Call to revive Buddhist traditions in Kanchi

Newindpress, February 28 2007

KANCHEEPURAM, India -- Buddhists monks have urged the government to take efforts to revive the traditions of the religion in Kancheepuram.

Speaking at the 2550th anniversary celebrations of Gauthama Buddha’s Maha Parinirvana function, organised by the district administration here on Tuesday, Buddha Bhikku (monk) Thamma Khere, president, All India Thamma Sena, and legal advisor to former chief ministers of Karnataka Veerappa Moily and Veerandra Patil, recalled that Kancheepuram once housed a Buddhist centre for learning (Ghatika).

Buddhism was a way of life here and the city derived its name from the shawl worn by Buddhist monks (Cheevaram), he said. (Kancheepuram was known as Conjeevaram during the colonial period).

However, the religion lost its identity due to various reasons. But, in the present era, it was essential to revive the religion whose tenets of renunciation could provide answers to many problems faced by individuals and society as a whole, Thamma Khere said.

The Tamil Nadu Government’s gesture in celebrating the 2550th anniversary of Maha Parinirvana would be a milestone in the efforts to revive the religion and re-establish its identity in the State, more particularly in Kancheepuram, he added. He called upon the authorities to take efforts to revive the religion and its traditions in Kancheepuram.

District Collector Pradeep Yadav said that the innumerable inscriptions in temples around Kancheepuram bore testimony to the religion’s existence in Kancheepuram. He also made special reference to the visit of Chinese travellers Hieun Tsang and Fahien to Kancheepuram and the discovery of Buddhist relics around Kancheepuram. He remarked that the tenets of Buddhism were relevant to the present society.

Bikku Aswaskose, former member, Tamil Nadu Minorities Welfare Commission, appealed to the government to grant patta for the Buddha Vihar (Temple) at Konerikuppam in Kancheepuram.

The city derived its name from the shawl worn by Buddhist monks.