Open Learning Buddhist Studies
Bodhgaya News
Founded: March 15 2002
Last updated: May 23, 2002
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Gangs of New Buddhists Start Arriving at the Land of the Buddha
Bodhgaya, 21 May. The Mahabodhi Temple of Bodhgaya which is the site of the enlightenment of the Buddha and the sacred site of love, non-violence, peace and compassion has been for the last few years caught up in controversy. On the occasion of the Buddha Jubilee Ambedkarite Buddhists and monks renouncing traditional practices have been campaigning to gain control [Hindi kabja] over the Mahabodhi Temple Management Committee and causing all manner of fears to arise in the minds of the peace loving citizens. Recently during the last few years the Mahabodhi Temple Liberation Movement has included New Buddhists and has been taking on a political form.
In this chain of events in the week before Buddha Purnima gangs of New-Buddhists have started arriving in Bodhgaya and there has been an increase in activity. On the 26th of May again the cries of 'I take refuge in the Buddha [buddham sharanam gachami] and 'Liberate it!' [mukt karo] having been piercing the heated air and the New Buddhists have been seen struggling to find accommodation and drinking water. Whilst on this sacred occasion several local organizations have fulfilled the ancient practice of regarding the guest as god [atithi devo bhava] and setting up stalls supplying drinking water.
On the one hand the Temple Management Committee according to its previously announced program has been decorating the Mahabodhi Temple with ultra-modern decorations and joyfully publically celebrating this three fold sacred day [it marks the birth, enlightenment and death of the Buddha:-PGF]. Whilst on the other hand before this sacred festival the Mahabodhi Temple Liberation Movement's priest and controversial Buddhist Leader the Venerable Ananda and the All India Monks Association's announcement of a parallel celebration of Buddha Jubilee by the New-Buddhist monks who have arrived and their actions has created a situation of uncertainty.
Radha Krishna Mishra member of the the BJP district Working Committee and Dharmendra Kumar, Krishna Kumar Pande and Arvind Kumar of the BJP youth movement said that it was a normal thing for Bodhgaya for simple plain New-Buddhists in the name of religion being to be made to gather together on the occasion of Buddha Jubilee to raise slogans for the Liberation of the Temple. The respected leaders said that as soon as Ven. Ananda was removed from the Management Committee and the post of secretary along with Ven. Prajnasheela and other Buddhists they began to be tormented by worries over reforming the Temple Management Act. Alongside this they said while asking for satisfactory security arrangements to be made by the local administration as they said that if any interferences were made with the [statues of Hindu] gods and goddesses in the temple compound the situation could become explosive. If this were to happen then the District Administration and Bhante Anand would be responsible for whatever happened.

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Texts and Translations © Peter G. Friedlander unless otherwise indicated.