New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday stressed the need to connect all the Buddhist sites in the country to boost tourism/
His remarks came on the Dharma Chakra Day (also known as Guru Poornima and Ashadhi Poornima), at a time when the country is trying to recover from a battered economy and needs improvement in all sectors, including tourism, to attract revenue.
“We want to focus on connectivity to the Buddhist sites. Only recently, our government announced to upgrade the Kushinagar Airport as an international one. This will bring people, pilgrims and tourists,” he said addressing a meeting through video conferencing.
He lauded the efforts of youths in start-up sectors saying, “If you want to see a great example of how hope, innovation and compassion can remove suffering, it is our start-up sector led by the youths.”
Bright young minds are finding solutions to global problems. “India has one of the largest start-up ecosystems and I would urge my young friends to also stay connected with the thoughts of Lord Buddha so that they could be motivated and find their way ahead.”
Recalling the day as Guru Purnima, Modi said “This is a day to remember our Gurus who gave us knowledge. In that spirit, we pay homage to Lord Buddha.”
“The Eight-Fold path of Lord Buddha shows the way towards the well-being of the societies and nations. It highlights the importance of compassion and kindness. The teachings of Lord Buddha celebrate simplicity, both in thought and action,” he added.
Buddhism teaches us respect for the people, the poor and women, for peace and non-violence. “Therefore, the teachings of Buddhism are the means to a sustainable planet.”
“In his very first sermon in Sarnath, and his teachings after that, Lord Buddha spoke on two things, hope and purpose. He saw a strong link between them. From hope comes a spirit of purpose,” the Prime Minister said.
Talking about the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic, the PM said, the world is facing this virus with extraordinary challenges. In such a fight, he said, lasting solutions can come from the ideals of Lord Buddha.
“They were relevant in the past. They are relevant in the present. And, they will continue to remain relevant in the future.”
“May the thoughts of Lord Buddha further brighten togetherness and brotherhood. May his blessings inspire us to do good,” the PM added.
The day is celebrated as Dharma Chakra Day by the International Buddhist Confederation (IBC), under the Ministry of Culture. It commemorates The Buddha’s First Sermon to his first five disciples at the Deer Park in the present-day Sarnath, near Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh.