Friday, January 8, 2010

The Telegraph - Bond, even before Buddhism

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    • Bodh Gaya
    • Foreign devotees listen to a lecture by the Dalai Lama in Bodh Gaya on Thursday
    • According to legend, one of their ancestors, Sujata, broke Siddharth Gautama’s 12-year penance by offering kheer, a preparation made of milk and rice.

      The government has named Bakaraul “Sujata Nagar”, but to the 3,300-odd villagers it’s still Bakaraul.

      Like they worship bhagwan Buddha, they have also been praying to “Goddess” Sujata, and for a long, long time. Names, whether it’s Bakaraul or Sujata Nagar, don’t really matter.

    • “We revere him (the Dalai Lama). But we worship the Buddha in the way our sanatan dharma asks us to. We don’t feel like taking lessons from the Dalai Lama for worshipping the Buddha,” said Triveni Mahto, 75.

      “We are Hindus who believe in sanatan dharma. And the Buddha is the ninth incarnation of Vishnu. We worship him,” added Jagat Kishore Prasad, 65, pointing a finger in the direction of a Vishnu temple 8km from the village.

      But young couples go to the Mahabodhi temple for his blessings.

    • It explains why the women of Bakaraul offer flowers and vermilion in the stupa where their “Sujata Ma” is believed to have lived.

      This faith that goes beyond religions has also made the villagers suspicious of the move to free the management of the Mahabodhi temple from Hindu control.

      Some Buddhist monks are on a hunger strike in their “battle for liberation” of the shrine but the local people find the move “politically motivated” and aimed at getting benefits minorities are entitled to. Even the Dalai Lama has not heeded the monks’ demand.

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