International Buddhist Confederation leads Ashadha Purnima celebration in New Delhi

- through Henry Oudin

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The International Buddhist Confederation (IBC), in association with the Indian Ministry of Culture, celebrated Ashadha Purnima on July 3 in New Delhi. The event was held at the National Museum in Janpath and welcomed delegates from around the world to honor the day marking the Buddha's first teaching to five ascetics at Sarnath.

Dignitaries present at the event included Buddhist patriarchs, renowned Buddhist teachers, scholars and diplomatic representatives. The National Museum was chosen to host the event as it houses a rich cultural history related to the Buddha and his early teachings.

CIB Secretary Khenpo Chimed represented CIB at the event. A press release said: “Asadha Purnima commemorates Lord Buddha's first sermon to his first five ascetic disciples in Sarnath, Uttar Pradesh, after he attained enlightenment at Bodh Gaya in Bihar. This is popularly known also as the day of the first turn of the wheel of Dharma. In this sermon, Lord Buddha enunciated the Four Noble Truths and the Noble Eightfold Path. (Speech from the developers)

India's President Draupadi Murmu made a recorded message for the event in which she urged young people to take the Buddha's message to heart to find personal empowerment and improve society.

"On Asadha Purnima, we familiarized ourselves with the Dhamma of Lord Buddha, which is not only a part of our ancient cultural heritage, but also an essential feature of our daily life," Murmu said, adding that knowing the Buddhadharma “we should learn and understand the first sermon given by Shakyamuni in the holy land of Sarnath. (Developer speech)

According to All India Radio, Nepali Culture Minister Sushila Sirpali Thakuri pointed out that India and Nepal share a common Buddhist heritage during his address to the conference. Meanwhile, the CIB secretary in Nepal noted that the Buddha's teachings offer a pathway to harmony and world peace.

The event marks a major celebration for the IBC, as it is generally considered the second holiest day for Buddhists after the day marking the birth, awakening and death of the Buddha, also known as Buddha Purnima or Vaishakha Purnima. According to a press release, the highlight of the program was the screening of a film on IBC's special project at Lumbini, Nepal, India's International Center for Buddhist Culture and Heritage.

Construction of the center is ongoing, with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi laying the foundation stone on May 8 last year on Buddha Purnima.


A Dharma lecture on the importance of Ashadha Purnima by His Holiness the 12th Chamgon Kenting Tai Situpa, as well as a speech by India's Minister of Culture and External Affairs, Meenakashi Lekhi, were also presented during the celebration. .

Falling on the full moon of the month of Ashadha, according to the Indian lunar calendar – corresponding to June/July in the Gregorian calendar – Asadha Purnima has different names in distinct Buddhist regions. It is known as Esala Poya in Sri Lanka and Asanha Bucha in Thailand, where it will be celebrated on August 1 this year.

The holiday also marks the traditional start of the rainy retreat (Vassa) for Buddhist monks. Lasting three lunar months, this period usually involves devoted seclusion in a single abode, often in temples or monasteries. The significance of the day also extends beyond the Buddhist community, as Buddhists and Hindus come together to observe Guru Purnima, a day to honor their respective spiritual mentors.

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Henry Oudin

Henry Oudin is a Buddhist scholar, spiritual adventurer and journalist. He is a passionate seeker of the depths of Buddhist wisdom, and travels regularly to learn more about Buddhism and spiritual cultures. By sharing his knowledge and life experiences on Buddhist News, Henry hopes to inspire others to embrace more spiritual and mindful ways of living.

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