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Sarnath gets ready for two-day Buddha Purnima festival
The city of Sarnath in Uttar Pradesh is getting ready to observe Buddha Purnima in the coming week featuring a series of programmes. Sarnath, near Varanasi, is the place where Buddha preached his first sermon and is deemed to be one of the most sacred places by Buddhists. Both, the Maha Bodhi Society of India (MBSI) and UP Tourism are going to hold a two-day programme starting from May 25 combining both religious and cultural activities to attract foreign and Indian devotees and tourists.

According to the UP tourism department, Buddhists worldwide look upon India as the land of the Buddha and a visit to this country means a pilgrimage to those places sacred to the memory of the Enlightened One. After the Buddha attained enlightenment in Bodh Gaya he came to Sarnath and delivered his first sermon. Buddhist monks and scholars from across the world throng Sarnath for the two-day festival in Sarnath.

On the morning of Buddha Purnima, MBSI monks will administer Ashtangsheel and offerings to Lord Buddha followed by religious function at the Mulagandha Kuty Vihara. The day-long religious function will end with the recitation of Dhammachakka Pavattana Sutta. Thereafter, there will be a ceremony of lighting of lamps at the Bodhi Tree complex in the evening.

The two-day festival at Sarnath is going to attract large number of devotees who will flock to the city to perform important religious activities marked by prayers, sermons and recitation of Buddhist scriptures on the first day. On the second day classical music and dance performances will be held by the tourism department.

The National Museum in Delhi, as usual, will bring the mortal remains of Buddha, believed to be his bones and ashes, for their public viewing on Buddha Purnima at Sarnath.

The Buddha, in Dhammapada, has said, "The kind of seed sown will produce that kind of fruit. Those who do good will reap good results.  Those who do evil will reap evil results. If you carefully plant a good seed, you will joyfully gather good fruit." May Lord Buddha's teachings enlighten us on the path of love, peace and truth. Wishing all Buddhists a Happy Buddha Purnima!

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