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Bihar Governor, Union Minister among 22-member delegation accompanying holy relics of Lord Buddha to Thailand

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New Delhi | February 22, 2024 9:54:06 AM IST
A 22-member delegation led by Governor of Bihar Rajendra Vishwanath Arlekar and Union Minister of Social Justice and Empowerment Virendra Kumar accompanied the sacred relics of Lord Buddha from India to Thailand for a 26-day exposition on Thursday.

Speaking on the journey, Bihar Governor Rajendra Arlekar said that this will strengthen the India-Thailand relations.

"I feel proud to carry the message of Lord Buddha to Thailand. Lord Buddha dedicated his life to humanity. Today the revered relics of Lord Buddha are being taken to Thailand. This will strengthen the India-Thailand relations," Governor Arlekar said.

Union Minister Virendra Kumar said that the people of Thailand are excited about it.

"The relics of Lord Buddha, along with those of his disciples, Arahata Sariputra and Arahata Maudgalayana, are about to start on their sacred journey to Thailand. This will strengthen the relationship between the two countries (India and Thailand)," the Union Minister said.

"The people are extremely excited there (Thailand). This 26-day yatra will go through different places including Bangkok," he said.

Director General of the International Buddhist Confederation, Abhijit Halder said, "Buddhism has been an important bond between India and Thailand. 2,000 years back, Dhamma was being preached by Ashoka, the Samrat of the Mauryan empire. Ashoka had sent two of his emissaries to Thailand. Both of them went to Thailand and spread Dhamma."

"So this is a very important phase in the history of India-Thailand relations that we can in a way replicate or repeat that particular experience which happened 2,000 years back. At that time, Ashoka, the king did this whole exercise," he said.

"Today in Thailand also, there exists a king. It is his 72nd birth anniversary which is happening this year. So it gives a good opportunity for both sides to make the best of the situation," the official added.

The delegation comprised monks from Kushinagar, Aurangabad, Ladakh, officials from the Ministry of Culture, state government of Madhya Pradesh, curators from the National Museum, artists and scholars.

The event is being organized with the support of the Ministry of External Affairs, the Indian Embassy in Thailand, the International Buddhist Confederation, the National Museum, State Government of Madhya Pradesh.

A group of monks received the revered relics of Lord Buddha from the National Museum in the National Capital, before being carried to Thailand on February 22.

The revered relics of Lord Buddha, along with those of his esteemed disciples, Arahata Sariputra and Arahata Maudgalayana, are set to embark on a sacred journey to Thailand today.

This is the first time that the holy relics of Lord Buddha and his disciples will be showcased together.

Referring to the exposition of the holy relics as a 'landmark moment', in the Indo-Thai relationship, the Indian ambassador to Thailand, Nagesh Singh during an interview with ANI here, underlined the civilizational connection between the two countries and also highlighted the importance of the event.

"This is a landmark event for the Indo-Thai relations. Thailand is referred to as a civilizational neighbour, given the connection we have of Buddhism, Hinduism, and language, which is derived from Pali and Sanskrit, Lord Buddha. More than 90 per cent of the population in Thailand is Buddhist", said the Indian envoy. (ANI)

 
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