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Bodhgaya News
Founded: March 15 2002
Last updated: Monday, November 18, 2002
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October Stories

Hundreds embrace Buddhism
SHYAM PAREKH TIMES NEWS NETWORK
[ TUESDAY, OCTOBER 29, 2002 12:19:32 AM ]
AHMEDABAD: Nearly a thousand Dalits in Ahmedabad embraced Buddhism on Sunday, in the presence of monks from Asian countries. Followers of Babasaheb Ambedkar chanted "Budham Sharanam Gachchhami, Sangham Sharanam Gachchhami, Dhammam Sharanam Gachchhami" during the ceremony. full story at the Times of India

Sri Lanka Airlines to fly first From Gaya Airport
Gaya, 28 October (Dainik Jagran). Preparations for the first flight from Gaya International Airport are just about complete. The first flight will be on the 6th November. Official information to this effect has been received by Gaya airport. The first flight will be by Sri Lanka airlines which will fly once a week to Colombo.
Gaya air port assistant manager of communications A. K. Varma today told 'Jagran' that the Indian Airports Authority had fixed the date of November 6th for the first flight. full story at Dainik Jagran

Bihar: Tourist Protection Force soon
Patna, Oct. 26. (PTI): (The Hindu) The State Home Department has approved a proposal of the Tourism Department to raise a Tourist Protection Force to ensure a safe and hassle-free visit for foreign and domestic tourists, official sources said today. The proposal would soon be forwarded to the State Cabinet for its approval, they said. The sources said the proposal called for setting up police stations for tourists at important tourist destinations including Patna, Rajgir, Bodh Gaya and Vaishali. full story at The Hindu

Gift of Cloth to 350 Monks at Mahabodhi Temple Gaya, 23 October (Dainik Jagran). The ceremony of kathina for giving cloth to monks was today celebrated in the compound of the Mahabodhi temple in Bodhgaya. On this occasion food and cloth for robes was given to 350 monks. In the Theravada tradition after the monks have spent four months on the rains retreat lay people offer to them robes. more

Christians and Buddhists Pray Together For Peace in the Mahabodhi Temple Bodhgaya, 22 October. (Dainik Jagran). Buddhist and Christian leaders took part in a common prayer for world peace today in the Mahabodhi temple. A group of 40 Christians from Patna under the leadership of the Archbishop arrived in Bodhgaya this afternoon. About three in the afternoon the party of around fourty bishops prayed under the Bodhi tree for about an hour and a half and the heads of most of the main Buddhist monasteries in Bodhgaya also took part in the prayer meeting. The head monk of the Temple Management Committee Ven. Bodhipala led the puja and archana [worship]. The Committee Chairman Kalicaran Yadav gave all the Christian followers mementos of the temple. On this occasion Father Mathew Ujahutal [?] of the Patna Archbishop house said that the ceremony for world peace had been organised by the Japanese Monk Ekai Korematsu and around one hundred Buddhists and Christians had taken part in it. [Note: Ekai Korematsu is a Melbourne resident who visits Bodhgaya each year to teach meditation:-PGF]

Compare the Jagran report with the PTI report....

Christian clerics pray for world peace
Press Trust of India Gaya, October 22 (Hindustan Times) A 40-member team of archbishops, bishops and other clerics from India and Indonesia on Tuesday prayed for world peace at the famous Mahabodhi temple here. The team, led by archbishop of North India V J Costa, visited Bodh Gaya early today after a three-day triennial meeting which began on October 20 in the state capital. The prayer meeting was organised by the secretary of the Mahabodhi Temple Executive Body, Kalicharan Yadav, temple sources said. Besides the visiting dignitaries, foreign monks living at Bodh Gaya participated in the meet and prayed for peace in the world, they said. Full story at Hindustan Times

MCC Extremists Hold Torch Light March
Gaya, 22 October. (Dainik Jagran). The banned extremist organisation the MCC [Maoist Communist Council] held a torch light march last night in the hope of ensuring the success of the Kolkata [Calcutta] convention. In the village of Mathurapur in the extremist effected area of Gurua precinct slogans were shouted in support of the MCC. more

