Tuesday June 25, 2019

A prayer for Nepal quake victims: Traditional manner of celebrating Buddha Purnima holds the key to solace in calamitous times

0
//

buddha-525883_640

By Gaurav Sharma

At a time when a horrendous earthquake has shattered Nepal by killing more than 7,000 people and injuring countless others, the world needs the blessings of the Buddha more than ever before.

Majority of the population in Nepal comprises of Hindus. But the landlocked country boasts a strong Buddhist tradition as well. In fact, Gautama Buddha was born at a place called Lumbini in the Himalayan kingdom. Most of the temples in Nepal are common places of worship for both Hindus and Buddhists.

This year, however, most of the temples in Nepal lie in ruins, devastated by the whiplashes of the Nepal earthquake.

Swayambhunath temple, one of the oldest Buddhist temples in the nation will close its doors to the visitors for the fear of losing sacred objects and artifacts that no longer have the protection of temple.

However, irrespective of the desecration of the formal places of worship, which has left the bhakts (devotees) without any idol to offer their obeisance to, the prayers to and from Buddha will reach the mass of suffering people in Nepal nonetheless.

The traditional manner of celebrating Buddha Purnima holds the key to solace in such calamitous times.

Usually, the devout Buddhists and other followers assemble in the temple before dawn and sing hymns in praise of the holy trinity of The Buddha, the Sangha (disciples) and the Dhamma (his teachings).

The various offerings of candles, flowers, among other things, that they make at the feet of the teacher are symbolic of the ephemeral nature of life. As the candle flame burns out and the flowers wither away, the bubble of life will also in time.

In a symbolic act of Moksha or liberation, thousands of birds, animals are freed from captivity, to remind people not to torture someone against their will.

The happiness of other people or compassion assumes great significance in Buddhism and hence extols offering help to the aged, the sick and the handicapped.

But perhaps the greatest teaching of the Buddha, which holds a lesson in such traumatic and tragic times such as the Nepal calamity, are his words at the time of death.

When he saw his attendant weeping for his imminent passing away, the Buddha told him not to weep but to follow his teachings and understand the Universal Law of disintegration of every compounded thing:

If this exists, that exists; if this ceases to exist, that also ceases to exist.

By leading a noble life of peace and love, we can conquer death.

Next Story

Nepal Prepares to Introduce Yoga in School Curriculum

Yoga, which has been gaining popularity in Nepal, is regarded as essential element for a healthy and balanced life

0
yoga, nepal
Yoga, which has been gaining popularity in Nepal, is regarded as essential element for a healthy and balanced life. Pixabay

The preparation of new school curriculum, which will include yoga, in Nepal is in the final stages, Neplese Minister for Education, Science and Technology Giriraj Mani Pokharel has said.

The government was revising the school curriculum to make it more practical and to contribute to public health, Pokharel said here on Friday. “Considering the high importance, we will include subjects like ayurveda, medicinal herbs and natural treatment in the school curriculum,” he was quoted as saying by Xinhua news agency.

The government is preparing to introduce these subjects in Grade 8 to 12. These subjects will also be part of a three-year diploma course under the Institute Council for Technical Education and Vocational Training.

yoga, nepal
The government was revising the school curriculum to make it more practical and to contribute to public health, Pokharel said here on Friday. Wikimedia Commons

Yoga, which has been gaining popularity in Nepal, is regarded as essential element for a healthy and balanced life.

ALSO READ: Yoga Shapes your Mind, Body and Soul: Shilpa Shetty

Prime Minister K.P. Sharma Oli said yoga and meditation were solutions to fight growing anger and hatred in the world. “People are suffering from greed, aggression and selfishness. To free from such negativity and reach a balanced mental state, yoga and meditation are the solutions,” he said.

Referring to yoga developed in the Himalayas thousands of years ago by sages, he said Nepal could set up an international meditation centre. Oli said there was no place in the world to understand meditation better than the Himalayas due to its pristine and sacred water, air and environment. (IANS)