Buddhists to celebrate 78 years of Mulgandha Kuti Vihara on Nov 2

TNN, 29 October 2009

VARANASI, India -- On the day when the city celebrates Kartik Purnima on November 2, Buddhists from different parts of the country and abroad will assemble in Sarnath - the place where Buddha preached his first sermon - to celebrate the 78th annual function of Mulagandha Kuti Vihara.

Mulagandha Kuti Vihara, built in 1931 by the Maha Bodhi Society of India, is situated amidst brick ruins of Sarnath. It is known for its magnificent murals and frescoes made by the famous Japanese painter, Kosetsu Nosu.

The frescoes at the Mulagandha Kuti Vihara are rich repositories of Buddhist literature. They depict scenes from the life of Buddha and stories from Jatakas. The Maha Bodhi Society of India was founded by Anagarika Dhammapala in 1891 for the purpose of resuscitation Buddhism in India and of restoring the ancient Buddhist shrines in Buddha Gaya, Sarnath and Kushinara.

The society is going to hold a three-day celebration to mark the occasion from November 1 to 3. According to K Siri Sumedha Thero, assistant general secretary, the festivities will begin with night-long chanting of Maha Paritrana Desana after Dhamma Puja by Buddhist monks on the evening of November 1. The main function would be held on November 2 with the administration of Ashtanagasheela and Buddha Puja. It would be followed by the sacred relics exposition for public and Mahasangha Dana. Sweets would be distributed among the students of Maha Bodhi schools and college on the occasion.

Later in the afternoon, a grand procession with the casket containing sacred relics of Buddha on an elephant would be carried out in the town. After the procession, a public meeting would be held at Mulagandha Kuti Vihara.

Many prominent personalities, including Sri Lankan minister for urban development and sacred areas development Dinesh Gunawardena, chief justice of Allahabad high court Justice Chandramauli Prasad, local MP Murli Manohar Joshi, Justice DK Arora and Sri Lankan priest Udugama Buddharakshitha Rathanapalabhidhana Mahanayaka Maha Thera will take part in the celebration.

Besides locals, the Buddhists and scholars from different countries including Japan, Korea, Thailand, Singapore, Myanmar, Laos, France, UK, US and Bangladesh would also take part in the celebration.

The celebrations will conclude with the prize distribution ceremony on November 3. The prizes will be distributed among students of Maha Bodhi schools and colleges for their outstanding performance. The function will be attended by Jitendra Kumar, secretary, secondary education, and others. The prize distribution ceremony will be followed by a colourful cultural programme by the students.