SriLankan flies to Buddha Gaya
October 20 (Sunday Observer). SriLankan Airlines will launch flights to Buddha Gaya in India and resume flights to Frankfurt in Germany, among other scheduled enhancements, in the Winter 2002 season. The Airbus A320 will be deployed to Bodh Gaya every Tuesday afternoon, beginning November 12. This raises SriLankan's destinations in India to seven, the other six being New Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai, Bangalore, Trichy and Trivandrum. full story at the Sunday Observer

Bihar to get extra paramilitary forces
Gaya, Oct 20. (PTI) (The Hindu): The Union Home Ministry has agreed to provide 12 companies of additional paramilitary forces to Bihar to deal with the challenge posed by naxalites in rural areas, according to a top police official. full story at the Hindu

Operators may get 74% in non-metro airports
Amrita Dhar New Delhi, 18 October (Business Standard). The civil aviation ministry is planning to give 74 per cent equity to the private operator in case of privatisation of non-metro airports. According to senior Airports Authority of India (AAI) officials, the private player will have control as far as terminal management is concerned. full story at the Business Standard

Bodhgaya Prepares For Tourist Season
Bodhgaya, 18 October. (Dainik Jagran). The international tourist season begins during this month in Bodhgaya. But so far the arrival of foreign tourists is next to nothing. more

Gaya Gears Up for Maiden International Flight from Next Month Gaya, October 16 (PatnaDaily.com). Comes November, Bihar will be connected with Sri Lanka and Thailand by air with Gaya Airport acting as the hub thanks to the World Heritage Site accorded to it recently. Shahnawaz Hussain, the Civil Aviation Minister on Wednesday, said that Air India flights will open from November 6 and 8 for Bangkok and Colombo respectively. full story at PatnaDaily.com

Land of the Buddha Resounds to the Sound of Vedic Mantras Bodhgaya 14 October (Dainik Jagran). The sacred land of the Buddha is resounding to the sacred sounds of the recitation of Vedic chants at various functions held on the occasion of Durga Puja. According to custom on the Seventh day of Navaratri ("Nine nights") the final form is given to the pavilions in which statues of the goddess are erected and the ceremony of "Opening the Eye cloth" takes place. more

Possibility of International Flights from Gaya Airport by Month's end Gaya (Dainik Jagran). The Gaya international airport reconstruction is now complete. There is the possibity of the first flights taking off by the end of the month. No official announcement has yet been made by the Airports Authority of India. But there is news of the possibility of the first flight on the 29th of October. more

Fast Against Animal Sacrifice at Mangala Gauri
Gaya, 11 October (Dainik Jagran). Under the banner of the Sarva Mangala Shanti Mission a one day fast against animal sacrifice was held in the courtyard of the Mangala Gauri temple. Several notable citizens of the city and the ward council took part in this fast. During the fast speakers spoke on the need for the ending of the practice of animal sacrifice. more

Fast Against Animal Sacrifices Gaya 9 October (Dainik Jagran). The Sarva Mangala Shanti Mission ("Universal Mangala Peace Mission") has announced a one day fast for the 11th of October against the practice of animal sacrifice at the famous Shaktipith (site sacred to the goddess) of the temple of Mangala Gauri. more

Maya to give UP world's tallest Buddha
New Indian Express R.B. Singh, 30th July 2002
LUCKNOW: Uttar Pradesh will soon have the world's tallest statue of Lord Buddha in its Kushinagar district. Chief Minister Mayawati has agreed to provide 700 acres of land free to private global organisation Maitreyi to install the 500-foot statue of the sitting Buddha, an art gallery, a museum, hospital of international standards, philosophical university, women's college and hotel. Sources say Maitreyi is prepared to spend more than Rs 2,000 crore on the project. (Read a copy of the rest of the article on http://www.ambedkar.org/ which may load quicker than the Indian Express site.)

