DHAKA- The Buddhist today celebrated Buddha Purnima, the biggest religious festival of the community, amid festivity and religious fervor throughout the country.
The festival marks the birth anniversary of Siddhartha Gautama, who later became Gautama Buddha, the founder of Buddhism.
Marking the festival, the Buddhist community in Bangladesh, like elsewhere in the world, chalked out various programmes including peace processions, worship, lighting of lamps, religious discussion and chorus prayer and cultural functions.
The devotees also offered fruits, flowers and candles to statues of Lord Buddha throughout the day.
According to the Tripitaka scriptures, Gautama was born in Lumbini in modern-day Nepal, around the year 563 BCE, and raised in Kapilavastu. Buddha Purnima falls on the full moon day.
Buddha means "enlightened one" - someone who is completely free from all faults and mental obstructions.
Reverentially, the most important day for the followers of Buddhism, commemorates three important events - Lord Buddha's birth, enlightenment and also his attainment of the highest spiritual goals, 'Nirvana' respectively in Bodh Gaya and 'Parinirvana' (final cessation) in Kushinagara of India.
President Abdul Hamid and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina issued separate messages yesterday greeting members of the Buddhist community as well as the countrymen. The President also exchanged greetings with the Buddhist community at Bangabhaban this afternoon on the occasion of festival and urged all irrespective of party affiliation, opinion and religious belief to play a proper role in the national development upholding communal harmony and tradition.
Besides, leaders of different political and socio-cultural organizations also greeted the people of the Buddhist community on the occasion of Buddha Purnima.
As part of the day's programme, Bangladesh Bauddha Kristi Prachar Sangha brought out a colorful "peace procession" with participation of a large number of devotees from Sabujbagh Dharmarajika Buddhist Monastery that paraded different city thoroughfares this morning.
A discussion was organized at Basabo Dharmarajika Buddhist Monastery which was attended by Commerce Minister Tofail Ahmed as the chief guest.
President of Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) and Saber Hossain Chowdhury, MP, inaugurated the function with Bangladesh Bauddha Kristi Prachar Sangha Pediment Shuddhananda Mahather in the chair. Samyabadi Dal General Secretary Dilip Barua and Thai Ambassador in Dhaka Panpimon Suwannapongse also addressed the function.
Bangladesh Bauddha Sangskritik Parishad staged "peace procession and festival on harmony" in front of National Museum. Jatiya Sangsad Speaker Dr Shirin Sharmin Chaudhury joined it as the chief guest while Religious Affairs Minister Principal Matior Rahman inaugurated the function.
State Minister for Chittagong Hill Tracts Bir Bahadur Ushwe Sing, Shaheed Suhrawardy Medical College and Hospital Director Professor Dr Uttam Kumar Barua and Awami League Deputy Office Secretary Barrister Biplob Barua also joined it.
Bangladesh Buddhist Federation (BBF) will organise a day-long programmes including a discussion meeting at International Buddhist Monetary at Merul Badda here. Besides, another discussion will be held at Sabujbagh Buddhist temple in the afternoon.
Our Chittagong Corresponded Reports: Members of the Buddhist community celebrated Buddha Purnima in the city as elsewhere in the district with solemn devotion and enthusiasm. In the city, the colourful peace procession under the auspices of Bangladesh Buddhists Association was brought out city's Nandankanan Buddhist temple.
Deputy Commissioner of Chittagong Mohammad Shamsul Arefin inaugurated the procession by releasing balloons and pigeons.
In Chittagong city, the main religious congregations were held at Nandankanon Buddhist temple, Katalganj Nabapandit Vihar, Purnachar International Buddhists Monastery at Devpahar, Mughaltooli Shakkyamuni Vihar at Agrabad and Sarbajanina Bouddha Vihar at Momin Road.
In Khagrachari, members of the Buddhist community celebrated their most sacred and largest festival Buddha Purnima amid different programmes. A colorful procession was bought out from city's Mahajan Para area.
Buddhist community also celebrated the festival in different cities and districts including Sylhet, Cox's Bazar and CHT districts.
Source: Bangladesh Sangbad Sangstha (BSS)