Buddhists congregate at Kushinagar to herald New Year

ANI, Jan 2, 2009

Kushinagar,  Uttar Pradesh (India) -- Hundreds of Buddhists from India and abroad offered special prayers at Kushingar in Uttar Pradesh.

Mahendra Bhante, a senior priest and Vice President of Buddha Bhikshu Sangha at the Buddhist Temple believes that people wish to herald the New Year by seeking blessings of Lord Buddha.

"At such a holy place, people come to seek blessings which is a good way to start the New Year. This helps them to make their New Year bloom on a positive note. All of us in Kushinagar Vishwa Sangha pray for the Lord to bless us with a beautiful year and spread peace and happiness among all people," said Bhante.The religious significance of Kushinagar can be perceived by the fact that a large number of followers of Buddhism visit this place everyday.

"We have chosen this Buddhist centre to begin our new year. Buddha attained salvation and we have preserved his principles till now and have followed them. On New Year, I want to send a message through India to the world that inspite of terrorism breeding in the world, we need to preserve our culture heritage and spiritual ethos for all times to come," said Rajneesh Gupta, a tourist from Bihar.

Considered one of the most sacred Buddhist sites, Kushinagar is believed to be the place where Gautam Buddha attained Mahaparinirvana (salvation or the release from the endless cycle of birth and rebirth more than 25 centuries ago).

Kushinagar is also referred as Kusinara or Kaisa in the colloquial dialect.