Bodh Mahotsav concludes today
Sahara Samay. Posted at Friday,
29 December 2006 20:12 IST, Bodhgaya, Dec 29: The Bodh Mahotasav today
concludes here after registering huge inflow of disciples from across
the world, Sahara Samay sources said. This year celebrations mark the
2550 enlightenment anniversary of Mahatma Buddha. Read
Kagyu 24th Pooja for World Peace from today
Bodhgaya, 26 December 2006 (Dainik
Jagran). For world peace and prosperity the 24th Kagyu Monlom pooja
will be inaugurated by the 'Sholjung' pooja in the shade of the sacred
of the Bodhi tree situated in the compound of the Mahabodhi temple on
Wednesday. Concerning the pooja the Karmapa's secretary Gompo Chering
said that the 'Sholjung' pooja would begin at 5.30. He said that under
the auspices of the pooja all the Lamas and faithful would take a vow
to all day long do auspicious works so that this might be established
as a habit in life. Following that from six in the evening there would
be a special prayer ceremony inaugurated by the head guru. Taking part
in this pooja will be Jamgon Kontrul Rinpoche, Kenken Yogjeen Thungu
Rinpoche, Mingoor Rinpoche, Gyalsam Rinpoche [and other people to numerous
to mention:pgf]. He said that apart from about a thousand Tibetan Lamas
countless foreign tourists would also be taking part in the pooja. He
said that the pooja was being done with the aim of benefiting humanity
and in particular bearing in mind those people who lived in the Bodhgaya
area. Mr Chering said that the Dharmaguru [i.e. head of the Kagyu lineage]
had organised two special groups for health and cleanliness. [report
continues with notes on how many butter offerings are being prepared
and special arrangements for the seating of international visitors have
been made. Furthermore the Karmapa has given special training to the
monks in Terga Monastery and on Tuesday scores of monks in traditional
dress performed and were inspected by the Karmapa himself.
Town buzzing with rumours about preparations for Buddhist Festival
Bodhgaya, 16 December 2006 (Dainik
Jagran). As ever this year once again the government is to organise
a three day Buddhist Festival in the place of the Buddha's enlightenment.
This year the state has organised that in view of it being the 2550th
anniversary of the Buddha's Mahaparinirvana the proposed festival should
be special and on a high level. The dates of the Buddhist festival have
been announced by the state and district administration. Whilst to ensure
the success of the festival committees have been inaugurated by the
district administration. However, the progress in publicising the festival
is still slow. Due to which the local people and visiting tourists are
still unaware of the forthcoming program and have not had a glimpse
of the extensiveness of the three day program. There are only ten days
left till the program, but there are no banners by the roadside and
no signs or posters displayed.
Local people say that last year a fortnight before the festival signboards
and notices announcing the festival program were displayed in different
places along the Gaya to Bodhgaya road. But this time there is nothing.
Organisations for the international seminar are being made on the level
of the temple management committee. This has been organised to add weight
to the Buddhist Festival by the Temple Management Committee on the 29th
of December. The clear up and cleaning of the area for the Buddhist
Festival has been carried out by the local administration. But work
on the painting and restoration of the stage is delayed.
Multi-faith Conference on 2550th Anniversary of the Buddha's Parinirvana
Bodhgaya, December 10 2006, (Dainik
Jagran). On the forthcoming 29th of December in view of it being
the 2550th anniversary of the Buddha's Parinirvana there will be a multi-faith
conference organised in the compound of the Temple Management Committee.
Under the auspices of the Bodhgaya Mahabodhi Temple Management Committee
well known participants from various religions will take part. The conference
will be inaugurated in the shade of the sacred Bodhi tree.
Whilst jointly giving this information the Temple Committee Secretary
Dr. Kalicaran Singh Yadav and the Monk in charge Bhante Bodhipal said
that those who would be present would include: from the Hindu dharma
Swami Shankaranand of the Ranchi branch of the Ram Krishna mission;
from the Islamic dharma the former VC of Ranchi University Prof.
Seen Aktar; from the Jain dharma Sadhvi Dr. Samprajnaji from
Virayatana Rajgir; from the Christian dharma Benedict Osta Archbishop
of Patna; from the Sikh dharma Patna Gurdwara's leader Gyani
Ikbal Singh ji; and from the Buddha dharma the head teacher of
the Kagyu lineage the 17th Karmapa Ugyen Trinle Dorje. It is possible
that the conference will be inaugurated by the state's governor R. S.
