Monks pay homage to Buddhist leader

NDTV, June 9, 2007

Kolkata, India -- Monks of the Bhikshu Mahasabha are paying obeisance to the body of their Sangharaj Pragyajyoti Mahasthabir who died of cardiac arrest in Chittagong on April 23.

The body was flown to Kolkata and is preserved by injections. The cremation will take place later this month.

The body is being preserved for months so that devotees can pay their respects.

The 89-year-old guru was the head of the Buddhist Bhikshu Mahasabha.

The decision to preserve the body came after requests started pouring in from devotees in India and abroad who wanted to pay homage.

''We are going to keep the body like this for two months. We are paying our respects and many devotees, monks from across the world requested us to keep the body to enable them pay homage,'' says Dipankar Bhikkhu, a research scholar with Calcutta University.

All eyes are now on June 24 when over 3,000 Buddhist monks from across the country and abroad are expected to assemble in Kolkata to be a part of the grand funeral ceremony.

Giving them company would be some high profile ministers from West Bengal government and dignitaries from different countries.