Chief Buddhist monk of the Sangha Supreme Council of Thailand Most Venerable Arayawangso performs rituals at Bhamla Stupa on  Friday. — Dawn
Chief Buddhist monk of the Sangha Supreme Council of Thailand Most Venerable Arayawangso performs rituals at Bhamla Stupa on Friday. — Dawn

TAXILA: Chief Buddhist monk of Sangha Supreme Council of Thailand Most Venerable Arayawangso on Friday called for promotion of peace and tolerance in the world by following the teachings of great Buddha.

He was speaking after offering religious rituals at Bhamala Stupa.

Mr Arayawangso said he was pleased to see the rich Buddhist heritage during his visit to Pakistan and would inform his followers about the rich legacy of this country which was the cradle of Gandhara civilisation.

He said every year a large number of religious pilgrimages were organised to India and Nepal and he wished that such pilgrimage should also be initiated to Pakistan.

“I thank the government and people of Pakistan for the better upkeep and preservation of the Buddhist sites. I am now confident that Buddhist around the world would be visiting Pakistan which is safe for international tourists.”

He said peace loving people should coordinate for promotion of peace and tolerance for sovereignty of mankind besides making the world a better place for living. He said he was inaugurating and ringing the bell of peace across Pakistan to spread the message of peace and tolerance which spread out from this land.

The Thai monk said he would speak with the representatives of around 30 countries having Buddhist population about their sacred sites in Pakistan.

Archaeology and Museums Director Dr Abdul Samad briefed the visiting monks on the archaeological sites. He said Bhamala stupa had its own significance and importance in Gandhara civilisation as the largest statue ever was found in Gandhara depicting the death of Buddha discovered here. He said the statue, which was discovered in 2016, was 1,700 years old and 48 feet long.

Dr Samad said a comprehensive policy had been evolved for preserving and protecting the archaeological sites and places. He said initiatives were being taken to carry out an excavation on archaeological sites through modern techniques and methods. The followers of Buddhism would find a treasure trove of Buddhist statues and heritage after a thorough research and revival of these sites, the official said.

Dr Samad said the government had taken a number of steps for attracting foreign tourists, scholars and researchers to the province. He said a group of Korean monks would also visit this site.

The Buddhist monk inaugurated and ringed the peace bell in Taxila Museum. The bell was installed by the Thai government.

Published in Dawn, November 2nd, 2019