Temporary location for Vegetable market and footpath traders
Bodhgaya, 29 Nov 2006 (Dainik
Jagran). Bodhgaya's 'Buddha wisdom' vegetable market and footpath
traders will be provided within two or three days with a temporary location
by the district administration. The aforementioned decision was taken
by the District Magistrate at a meeting chaired by him on Tuesday. The
block officer Rakesh Kumar told the meeting that an empty place on the
east of the Kalacakra field was being made available. Within a few days
the vegetable market would be relocated there. He also added that for
the footpath traders who had been removed sites have been identified
alongside the Jayprakash Narayan garden compound wall and on the northern
side of the Tibetan temple. Which after a few days would be confirmed
and put into action. He said the site of the Taxi stand would be changed.
He said the situation is unclear in relation to the rates to be realised
from the relocated vegetable market and footpath traders which would
be clarified quickly. He said the town council was presenting its claim
to the eastern fringe of the Kalacakra field. He said that in the meeting
the District Magistrate inspected the papers in relation the restoration
of a tank on the bypass road and carried out a site inspection. In the
meeting were present: the chief sub-circle officer, the town council
head, the deputy head, Jay Singh the head of the hotel association,
the temple secretary Dr. Kalicaran Singh Yadav, along with the leader
of the footpath traders association and the vegetable market union leader.
Long necked Buddha dispute
Bodhgaya, 14 November 2006, (Dainik
Jagran). A dispute arose on Tuesday about a long necked Buddha image
made by an artist working in the 'Buddha Enlightenment International'
art project. New Buddhists (Ambedkarites) declared the image to be 'insulting'
(bigarne) and cloaked it in fabric. The workshop has been running for
the last twenty days in the Tourist Bungalow compound and about three
dozen artists from India and around the world have been presenting work
in it. Amongst the artists is Sanjay Kumar from Sahebganj who made this
image of the Buddha who has a fairly long neck and holds a rosary in
his hand. Crowds gathered to see the long neck of this Buddha. But on
Tuesday evening hundreds of new Buddhists who had come to visit Bodhgaya
objected to the image. They all said that this was not an image of Buddha
found anywhere. It was a joke made by the artist at the expense of Buddhists.
Whilsts the artist claimed this was not his intention. He said clearly
it was something he had imagined and he had presented through the medium
of art. If anybody was offended by it he was sorry. Some dispute had
already arisen on Monday night about this, but this dispute had been
raised by Sanatanadharm followers (Hindus).
Bodhgayanews attracts 15,000 visitors so far in 2006
Melbourne, November 11th 2006. (Peter Friedlander). I have been running
this site now for a few years and its great to see people still visiting,
and I think in every increasing numbers, October was the busiest month
this year with some 10,566 requests for pages. Remembering that web
statistics are a pretty vague science its notable that your visit is
one of an average of about 250 a day which the site is currently receiving.
Or to put it another way in 2006 so far around 15,000 people have visited
20,000 times and viewed 40,000 pages. So whatever way you look at it
that sounds like a lot of people are interested in Bodhgaya. So thanks
for dropping by.
Gandhi and Gandhigiri
Melbourne, 9th November 2006, (Peter Friedlander). By some
odd chance I ended up doing a ten minute segment on a Radio Darwin show
today. Here are the notes I made up for that conversation.
Since the film 'Lage Raho Munna Bhai' was released on September 1st
2006 a new word 'Gandhigiri' has entered the worlds vocabulary. It is
an invented word, coined by Abhijaat Joshi, who was born in Amhamadabad
but is now an Ohio-based writer who penned the screenplay and dialogue
writer of "Lage Raho Munna Bhai". In Hindi words like Dadagiri
mean rule by the mafia (mafia dons can be called dada in Hindi) and
the ending -giri is often associated with gangsters. For instance, when
a peaceful protest in Delhi recently turned violent one press article
talked of it turning from Gandhi-hood back to thug-hood (goondagiri).
The film built on the success of an earlier movie Munna Bhai MBBS (2003)
in which the characters of a lovable gangster, Munna Bhai, and his sidekick,
Circit, were introduced. In that film Munna Bhai tried to become a doctor,
in this he tries to become an expert on Gandhi. Media interest in the
movie made for an explosion of interest in Gandhi. One of the features
of the movie is that it ‘re-brands' Gandhi as somebody human and approachable,
which is wildly different from the general perception of him which has
him as a kind of stuffy father figure of the nation famous for his being
an ascetic,puritanical ideas. But in the movie he gives advice to Munna
Bhai on his love life, and inspires him to adopt non-violent methods
to solve his problems, the writer of the film comments that they wanted
to promote the side of Gandhi which was ‘witty, homorous and light-hearted'.
The success of the movie and the notion of gandhigiri has led to a world
wide movement and the establishment of several websites promoting the
idea of Gandhigiri, in the sense of following Gandhian principles. One
story speaks of Gandhi being ‘cool like never before' (NDTV).
