Asthi Dhatu (sacred relics) of Lord Buddha being displayed at Bauddhanath Stupa on the occasion of Buddha Jayanti on Wednesday.
Wishing to see Lord Gautama Buddha´s auspicious Asthi Dhatu (sacred relics), Rajeev Tamang came from Koteshwore to Baudha Stupa, where the auspicious relics were on exhibit on the occasion of the 2558th Buddha Jayanti, or birth anniversary of the Buddha, Wednesday.
“I learnt about the exhibit from a newspaper,” says Rajeev. “So, I came along with my friends to see the asthi dhatu and offer my prayers.”
Rajeev, a student, stood in a long queue with friends for a glimpse of the auspicious body relics, which were gifted to Nepal by Sri Lanka a year ago. After much standing in line, Rajeev got a chance to have a glimpse and offer his prayers.
“I cannot define what I am feeling right now. I regularly visit the stupas and offer prayers but today I felt like I was so close to Lord Buddha himself,” says Rajeev.
“Thanks to the officials who made this possible,” adds Rajeev. “This Buddha Jayanti is special for me as I have gotten an opportunity to see the asthi dhatu.”
Like Rajeev, Madan Thing Tamang also visited Baudha on Wednesday. Coming to know about the asthi dhatu, he visited the sacred exhibit before offering prayers in front of the idols of Lord Buddha.
Madan, 32, came from Sankhu with his wife, and seemed excited after seeing the lord´s body relics.
“I felt something new, fresh and positive inside. This year, I am celebrating Buddha Jayanti in a completely new way as I am able to offer my prayers in front of the asthi dhatu,” says he.
Like Rajeev and Madan, Lila Gurung, 45, was visiting the Baudha Stupa with her daughter Melita,Wednesday.
They came from the Ring Road just for a glimpse of Lord Buddha´s sacred relics on exhibit.
“I felt like I met the Lord Buddha himself,” says Lila. “It helps to develop positively. It encourages us to do the right things in life.”
Like Rajeev, Madan and Lila, thousands thronged Baudha Stupa for a glimpse of the asthi dhatu. The sacred items were gifted to Baudhanath Area Development Committee in July 2013 by the Temple of the Tooth in Sri Lanka.
This is the first time that the committee has put the auspicious items on public display for devotees.
According to chairperson of the committee, Sampurna Kumar Lama, they were waiting for the occasion of the 2558th Buddha Jyanti to make the relics public. They do not allow anyone to see the asthi dhatu on any other day.
“The auspicious asthi dhatu were brought to our country through the initiative of the ambassador of Sri Lanka to Nepal. Thanks be to him,” says Lama.
From early morning, the sacred relics were on display at a monastery located in the premises of Baudha Stupa.
Lord Buddha´s asthi dhatu were also on public display at Aananda Kuti Vihar, Swayambhu to mark Buddha Jayanti. These were also gifted by Sri Lanka, back in 1946, to Swayambhu Development Committee. Since then, the committee has always displayed the auspicious items on Buddha Jayanti.
Thousands visited the place to celebrate the occasion and see the auspicious items.
“First, Sri Lankan priests came to Nepal and organized several pujas and then only were the committee officials allowed to touch the asthi dhatu,” said Sangha Ratna Shakya, an official at the committee, recounting the advent of the asthi dhatu in Nepal.
There are now two Asti Dhatu of Lord Buddha in Nepal and both were gifted by Sri Lanka.