Patna, December 31 – Hundreds of Buddhist monks from across the world have gathered at their religion’s birthplace in eastern India for weeklong prayers for world peace that began Tuesday.
About 7,000 Buddhist monks, including 17 incarnate lamas, have congregated in Bihar’s Bodh Gaya town for the Kagyu Monlam Chenmo prayer that the 17th Karmapa, Ugyen Trinley Dorji, was scheduled to lead.
The Karmapa, who heads the Kagyu sect and lives in the Himalayan town of Dharamsala where the Tibetan government-in-exile is based, was scheduled to arrive here Sunday and inaugurate the prayer Tuesday. But organisers said he would now be unable to join the worshippers before January 5.
Bodh Gaya, where the Buddha attained enlightenment two and a half centuries ago, is located about 110 km from this Bihar capital. The town houses the Mahabodhi temple that Unesco declared a world heritage site in June.
Buddhists from Nepal, Bhutan, European countries, Latin American nations and from across India are taking part in the Kagyu Monlam Chenmo prayer.
The Karmapa and the Dalai Lama, the spiritual and political head of the Tibetans, are scheduled to lead the Kalchakra festival in Bodh Gaya later in January. The Dalai Lama will reach the town on January 7.