BHUBANESWAR: Three Buddhists from Anuradhapura, Sri Lanka arrived at the capital with Bodhi plants that would be planted at Buddhist sites in the state like Ratnagiri, Lalitgiri and Dhaulagiri from January 22 to 23.
Governor Ganeshi Lal will plant the tree at Dhauligiri January 23. The Bodhi plant was brought by Srinivas Nayak Mahathera of Anuradhapura, Srilanka, the centre of Theravada Buddhism for many centuries. Mahathera is an honorific term in Pali for senior bhikkhus and bhikkhunis (Buddhist monks and nuns) in the Buddhist monastic order.
For the plantation drive, 50 Buddhists from ten countries will visit Buddhist sites of the state to spread ideals on peace and brotherhood. The event was organised by Buddhist Heritage Promotion Trust of India in association with Odisha International Center in memory of Kargil War.
Paresh Nayak, Convenor, Buddhist Heritage Promotion Trust of India, said, “India is the only neighbour of Sri Lanka. The two countries are separated only by Palk Strait. Both nations occupy a strategic position in South Asia and have sought to build a common security umbrella in the Indian Ocean. Historically and culturally, the two nations have been considerably close, with 70% of Sri Lankans continuing to follow Theravada Buddhism to this day.”
Buddhism was introduced into Sri Lanka in the 4th century BCE by Mahinda son of Ashoka and Sangamitra daughter of Indian emperor Ashoka, during the reign of Sri Lanka’s King Devanampiya Tissa. During this time, a sapling of the Bodhi Tree was brought to Sri Lanka and the first monasteries and Buddhist monuments were established.
On the occasion, seven personalities will be felicitated January 23 by the governor. They are labour leader Mayadhar Nayak, educationist Badri Patnaik, senior chartered accountant Sharat Chandra, heart specialist Sushant Kumar Sahoo, social activist Debasish Patnaik, Jayshree Dhal and Jyoshnamayee Parida.
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