Inaugurating the 2558th Lord Buddha Birth Anniversary and the Lumbini Day event

Lumbini, May 14: Prime Minister Sushil Koirala on Wednesday said the message and philosophy propounded by Lord Buddha guided Nepal towards the path of peace, stability and non-violence.

Inaugurating the 2558th Lord Buddha Birth Anniversary and the Lumbini Day-2071 event here in Lumbini, Prime Minister Koirala claimed that his government was committed to establish peace, stability and democracy and to take Nepal on the path of development and prosperity.

There is an urgent need to follow Lord Buddha's peace message to achieve truth and freedom, which can help Nepal enjoy prosperity and development, said PM as the chief guest of the event.

As Nepal is enjoying total peace at present, it would not tolerate any form of conflict from any side, he warned.

Referring his meeting with the heads of state of South Asia and South East Asia during BIMSTEC Summit in Myanmar, the Prime Minister said Lumbini must be developed to attract millions of Budhhism followers of South and South East Asia. He said the assistance from the BIMSTEC and other nations in developing Lumbini would flow if peace, stability and development in the nation were guaranteed.

He said that the government would leave no stone unturned for the development of Lumbini. "We will provide all supports to complete the remaining projects of Lumbini Master Plan," he claimed and informed that the government was actively involved in setting up air and land connectivity with SAARC nations in an attempt to popularize Lumbini and bring more visitors here," he said. On the occasion, the PM thanked Lumbini Development Trust (LDT) for all exemplary works for the development of Lumbini and Buddhist followers of the world and urged all concerned that they should spread the message of Lord Buddha to every nook and cranny of the nation and the world.

At the programme, the Prime Minister presented various awards and honours to different persons working for the development of Lumbini as well as the longest serving and best employees of LDT.

Minister for Tourism, Culture and Civil Aviation Bhim Acharya, who is also the chairman of LDT, said that Buddha had taken some unusual paths to convince his followers and the people about the importance of peace.

Minister Acharya elaborated the importance of Lumbini as a sacred place that could provide all humanity a hope for peace, stability and prosperity.

He said the government was committed to provide all its support to develop Lumbini into a world famous religious site.

Chief Secretary Lilamani Poudel said that the Buddhism Philosophy had influenced a large number of people of the world and was the only philosophy in the world that remained popular for about 2600 years.

It is indeed a matter of pride and prestige for the Nepali to have Lumbini, the birthplace of Lord Buddha in Nepal, the chief secretary said. "The recent excavations in Lumbini and Tilaurakot have proved the ancient Shakya Dynasty flourished in Nepal 3000 years ago," he claimed.

If the Lumbini can be developed fully, it could be a great gift of Nepal to the peace loving people of the world, he added.

"Though it took 35 years to complete around 80 per cent projects of Lumbini Master Plan, the remaining 20 per cent works should be completed laying important emphasis."

As Lumbini is not only a holy place but also a world heritage site, LDT must be effortful to develop Lumbini taking into consideration its religious, archaeological and cultural importance. The haphazard construction in and around Lumbini should be controlled because Lumbini is being developed as the peace city. The pilgrims visiting the site should have good facilities while LDT must take initiation to regularize worships at holy shrine, he said.

Chinese Ambassador to Nepal, Wu Chuntai said Lumbini and the philosophy of Lord Buddha provided a link for between the Nepalese and Chinese people. The teaching of Buddha has shaped the lifestyles of the many Chinese and inspired them for peace, equality and prosperity.

"We want support Nepal to achieve peace stability and development," Ambassador Wu said and added the construction of the Chinese temple in Lumbini was instrumental in attracting around 40,000 Chinese every year to Lumbini.

Chinese Deputy Culture Minister, South Korean Ambassador to Nepal, Chinese Religious monk Master Yi Shun, several Buddhist monks of
national and foreign monasteries,Lumbini Goodwill Ambassadors Noboru Kasai and Bikram Pandey, special government officials attended the inaugural programme.

Former LDT Chairman and Minister for Tourism, Culture and Civil Aviation Deep Kumar Upadhyay said that Lumbini had proved a diamond mine for the Nepalese and it should be left like iron mine. "Lumbini should be developed into a major relgious site of the Buddhists as Mecca is for the Muslims."

He urged LDT and the government to help complete the new project of building International Peace City as envisaged by Korean professor Mr. Kwak. He said that development of Lumbini would be helpful in providing opportunities for locals to make living.

LDT vice chairperson Acharya Karma Shyangbo Sherpa informed that remaining works of the master plan would complete within 5 to 7 years. About 80 percent works under Lumbini Master Plan have been concluded and the tasks of building 16-kilometer long surrounding walls, different important buildings and sacred zone have been completed.

On a different note, Sherpa said that the world was in a need of peace and Lumbini should supply the peace "doses" to the world.

Today, the International Buddhist Society put on exhibition the relics of Buddha at Maya Devi Temple. The relics were brought here from Sri Lanka.

A group of cyclists led by famous cyclist Puskar Shah organised a four day Tour de Lumbini: Peddle for Peace. The team arrived today in Lumbini and received special honour from the Prime Minister.

Meanwhile, various cultural programmes were held at the function. Before the special fun ction, a religious rally comprising Buddhist
followers, schoolchildren, LDT officials and locals was held from famous Mayadevi Temple. The Buddhist monks and participants chanted
different slogans highlighting the message of Lord Buddha.