The Great Shravasti Buddhist Cultural Assembly 2016, was launched in the morning, Nov. 20th, 2016 at Shravasti with the blessing of the Day, that the Lord Buddha descended from the Tushita Heaven after completing a teaching to his mother.
At 9:45 am, His Holiness the Drikung Kyabgon Tinle Lhundup arrived at the main gate where he was warmly received by the students of Chenrigzig School from Celmentown and the traditional welcoming procession offered by Aryan Folk dancers and Deklying Lhodrak performers. At 10:15am, the chief guest, His Excellency Sri. Netish Kumar (IAS) DM of Shravasti, arrived and was led to the main stage. His Holiness offered a khada to Sri. Netish Kumar and expressed his appreciation for his presence at the cultural assembly.
There after Ven. Khenpo Rangdol gave a welcoming speech to people from Sikkim, Nepal, Bhutan, Spiti, Aurangabad, Saharanpur, Ladakh and other parts of the world who came to attend this assembly. Then, the executive chief, Sri. KT Gyaltsen, gave a speech and introduced the Shravasti project.
He shared that His Holiness’ main aims and objectives for establishing the Shravasti project is to bring together Buddhists from different parts of the world to engage into dialogues as well as to promote the preservation of Buddhist culture and the natural environment.
At 10:20am, the Great Shravasti program began with the celebration of the 125th Birth Anniversary of Baba Saheb Dr. Bhim Rao Ambedkar. His Holiness Drikung Kyabgon Tinle Lhundup and the Chief Guests Sri. Netish Kumar offered khada and lamp offerings to the portrait of Dr. Bhim Rao Ambedkar. Monks from Kagyu College DKI chanted the Mangalacharan.
10:30am, Sri. Shanta Lal Patial delivered a speech focusing on the life story of Dr. Ambedkar as a Bodhisattva who struggle his entire life for justice and help for people in poverty in India.
11:00am, Dr. Wangchuk Dorji Negi gave a speech introducing the impact of Buddhism on Dr. Ambedkar’s life and the fact that Dr. Ambedkar later how he became a Buddhist. He also added that Dr. Ambedkar was among the great thinker of India, and critically and independently from a very young age studied law and used his knowledge to advocate for freedom, love and compassion in India that still benefit people nowadays.
Thereafter His Holiness kindly offered a speech on the contribution of Dr. Ambedkar and the importance of celebrating his birthday. His Holiness referred Dr. Ambedkar as a great Bodhisattva who tried every possible way to bring peace, happiness and equality for all people in India.
After His Holiness’s speech, Sri. Dada Mishra, the current MP of Shravasti also gave a speech on the importance of Buddhism and promised that his government will continue to support the Shravasti program in the future.
At the end of the opening ceremony, Sri. Netish Kumar, the DM of Shravasti gave a speech on the significance of Shravasti and the benefit that tourism brings to people in Shravasti.
November 20th was also the International Children’s day. ROLF offered gifts prepared by Malaysian disciples to students of Shravasti. His Holiness handed gifts to each of the students, who were all top10 students in their classes.
In the first session after Lunch, the 75th Birthday ceremony of His Holiness the Drikung Kyabgon Chokyi Nangwa was celebrated, and His Holiness the Drikung Kyabgon Tinle Lhundup kindly delivered a teaching on Dhammapada. He said: 'We are longing for physical and mental well-being. Actually, mental well-being plays a major role in achieving overall happiness. The importance of creating a positive and constructive mindset in order to lead a happy and successful life. As human beings, we have both body and mind, and we need to balance the combination for the genuine happiness.'
After the break, His Holiness led all the monks and nuns, guests from Aurangabad, Ladakh, Spiti, Nepal, Bhutan and Sikkim to visit Jetavana Grove and pay homage to Buddha. His Holiness and all participants chanted the refuge and buddhicitta prayer, the seven limbs prayer, Mangalacharan, the Heart Sutra, the Three Jewels Sutra, and Manjusrinamasamgiti and prayed for world peace following what Lord Buddha had done 2500 years ago.
After dinner, artists from Spiti-Kinnuri and Aryan from Ladakh performed cultural shows.
Ist Session, H.H. with all monks and nuns did puja and prayers with chanting of Sutras.
IInd Session, H.H. the Drikung Kyabgon Chetsang continued the Dhamapada teachings for all.
At 11:30 am H.H. with group of senior monks did vase puja at the construction sites.
IIIrd session, after lunch there were a group discussion led by each teacher of the group.
IVth session, evening prayers and dedication.
From 7 to 8:30pm Cultural show by Tibetan Artists from Chenrizig School in Clementown and Dekyiling.
From 3rd to 5th day all the sessions are same as usual. On the last day evening session His Holiness shared his motive of the Shravasti event, his future plan and thanked to the people who supported this event and became successful. After the cultural program Mr. KT Gyaltsen, the General Secretary of the committee gave conclude speech and took remembrance group picture. With this the 2nd Great Shravasti Buddhist Cultural Assembly event was enjoyed by all.