Greetings on Full Moon Day!
We have mixed emotions while releasing this issue. Our first issue of Buddhist Voice was well received by our readers. We have received numerous phone calls and messages congratulating us for release of the first issue of Buddhist Voice. We have emailed the issue to more than 50000 individuals and organizations across the world from our contact list. By the known statistics, we are sure that minimum 25% of the recipients must have read at least a few articles in the issue. For the first issue, it is certainly a big number. Besides emails, we have also published the e-magazine on various digital publishing platforms such as www.readwhere.com from India and other countries.
There were many suggestions from the readers. One of our readers mentioned that the full moon day (Purnima) plays a vital role in Buddhism. Right from the Birth, Enlightenment, First Preaching of Dhamma to Nirvana, all events in the life of Lord Buddha happened to be on a Full Moon Day (i.e. Purnima). Therefore, he suggested that Buddhist Voice should be released on every full moon day. Accepting this valuable suggestion, we have henceforth decided to release Buddhist Voice on every full moon day. The full moon day, occurring on 22nd July, 2013, is called as Guru Purnima. On this Full Moon day, Lord Buddha gave his first preaching to his five ascetic friends at Sarnath after two months from the day of Enlightenment.
The month that passed by was a disheartening month for the Buddhist across the globe. First, the Time Magazine came out with an issue with front page showing a monk’s photo with the title as “The Face of Buddhist Terror”. The cover story “How Militant Monks are Fueling Anti Muslim Violence in Asia” by Hanna Beech does not really cover the whole issue in detail and he does not attempt to find out the roots of the cause of attack on a particular section of society in his article. Terrorism in any form is bad. This kind of an act cannot be a religious act. The Buddhist in Myanmar are addressing their own issues in a violent way and such action cannot be justified in any manner. However, it is wrong on the part of Time magazine to blame the Buddhist Monks from entire Asia to be involved in violence. We condemn and register our protest against the Time magazine for calling Buddhist monks from entire Asia as Militants.
The second incident was a terror strike on Mahabodhi Temple at Bodh Gaya at early hours on 7th July 2013. The explosions, the first of its type to target the town and the temple, a UNESCO heritage site, took place between 5:30 and 5:58 am. The explosives were set off by timers. In all, 13 bombs were planted at various locations, of which 10 exploded. The temple was clearly not sufficiently protected, to the extent that the perpetrators went undetected even while they placed an explosive device at considerable height on an 80-foot Buddha statue. Five people, including two monks, were injured by the blasts. Three other devices were defused by bomb disposal squads at various locations in Gaya. The temple itself and the holy Bodhi Tree (where Lord Buddha is believed to have attained enlightenment) were undamaged. However Archaeological Survey of India has confirmed damage to various new structures of the temple complex. It was the most painful day for the Buddhist across the world. We are sure that the investigating agencies will come out with a detailed report and eventually will catch the culprits in due course of time. We condemn the attack on the Mahabodhi Temple. This is not the first time that a Buddhist Religious site has been attacked. In 2001, destruction of the two giant Buddhas in Bamiyan is the biggest assault against the historical and cultural heritage of Afghanistan in recent time. Various Buddhist heritage sites in India are always under threat and being attacked in one form or other by a section of society who do not like Buddhism or hate Buddhist people. In case of terror attack on Mahabodhi Temple at Bodh Gaya, few questions come to our mind which remain un-answered so far and may remain un-answered in future too. One of the prime questions is:
“Why the Bomb explosions took place early in the morning when there is not much crowd?”
It is normally observed that the terror attacks are aimed at having maximum destruction and loss of life. In case of Bodh Gaya attack, there was no loss of life and no major destruction of property. Although we are relieved, it is surprising. The culprit also ensured that there will not be any damage to the main temple. It is evident that the culprit wanted to spread terror but did not want to damage anybody or the temple. Why? If this is the case, then the question remains, “Who was behind the attack?” Was there any internal political influence of Bihar or was national political influence involved? We have to wait for the outcome of findings by National Investigation Agency to know the truth or partial truth. Sooner or later, we need to join all dots to complete the actual picture.
Wish you a very happy Full Moon Day and Guru Purnima!