However, under this umbrella there is a lot of stuff going on which
is using the word Gandhi than anything else. Some is related to Gandhi's
ideas of non-violent protest. These were influential on figures such
as Martin Luther King and the civil rights movement in the US . So pretty
much any non-violent protest could be described as an aspect of Gandhigiri,
and is in the press at the moment. Indeed, odd headlines, like ‘Nuclear
Gandhigiri' are appearing, trying to address the notion of how there
could be peaceful protests against North Korea 's nuclear campaign.
Or ‘Gandhigiri hits Hollywood ' which is a story about how Angelina
Jolie is working as a goodwill ambassadour for refugees. ( Washington
On the other hand some people are taking up the particular form of protest
which is illustrated in the movie, sending flowers and get well cards
to corrupt bosses. For instance. Back on October 10th doctors at the
AIIMS in Delhi protested by sending flowers and get well cards during
the visit of the the health minister Anubamani Ramadoss's against his
lack of action during the recent epidemic of Dengue fever in Delhi,
in which more than 175 people have died this rainy season.
Current protests in Delhi also paint a picture of Gandhigiri in action,
and its problems. The Delhi Government has moved against shops which
were illegally built in areas not zoned for commerce and shut them down
and in protest the traders organised a Gandhigiri type protest with
sending flowers and get well cards to the administration. However, when
their peaceful protests did not work they also resorted to mob violence
to try and implement their aims, what one paper called Gandhigiri turning
into Goondagiri, with looting, burning of cars, buses and general mayhem.
So while there is no doubt a great future for non-violent protest along
Gandhian lines whether the success of this movie will turn out to have
the impact that Gandhi's life itself did is something we will have to
wait and see.
Three Bodhgaya tales: Art and Business
Melbourne, November 11th 2006. (Peter Friedlander). There have been
a few stories about Bodhgaya recently in the Dainik Jagran. Some tell
familiar stories, for instance complaints about parking and traffic
chaos in the temple area, probems at the station in Gaya, some are variations
on common stories, like the one about the tourist season below, some
are new, like the idea of an art workshop. Here is a sample from November
8th. Note that in the new form of Dainik Jagran Website a fixed link
to it seems to behave in an odd way, it links to a particular story,
but the related links on the page link to today's stories, at least
I think that is what is happening.
Meaningful effort to tell the date of the enlightenment from the
Bodhgaya, November 8th 2006 (Dainik
Jagran). In the 'Buddha Enlightenment' workshop Gavoti of France
through his art is trying to prove the [date] of the 2550th anniversary
of the Mahaparinirvana of the Buddha. Gavoti is trying to prove from
sunlight the date of when the Buddha got enlightenment. Gavoti said
that in his view Buddha got 'enlightening light' in Bodhgaya. He got
enlightened. Therefore I know no better topic than light. He said that
by knowing when the sun light was during the last two and a half thousand
years he could determine the date of the enlightenment.
Discussing the Buddha-land (Bodhgaya) Gavoti said that many people had
experienced spiritual enlightenment here and it had changed their lives.
He said that people can regard this as imaginary, scientific or natural.
But it was true that this land had some miraculous quality which attracts
people. Gavoti said in fifteen years of artistic travels it was a happy
experience to come to Bodhgaya and work with other artists. He said
that glimpses of various countries cultures could be seen in India.
Laughing he replied to some questions saying that what could he say
about that land which had given the message of peace and non-violence
to the whole world. [See next article to provide context for this story
DM Inspects 'Buddha Enlightenment' Workshop
Bodhgaya, 8 November 2006, (Dainik
Jagran). On Tuesday the Divisional Commissioner of Magadh Division
Shakti Kumar Negi inspected the site of the 'Buddha Enlightenment' workshop
situated in the grounds of the tourist compound. The Divisional Commissioner
was welcomed to the worshop by the Director Sanjiv Sinha and the organiser
Ananjay Bhusana. TheDivisional Commissioner Mr Negi carefully inspected
the works created by foreign and Indian artists in the workshop in the
Sujata Vihar (The Tourist Bungalow). Mr Negi had a heart to heart conversation
with Brian Mulville (?) of the Royal Academy Schools Gallery of London.
After which he went to see each of the works and artists in the compound.
He expressed approval of the art works. The Director Sanjiv Sinha and
the organiser Ananjay Bhusana said that considerable help had been given
by the Divisional Commissioner Mr Negi. Due to this the morale had been
raised of the artists, painters and organising team by the visit of
Tourist Season Knocks on the Door, Tibetans spread out their wares
Bodhgaya, 8 November 2006, (Dainik
Jagran). The tourist season has knocked on Bodhgaya's door and on
the eastern fringe of the Kalacakra field Tibetan merchants have given
new forms to their concerns. On the one hand the considerable attraction
for the tourists of the Tibetan refugee market has opened. On the other
hand nearby countless restaurants serving Tibetan food are being set
up. However, traditional minded [sanatan dharmi, could also be understood
to mean Hindu] people only venture into them by mistake and it is only
modern minded people who take tea and snacks in them. But in these restaurants
a great number of foreign tourists can be seen. In the special 'Menus'
of these restaurants are tea, momos, batata [not a word I know, potatoes?,
or a way of talking about chocho?] and other things, which are awarded
the title of tasty by Tibetan and foreign tourists. Due to this the
restaurants are crowded until late into the night. Not only this but
also the Tibetan intoxicating liquid beverage 'Chang' is also much in
demand. For the Chang drinkers along with the Chang they enjoy watching
English Medium TV in the restuarants. Bodhgaya circle office workers
say that in the tourist season not only from the restuarants but also
other businesses the office gets a fairly good revenue.
