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Last updated: May 31, 2002
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Lord Buddha Not Avatar of Vishnu: Ven. Anand
Bodhgaya, 29 May. Ven. Anand the National Secretary of the All India Monks Association said that saying that Buddha was an Avatar of Vishnu and that the Pandavas came to Bodhgaya is a fantasy being put forward in order to gain possession Mahabodhi Temple. [1] He said forcefully that Lord Buddha was not the ninth Avatar of Vishnu. Ven. Anand said this in a written statement issued at the conclusion of the Buddha Purnima festival.
It is notable that on the day of Buddha Purnima Festival the Vishva Hindu Parishad, Bajrang Dal and the Shiv Sena unfurled a banner in Bodhgaya saying 'Buddha is an Avatar of Vishnu'. There was a harsh reaction to the banner amongst the New-Buddhists and the administration had to intervene between them. It was in relation to this response that the National Secretary issued his statement.
Ven Anand said this was part of the forceful attempt by Hindus to take possession of the Mahabodhi temple. It was an imaginary fiction to claim that Buddha was an avatar of Vishnu. Because the Buddha himself did not believe in Avatars and did not announce that he was himself an Avatar so to call him an Avatar was an imaginary story. Ven. Anand made the claim that the images which are worshipped in the temple compound as the Five Pandava brothers were Buddha images. Ven. Ananda demanded that this be investigated by the Archaeological Department.
It is known that in the 90s when the Temple Liberation movement's cry was first raised in the temple compound the clothes were torn from the images worshipped as the five Pandavas in front of the temple and their water pitchers [kalash:-PGF] were broken. There was considerable controversy over this matter. In those temples today the priests of Bodhgaya [Hindu] Monastery still officiate over rites and rituals. The care for and supervision of the said Five Pandava temples are today in the responsibility of the Monastery. The Mahabodhi Temple Management Committee makes no expenses on these temples.
In this matter Ven. Anand has again repeated that these images are Buddhas. Ven. Anand says that matters will willfully put into the 1949 Temple Management Act due to the weakness of the Buddhists and a second act was made in which there are five Hindu members of the Committee. He said that fundamentalist Hindus wanted to wield the staff of their 'gangsterism' over the peoples of other religions.
He alleged that it was not even laughable, but rather puerile to say that Hindus and Buddhists were brothers. Buddhists culture was opposed to Brahmin culture. He said that some educated people wanted to express their ideas by distorting the Hindu dictionary.[2] Which in this scientific age was not possible.
Ven. Anand objected to the prevention of the sale of some books on Buddha Purnima by the DM. Along with this he said that the DM should not have done this. Also on the day of Buddha Purnima the temple in-charge Bodhipala distributed cloth for robes to some Lamas. Whilst cloth for robes was not distributed to Indian monks. Due to this the Buddhists were distressed.

[1] lit. Mahavihar, 'great monastery' apparently being used here to refer to the temple as, I think mandir, 'temple' is seen as being a Hindu word.
[2] I am not at all sure what this means.

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