Buddhist monks praise love, hospitality of Pakistani people

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APP14-23 TAXILA: May 23 – A group photograph of members of Sri Lank delegation during their visit at Dharmarajika in connection with Visak Festival to celebrate Lord Buddha’s Birthday. APP photo by Saeed-ul-Mulk

ISLAMABAD, May 23 (APP): Buddhist monks who were part of the
delegation participating in ‘Vesakh Mela’ celebrations arranged by
National History and Literary Heritage (NH&LH) Division Tuesday said the hospitality, love and respect given by Pakistani people had added charm to our ‘Vesak day’ celebrations and won our hearts.
“Preservation and maintenance of our sacred places by the
officials is evident of the level of respect Pakistan has for our
religious beliefs,” they said.
A delegation of around 40 buddhist monks and visitors from Sri
Lanka headed by Professor N Gnanaratana reached Pakistan on Sunday
to attend ‘Vesak Mela’ celebrations.
Talking to APP, Head of Sri Lankan Buddhist monks’ delegation,
Professor N Gnanaratana said, “Pakistan is a real friend of Sri
Lanka who always stood with it in conflicted situations, natural
calamities and every hour of need which the whole Sri Lankan nation
acknowledge and admire”.
Referring to a famous quote,”A friend in need is a friend
indeed”, Professor N Gnanaratana said, “Pakistan is true friend of
Sri Lanka and this is not only the observation of Sri Lankan
government but the ordinary people also think in this way”.
He said, “Whenever there is any debate or issue at
international forums, Pakistan has always raised its voice in favour
of Sri Lanka”.
Both the countries have many cultural similarities and have
great love and respect for each others religion, he said.
Professor N Gnanaratana said, Pakistan and China are two of
the countries which always extended unconditional support and love
to Sri Lanka and its people.
The female Buddhist monks including P Dhammanande, M
Seelapriga and A Summanaseeli, they said, “We are in Pakistan for
the first time and very excited about our journey to the sacred
places of Taxila and Takht Bai”.
They said, “We are impressed with the arrangements of this
festival in Pakistan, warm welcome by the officials and hospitality
of Pakistani people. It is just like we are at our second home”.
The Sri Lankan delegation of Buddhist monks were taken to the
historical Buddhist spots of Taxila and Takht Bai by the officials
of the NH&LH Division where they performed their religious rituals.
The officials of the division briefied the monks about the
historical significance of these places.
The opening ceremony of Vesakh Mela was attended by Federal
Secretary for NH&LH Division, Engineer Aamir Hasan, Joint Secretary,
NH&LH Division, Syed Junaid Ikhlaq and High Commissioner of Sri
Lanka for Pakistan, Maj General ® Jayanath C P Lokuketagodage.
The Vesak day is celebrated to commemorate events of
significance to the Buddhist of all traditions: the birth,
enlightenment and the passing away of Gautama Buddha.
The Vesak Festival, also known as Buddha Purnima (full moon)
and Buddha Day, is a holiday observed traditionally on different
days in all Buddhist countries of Asia and other parts of the world.