Pitripaksa Fair Concludes with Offerings at Akshayvat Gaya, 6 October (Dainik Jagran). The Pitripaksa Fair which has been going on in Gaya for the last fortnight was today concluded with the ceremony of Suphala for the Gayapal Brahmins at the Akshayvat Altar. The pilgrims have now started to return to their homes. more

Demolition of Monasteries in Buffer Zone?
Melbourne, 7 October. I just came across an article from the 30th of July on Rediff.com which gives a good picture of the issues related to the "buffer zone". The article included the following: "Now that it is a world heritage site, almost all the structures within a one-kilometre radius around the temple have to be removed in order to create the buffer zone as specified by UNESCO. If this is not done, UNESCO can withdraw the declaration. What is worrying many is not the ugly shanties, including shabby restaurants, hotels, guesthouses and shops, but a string of breathtaking monasteries built by various countries, including China, Thailand, Sri Lanka, Japan and Nepal, in their own architectural styles. Buddhist monks, in particular, see these monasteries as a part of the Mahabodhi temple and are emotionally attached to them." and also "The authorities have still not spelt out what they plan to do. But Lohani says there is absolutely no question of demolishing any of the monasteries, as they are a part of the site. He explains that UNESCO only specifies there should be a buffer zone of one kilometre around the site. This, he says, means that no new constructions would be allowed and, if there are any, they would have to blend with the heritage site and should not be above 33 feet. The Bodhgaya Temple Advisory Board has already declared a protected buffer zone, beginning from the boundary wall of the temple, wherein no encroachments or illegal structures will be allowed. The Bihar government plans to persuade those living around the temple to shift. Around 1,000 acres of land have been earmarked just for this and may be called Gautamnagar after Gautama Buddha. But the local populace, whose lives are linked to the tourist traffic that visits the temple, are not keen on shifting to an area where their livelihoods are threatened. " link to article.[note an extemely similar article attributed to Ramesh Menon is on the Sri Lankan Daily News website for the 21st of August, see this link]

BOUDDHISME EN INDE: DISPUTES AUTOUR DU TEMPLE DE BODHGAYA Religioscope - 24 août 2002 (Religioscope). Désireux de voir des bouddhistes contrôler le temple de Bodhgaya (Bihar), lieu où le Bouddha aurait atteint l'illumination il y a 2.500 ans, des moines bouddhistes demandent à l'ONU d'intervenir. link to article [an interesting article on a French Webserver about the Bodhgaya temple]

Ancestor Offerings in Vaitrani Lake, Fair concludes Today Gaya, 5 October (Dainik Jagran). Rituals have been being conducted at the Vaitarani Lake in the South of the City since this morning. There is a particular importance to making water offerings for the ancestors at the Vaitarani Lake the day before the new moon. Tomorrow the Pitripaksa fair will be concluded with offerings made at the Akshayvat altar. more

Sabotage caused Rajdhani crash: Panel
New Delhi, Oct 3 (Sify.Com). An official probe into the Rajdhani train mishap in Rafiganj in Bihar last month has found that sabotage was the cause of the accident. full story at Sify.Com

Gaya is the City of Liberation
Gaya, 2 October, (Dainik Jagran). Ramesh Joshi, a pilgrim [to the Pitripaksa Fair] who has come from Kolkata [Calcutta] in West Bengal says that Gaya is the city of liberation and most pilgrims come here due to faith. He also said that when Bhagwan [Buddha?] came to Gaya the Vishnupad temple must already have been here as this is what history tells us. It is also clear that the enlightenment that Bhagwan Buddha obtained in Bodhgaya is somehow connected with having faith in Bhagwan Vishnu. more

Auspicious Sign in Arrival of Foreign Tourists before Tourist Season Bodhgaya, 1 October (Dainik Jagran). The arrival of foreign tourists before the beginning of the tourist season is being perceived by local tradespeople as an auspicious sign. more


September 2002 Stories
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Ambedkar Website
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Old Buddhist Shrines at Bodh-Gaya Inscriptions: B.M. Barua
Battling for the Buddha: William Dalrymple
Antioch Education Abroad
Mahabodhi Temple Page [at www.stupa.org.nz]
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Texts and Translations © Peter G. Friedlander unless otherwise indicated.