Rt. Honorable President Mrs Bidya Devi Bhandari’s Speech at the Event of 2560th Buddha Jayanti (day commemorating Lord Buddha) in Lumbini

President of Organizing Committee for 2560th Buddha Jayanti Honorable Minister

Right Honorable Prime Minister

Honorable Deputy Prime Ministers

Honorable Ministers

Former Prime Ministers

Guest Dignitaries from friendly countries

Their Excellency Ambassadors and representatives of diplomatic missions

Buddhist Preachers, Monks, and Prioresses

Ladies and Gentlemen!

I feel privileged to come to this holy place of the origin of Buddhism in Lumbini and pay my hearty homage to our national pride, the pioneer messenger of world peace, born 2560 years ago, Gautam Buddha who coincidently was born, got enlightenment at the age of 35 years, died at the age of 80 years on the same tithi (day of the month).

The messages of peace, fraternity, non-violence, and kindness propounded by Gautam Buddha some twenty-five hundred years ago are only for human happiness, benefit and prosperity; they remain even more relevant to the contemporary world afflicted by violence, conflict, poverty, and turbulence. In addition to their reflection in the peacekeeping missions of the United Nations, the immortal messages of Buddha seem to be equally relevant to the violence afflicted zones in the process of re-instating the peace and stability.

In this context, I would like to thank the government of Nepal, all associated institutions, scholarly paper presenters, participants, and dignitaries for successfully organizing the International Buddhism Conference.

On this auspicious occasion, I extend my heart-felt welcome to all friends from home and abroad visiting to Lumbini. Lumbini as the birthplace of great hero of peace, Lord Buddha, and the surrounding regions connected to Him are holy places. The traditional accounts mention it that while the queen Mayadevi of king Suddhodan and the mother of Gautam Buddha was going back to her maternal home in Devdaha, on the way at this Lumbini Gram, Gautam Buddha was born.

Only yesterday, I had opportunity for observation visits to Mayadevi Temple where Buddha was born, king Suddhodan’s palace in Tilaurakot, Ram Gram where astidhatu (bone remnant) of Buddha is kept, and Buddha’s maternal home in Devdaha. Maintaining, conserving, and propagating in their original state, the fervent desire of people is to develop these places of historical, archeological, cultural importance in Kapilwastu, Rupandehi, and Nawalparasi districts as international tourist destinations; hence, the urgent attention of all associated people should go to this direction.

I have got a pleasing information that the government has made plans to develop this area as an international Peace City and a holy shrine for all humanity, for all Buddhists across the world, and for those who have interest, belief, and faith in the principles laid by Buddha. I would like to draw attention of all the concerned that by completing master plans for entire Lumbini region at the earliest, it is necessary to move forward with new developmental  plans. It is a matter of satisfaction that some friendly nations and institutions are constructing temples, monasteries, Buddhist shrines, and monuments of faith as per the Lumbini master plans.

In this context, it is necessary to develop appropriate physical infrastructures like Gautam Buddha International Airport, roads, hotels, on the one hand, and on the other, the more challenging responsibility is to conserve and propagate the originality pertaining to archeological, cultural, and woodwork skills. In this process, it is necessary to make it sure that there is maximum participation of local communities, and local inhabitants get optimum benefit of entire development of Lumbini area.

In the context of promotion of Lumbini in the world, the International Buddhism Conference held in Kathmandu this time around and its dictum “Lumbini, Nepal, Lord Buddha’s birth place and the place of origin of Buddhist philosophy” is very relevant. Hence, we need to promote Lumbini and the relevance of the teachings of Gautam Buddha in a planned manner. I believe and expect that the Peace City to be established in Lumbini area should greatly help to Buddhism and the researchers of Buddhist philosophy.

As the great people are the assets of the world, they should not be confined in narrow boundaries of any caste, race, and nationality. Despite all this, the inhabitants of such great people’s birthplace and country have feeling of special pride, love, possessiveness for them.  Stepping on this holy land, the birthplace of Gautam Buddha, the pioneer messenger of peace, I feel that everyone present here should be happy as I am today.

The gospel truth messages of Gautam Buddha have been influential in the formation of Nepalese psyche and culture. The special qualities like tolerance, mutual respect, and sympathy to others’ sufferings, forgiveness and social goodwill that we find among the Nepalese of different castes, languages cultures, religions are heavily influenced by Buddhist philosophy and the ideals of Gautam Buddha. Standing on foundations of these ideals, Nepal has been embracing international policy of peace, friendship, mutual cooperation, non-interference, and global welfare.

In the days to come as well, by embracing all these policies including plurality, diversity, social goodwill, national unity, Nepal will be enhancing friendship and cooperation with all friendly nations and international communities. In this important occasion, the presence and active participation of intellectuals, academics, and celebrated personalities associated with Buddhism has heightened the dignity of this historical Buddhist Conference.

After a decade-long violent conflict and an extended political transition, and having institutionalized the rights of sovereign people and promulgating a new constitution of the Democratic Republic of Nepal; in the context of our attention being focused on the country’s economic and social transformation, I believe that our national pride Gautam Buddha’s immortal teachings shall always guide and inspire us.

In the end, having the belief that this occasion shall provide us additional inspiration to follow the teachings of Gautam Buddha with heart, word, and action; I once more would like to thank the organizer friends and all those participating in this program.

Thank you!