TAXILA: Buddhists celebrated Vesak Day at the Mohra Moradu Stupa near Taxila on Monday.
On this day, Buddha was born two-and-a-half millennia ago in the year 623 BC.
Later, Buddha attained enlightenment on the same day and again on the Day of Vesak, he passed away at the age of 80.
Vesak Day (also known as Buddha’s birthday) is a major festival celebrated by all Buddhists throughout the world.
The day is also known as Buddha Purnima or Buddha Day. This sacred day of Buddhism is traditionally celebrated on different days in various Buddhist countries and other parts of the world.
According to Buddhists, 2022 marks the 2,566th year of Lord Buddha’s attainment of enlightenment. Monday’s event was organised by the Centre for Culture and Development with Gandhara Resource Centre.
Buddhists from rural Sindh also participated in the event. The Thai ambassador initiated the celebration by ringing the peace bell at Taxila Museum. The bell had been gifted and inaugurated by Thai Ambassador Chakkrid Kraichaiwong. Sri Lankan High Commissioner retired Vice Admiral Mohan Wijewickrama and Nepali envoy Tapas Adhikari were also present on the occasion.
Speaking on the occasion, Centre for Culture and Development (CCD) Executive DirectorDr Nadeem Omar Tarar said Pakistan was the custodian of the Gandhara civilisation.
“It was a moral responsibility to work individually and collectively to preserve and promote the civilisation and its sites of religious significance,” he said, adding that Pakistan and Taxila specifically could be made a hub of Buddhist tourism.
Talking to mediapersons, Chakkrid Kraichaiwong said Pakistan and Thailand were bonded in decades-old cultural and diplomatic relations.
He said Pakistan, especially Taxila, were well-known among the Thai people and monks had many times visited the ancient Buddhist sites of Pakistan during their pilgrimage.
He said not only diplomatically but spiritually Thailand values its relations with Pakistan.
High Commissioner Mohan Wijewickrama said Pakistan had always stood with Sri Lanka in conflict situations, natural calamities and every hour of need, which the entire Sri Lankan nation acknowledged and admired.
He said in 2017, Sri Lankan monks had led the Vesak Day celebrations in Taxila.
Published in Dawn, May 17th, 2022