The Ministry of Culture, in collaboration with International Buddhist Confederation (IBC) will celebrate the auspicious Buddha Jayanti-2018 by showcasing various facets of Buddhist traditions. A conglomerate of Buddhist Institutions will come together on 30thApril, 2018 in the presence of Prime Minister of India, Shri Narendra Modi at Indira Gandhi Indoor Stadium, New Delhi. The Minister of State for Culture (I/C), Dr. Mahesh Sharma, with the Minister of State for Home Affairs, Shri Kiren Rijiju and Ven Dr. Dhammapiya, Secretary General, International Buddhist Confederation (IBC) will also be present.
The Prime Minister and other dignitaries will be paying their respects to the sacred relics specially brought for the occasion from the National Museum, New Delhi, to the Indira Gandhi Indoor Stadium. The Prime Minister will also be performing the offering of Sangha Dana (Cheevar Vastram and Sacred Leaf of Bodhi Tree) to the venerated Sangha. The event would also house an exhibition gallery- ‘Buddham Sarnam Gacchami’ with murals, photographs and artefacts.
Buddhist thought has been integral to the Indian concept of Dharma, as Buddha is remembered most for his notion of Karuna (Compassion). Buddhism has thrived in the Indian Himalayas, from Arunachal Pradesh in the east to Ladakh in the west. Also, there are communities in India that trace their origin to the Shakya clan of Buddha and the Maurya clan of Samrat Ashok. UN has also officially recognized the importance of this auspicious day in 1999, considering the contemporary relevance of Buddha’s teachings of compassion and humanism in these modem times. ‘Buddha dharma’ is also the common thread running through many south Asian countries and connecting these countries and most others in Asia to India.
In 2015, Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi had announced that the Buddha Jayanti day will be commemorated and celebrated as an annual event by the nation. Accordingly, an organizing Committee to oversee the organization of these celebrations, was set up under the Chairpersonship of the Minister of State for Culture (I/C), Dr. Mahesh Sharma, with the Minister of State for Home, Shri Kiren Rijiju as Co-chairperson. Ven Dr. Dhammapiya, Secretary General, International Buddhist Confederation (IBC), a global umbrella Buddhist body headquartered in New Delhi, is the Convener of the Organizing Committee in India. Besides, Dr. Ramdas Athawale, Minister of State for Social Justice and Empowerment, Dr. Udit Raj, Member of Parliament ( Lok Sabha ), Dr Sunil Gaikwad, Member of Parliament ( Lok Sabha ), Most Venerable Dr Rahul Bodhi, Most Venerable Shantimitra Mahathera and Dhammacharya Shantum Seth are also members of the committee.