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World Buddhist Conference concludes in Lumbini

By Our Reporter
The 2562nd Buddha Jayanti and International Buddhist Conference concluded in Lumbini, the birthplace of Lord Buddha,  agreeing to complete the Lumbini Master Plan, designed by Kenzo Tange, as a global centre for peace and humanity.
The two-day conference, organised with the theme ‘Lumbini Nepal: The birthplace of Lord Buddha and the fountain of Buddhism and world peace’ concluded on Sunday with a 10-point Lumbini Declaration 2018, which includes issues such as interfaith dialogue, infrastructure development, connecting Buddhist attractions in Nepal and India, and implementing the Greater Lumbini Area Master Plan.
“We agree to establish Lumbini as a gateway to the Greater Circuit of Asian Buddhist Pilgrimage by connecting Lumbini (Nepal) with Bodh Gaya, Sarnath and Kushinagar (India), and other great Buddhist Centres and heritage sites in other countries, such as Sri Lanka, Myanmar, Bangladesh, China and Pakistan,” reads the declaration.
Lord Buddha was born in Lumbini during 6th century B.C., he attained enlightenment in Bodh Gaya, gave his first sermon in Sarnath and died in Kushinagar.
The Buddhist Circuit has become an agenda in various Nepal-India bilateral forums, but there has not been significant progress in materialising the concept.
The conference also agreed to develop an integrated Greater Lumbini Master Plan, including pilgrimage destinations within the Buddhist Circuit of Nepal – Kapilvastu, Devadaha and Ramagram.
Tialurakot in Kapilvastu district was the home of the Buddha, Devadaha in Rupandehidistrict was his maternal home and Ramagram in Nawalparasi district has a relic stupa of the Buddha.
Similarly, the declaration announced that an integrated management plan would be created to safeguard the archaeological cultural and natural heritage of the Greater Lumbini area.
The summit has also recognised the great relevance of Buddha’s teachings of the Middle path as a sustainable future for humanity today as it faces unprecedented global challenges such as ecological crisis, climate change, widespread poverty, marginalisation, exploitation and violence in the world.
Addressing the conference Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli said that the Buddha and his teachings had played a significant role in showing light to millions of people around the world.
He pledged that the Lumbini Master Plan would be completed within the given time.
Minister for Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation Rabindra Adhikari expressed his confidence that the conference would help in promoting Buddhist philosophy globally and religious tourism.
Buddhist scholars, religious leaders, monks, nuns and other stakeholders from 23 countries participated in the conference.
Meanwhile, Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli has said that it was meaningless to debate regarding the birthplace of Lord Buddha.
Speaking at a function organised by the Lumbini Development Fund on the 2562nd birth anniversary of the Buddha at Lumbini on Monday, Prime Minister Oli said that since the Buddha was born in Nepal, no one should remain in illusion related to the Buddha’s birthplace.
“Emperor Ashoka of India has also given a proof of the Buddha birthplace by building a Ashoka Pillar in Lumbini,” he said.
He pledged that the government would take concrete initiatives to mark the Buddha birth anniversary as a global celebration.

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