performs what is termed as a ‘reverse miracle’ by turning wine into water so a Grecian goddess, who is a ‘designated driver’ can drive home safely, Dias said.

“We have written to Minister for External Affairs Sushma Swaraj to take note of these ‘insensitive advertisements’ and raise the issue with the top authorities in Australia immediately. We also demand that MLA Chairman Michele Allan and MD Richard Norton withdraw the ads and tender an apology,” Dias told IANS.

Besides writing to Sushma Swaraj, the CSF has shot off emails to Australian Deputy High Commissioner in Mumbai Martin Huber, Indian High Commissioner to Australia Harinder Sidhu and other top officials raising serious objections to the MLA campaign.

“The CSF has always protested against commercial exploitation of religious figures for profit, irrespective of which religion the figures belong to. The MLA ads have hurt not only followers of different faiths, but atheists and agnostics all over,” Dias pointed out.

He termed the campaign as ‘culturally insensitive’ to vegans and communities like Hindus, Jains or Buddhists and said Lord Ganesha is a vegetarian and meat is never offered to him, as depicted in the MLA ads.

Dias warned that unless MLA yanks off the offensive ad campaign and apologises, the global Catholic community would be compelled to boycott its products as “there are many alternatives available worldwide”. (IANS)

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Buddha Jayanti 2017: Here is why India is Celebrating the 2579th Birth Anniversary of Gautama Buddha!

This year will be the 2579th birth anniversary of the prophet who conquered the world with his message of peace, nonviolence and sacrifice

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Buddhism, Pixabay

Kolkata, May 10, 2017: The birth anniversary of Gautama Buddha is celebrated today as Buddha Purnima or Buddha Jayanti during the month of Vaishakha. Gautama Buddha, whose birth name was Siddhartha Gautama, was a prince who later went on to become a spiritual and philosophical leader and founded Buddhism based on peace, love, and harmony.

Even though the exact time of Gautama Buddha’s birth and death is uncertain, his lifeline is dated between 563-483 B.C by most historians and researchers. Lumbini in Nepal is widely considered as the as the birthplace of the prophet. Buddha passed away at the age of 80 at Kushinagar, Uttar Pradesh.

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Buddhists have a number of pilgrimage sites but Bodh Gaya is the most important pilgrimage site as it is related to the life of Gautama Buddha. Sarnath, Lumbini and Kushinagar are other three important pilgrimage sites for Buddhists. The followers of Lord Buddha believe that Gautama Buddha obtained Enlightenment at Bodhgaya and he first taught the Dharma and his philosophies at Sarnath.

It is also believed that the day Gautama Buddha obtained Enlightenment and the day he passed away are the same. Buddha Purnima is also popularly known as Buddha Jayanti, Vesak, Vaishaka and Buddha’s Birthday.

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Lord Buddha is considered as the 9th incarnation or ‘Avatar’ and Lord Krishna as the 8th incarnation of Lord Vishnu in North India. However, In South Indian belief, Buddha is never considered as an Avatar of Vishnu. Instead, in South India it is believed that Balarama is the 8th incarnation and Krishna is the 9th incarnation of Lord Vishnu. Even the majority of Vaishnava movements count Balarama counted as an incarnation of Vishnu, not Buddha. Buddhists don’t consider Buddha as an incarnation of Lord Vishnu as well.

This year it will be the 2579th birth anniversary of Lord Buddha. The Purnima timings are:
Purnima Tithi Begins around 01:07 on May 10, 2017. Purnima Tithi Ends around 03:12 on May 11, 2017.

Here’s wishing a very happy Buddha Purnima to all!

– by Durba Mandal of NewsGram. Twitter: @dubumerang

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A Buddhist Temple seeks permission to install a 10 foot statue

A Buddhist temple is having some trouble in obtaining permission to install a 10 foot statue of Lord Buddha

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A Buddhist Statue in a lawn (representative); Source: Pixabay

Abington, US, Mar 14, 2017: The leaders of a local temple in Abington, Massachusetts, wish to install a 10 feet tall statue of Lord Buddha. However, the town isn’t giving the all clear to do so.

This week, the temple leaders will appeal a decision by the Abington Zoning Enforcement Officer denying their application to install some ornamental monuments along with the statue.

A Buddhist Statue in a lawn (representative); Source: Pixabay

The Chua Linh Quang Buddhist Meditation temple on Washington Street, has been open for almost an year, used by the Vietnamese-Americans and others for yoga and meditation.

According to a report in The Enterprise, Zoning Officer Marshal Adams said he couldn’t approve the application of Temple Leader Nhutam Thich to install a 10-foot, white stone statue along with several smaller statues and large painted rocks because the temple’s plans were explicit and abutters hadn’t given input.

In a residential district, the town typically only allows someone to hang out a shingle for something like an attorney’s office, he said.
“I told the temple they’d have to clarify everything they were going to do,” Adams said. “They have a lot of questions to be answered, so I felt it best that the whole thing be sorted out through the zoning board.”

The temple is used for Meditation and Yoga; Source: Pixabay

Agai, Thich requested ZBA to review his decision on Mar 9, at a public hearing. Thich remained unsure of what she will do if the ZBA doesn’t give approval.

She said, “I hope they are going to say yes.”

The Chua Linh Quang temple is part of the Pho Hien Buddhist Meditation Temple Corporation and the Vietnamese Buddhist Community of Massachusetts. The organization leads a temple in Worcester.
“It was easy to get approved in Worcester,” Thich said.
Approval for certain permits, like this one, has proved more difficult in the residential section of Abington, she said.
Thich said she hadn’t heard directly from any neighbors about the statue.
“I think they’re okay with it, but I don’t know,” she said.
Adams said if abutters have concerns, “the time to share them would be the public hearing.”
The public hearing before the ZBA was originally scheduled for Feb. 9, but was rescheduled to March 9 because of snow.

-Prepared by Nikita Saraf, Twitter: @niki_saraf