Therefore, this day, which commemorates three major events in Buddha’s life, is the most sacred day for Buddhists over the world.
It was indeed a truly inspiring and blessed day for all those who were present
This year Buddha Purnima, or Saga Dawa in Tibetan, fell on 15th of June. His Holiness the 17th Gyalwa Karmapa Trinley Thaye Dorje was invited as the Chief Guest to the Saga Dawa Festival, organized by Friends in Dhamma and held at the National Museum in New Delhi, India.
Hundreds of Mahayana and Theravada Buddhists – both monks and lay practitioners – from Sikkim and other places across India attended this very auspicious event.
Immediately after arrival, His Holiness inaugurated the function by offering a lamp to the Buddha and exchanging khatas with the distinguished guests. Venerable Bhadant Sudananda Mahathero, Sangh-Nayak of All India Bhikku Sangha led the chanting of the refuge prayer.
His Holiness the 17th Gyalwa Karmapa expressed his happiness at witnessing the Saga Dawa Festival being celebrated in this way for the first time in the capital of India, organized by Friends in Dhamma, an association which comprises both Mahayana and Theravada monks and lay devotees. Gyalwa Karmapa emphasized the significance of fostering closer ties among Mahayana and Theravada sanghas for exchanging their understanding of Dharma in order to better benefit all sentient beings. He also mentioned that we are living in a very united world and talked about the need to cultivate compassion for each other, which would in turn provide a strong foundation for universal peace and fraternity. He further said that developing wholesome aspirations leads to the attainment of ultimate peace, and that the teachings taught by Lord Buddha Shakyamuni more than 2,500 years ago are still closely relevant to us today.
Among other distinguished guests who also addressed the function were Ven. Bhadant Sudananda Mahathero, Sangh-Nayak of All India Bhikku Sangha; H.E. Minister Counselor of the Sri Lanka High Commission, Mr. Sugeeswara P. Senadhira and Yapo Sonam Yongda of the Assembly of Sikkimese Monasteries. Venerable Bhante D. Sumedho, one of the main organisers of the function, led through the program.
After the speeches, His Holiness the 17th Gyalwa Karmapa led the procession to the other chamber where the holy bone relics of Buddha Shakyamuni were on display. After paying homage to the relics, His Holiness led in the aspiration prayer, circumambulated the relics and offered a khata.
Prior to his departure from the Museum, His Holiness had a group photograph with all the distinguished guests and devotees.