Foreign Tourists Enjoy Diwali
Jagran) On Diwali on Saturday night at the International Tourist
Site of Bodhgaya local and foreign tourists let off lots of fireworks.
The scenes of firework displays could be seen a lot outside of hotels
where foreign tourists were staying. The letting off of fireworks went
on until late at night. Foreign tourists mostly let off colourful fireworks
or ones that spread coloured light in the sky, rather than very loud
ones. Foreign tourists staying in small hotels were guided by guides
in understanding the importance of Diwali and showed an interest in
letting off fireworks. However, several tourists were also seen in the
market who did not like the loud noises. They walked around covering
their ears. Several also showed their interest in fireworks and let
them off. Some foreign tourists eating in restaurants also wished locals
Audio files: Teachers Absent, Cloth Giving Ceremony at Mahabodhi,
Melbourne, October 17. (Peter Friedlander) If you care to listen to
myself and Anandini Dar explaining how to read a Hindi newspaper story
then check out subfm where
you can listen to recordings of webcasts we have been doing. Webcasts
20, 21, 22 and 23, which we did today all have Bodhgaya related stories,
along with other news stories. For a listing of the stories we have
covered see this page Reading
Demonstration demands investigation into income of NGOs
Bodhgaya, October 16, 2006. (Dainik
Under the banner of a 'public protest' hundreds of people demonstrated
today and chanted slogans loudly near the Temple Management Committee
office demanding an investigation into the incomes and activities of
the scores of NGOs operating in Bodhgaya.
During the demonstration slogans against the DM were chanted. The demonstration
was led by Arup Brahmachari and Vijay Kumar. They said that there are
about six hundred NGOs in Bodhgaya which are snatching foreign income
in the name of the uplift of the poor. But the situation of the poor
in the area has not changed at all. They also said there are institutions
which oppress children and which have leaders who are millionaires.
Mr Brahmachari said that the institutions should be investigated by
the CBI or a retired judge.
"Tourist Season Knocking on the door of Bodhgaya"
Melbourne, October 5, 2006. I noticed today that the Dainik Jagran has
updated the look of its website, you can see the new look here.
One of the stories today was about how preparations are being made for
the new tourist season in Bodhgaya. I discussed one of the stories in
a webcast today on SubFm,
and in a few days an mp3 of that discussion will be available on the
World Class Golf Course for Bodhgaya?
Melbourne, October 4, 2006, In a story by Nirmala George of AP in the
Pittsburgh Post Gazette there is a great account of a visit to Bodhagaya
which includes the following. "A year-long celebration of the 2,550th
anniversary of the Buddha's death, called the Parinirvana, began in
May, but plans to gradually upgrade facilities will unfold over 25 years.
The detailed blueprint includes numerous luxury and budget hotels around
the Buddhist circuit. It also includes a world-class 18-hole golf course
in Bodh Gaya and luxurious spas, said Manoj Srivastava, who heads Bihar's
state-run tourism development corporation. If that seems odd logic --
bringing the hedonism of golf to a land steeped in both spiritualism
and poverty -- Srivastava disagrees. "While Bihar's rich trove
of Buddhist treasures serve the spiritual quest, the average traveler
is also looking to relax," he said." read
Bodhi Tree Branch Cut?
Melbourne, July 24, 2006 (Peter Friedlander). A number of stories alleging
that a branch was recently cut from the Bodhi tree and sold to foreigners
recently appeared, and were promptly denied. On July 20th Hindustan
Times carried this story as Branch
of holy tree chopped off in Bodh Gaya.An interesting take on it,
including a mention of selling a branch to a Japanese Tourist, and that
the demand for an investigation was made by Rabri Devi, ex CM of Bihar
appears in the Patna Daily of July 23rd under the heading Conflicting
Reports on Mahabodhi Tree Status. Stories such as Bodhi
tree controversy from Time.now.tv also show how the story developed,
and those like No
damage to Bodhi tree: Govt, from DNA India show how it then fizzled
out. The Dainik Jagran Hindi reports were very similar and did not seem
to add much more. The Mahabodhi
Temple Site also contains, as of 21st July, an appeal for people
not to believe in this apparently completely unfounded rumour.
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