Monday, Apr 07, 2003
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By Our Special Correspondent
The Dalai Lama and the Chief Minister, N. Chandrababu Naidu, unveiling a bronze idol of Buddha at the Ananda Buddha Vihara in Secunderabad on Sunday.
Inaugurating the Buddhist cultural centre, he said ahimsa was not merely a concept but its practice was very relevant to the current times. However, one must have the conviction about the importance of non-violence and the belief that `destruction of your enemy is the destruction of self.'
The Dalai Lama made no mention of the ongoing conflict in Iraq referred to earlier by the Chief Minister, N. Chandrababu Naidu, who regretted the killing of innocent people and hoped the war would end with the least damage, and the Union Minister of State for Railways, Bandaru Dattatreya, who wanted wisdom must prevail upon the USA and the UK to restore peace in Iraq.
Located on an elevated three-acre site at Mahendra Hills, the Buddhist cultural centre is built by the Ananda Buddha Vihara Trust. Its first phase, which was opened today, comprises a Buddha shrine, a museum and a library and later an orphanage for street children. The bronze statue of Buddha inside the shrine has been donated by the Chittagong Buddhist Association of Burma.
The Dalai Lama observed that rapid advances in science and technology in the latter half of 20th century had fostered healthy concepts of peaceful co-existence and environment protection. There was a genuine desire among people for peace.
However, on the negative side, the pursuit of a materialistic lifestyle had widened the gap between the rich and the poor. Even in a socialist country like China, this gap was increasing, he said, and called for efforts to bridge this chasm.
Dwelling upon Buddhism, he said it was different from other religions in that it teaches its followers not to go by faith but to reason and analyse since conviction alone could bring about a change. He said followers of other religions could stick to their believes but could learn a lot from Buddhist techniques.
The Chief Minister, who laid the foundation stone for Bodhisatva Bhavan, announced that the Government would give five acres of land at Malkajgiri to the trust at a nominal price for establishing a school. He also offered to consider its request for keeping a sacred relic of Buddha discovered a few years ago at Bavikonda at the trust's museum.
Tracing back the strong roots of Buddhism in Andhra Pradesh, he said his Government was sparing no efforts to make the State an attractive destination for Buddhist tourists. Already, high class facilities had been provided in Nagarjunakonda and Amaravathi.
K. Sangharakshita Mahathera, Chairman of the trust, urged the Government to declare Buddha Jayanthi as a national holiday.
The vice-chairman, C. Anjaneya Reddy, said the site at Mahendra Hills was allotted by the Government when K. Vijayabhaskara Reddy was the Chief Minister while the Chandrababu Naidu Government had given Rs. 1 crore to the trust.
The Tourism Minister, T. Srinivas Yadav, and the Telugu film star, Chiranjeevi, also spoke.
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