Bhutan monks delegation on Ladakh visit to offer prayers in monasteries.

Ladakh, India, October 19: A delegation of senior monks from the Central Monastic Body of Bhutan arrived in Ladakh to visit Leh Palace and several monasteries including Thiksey, Hemis and Stagna, said a press statement from the International Buddhist Confederation (IBC) on Thursday.

The delegation led by the Tshogi Lopen Sangay Khandu arrived in Delhi on October 16 for a six-day visit and then reached Ladakh.

According to the press statement, during their stay, they will also interact with the Ladakh Gompa Association and Ladakh Buddhist Association and will also meet Chief Executive Councillor (CEC) Ladakh Autonomous Hill Development Council.

Bhutan and India share a deep spiritual connection. Communities in Ladakh and Bhutan are united by common ideologies, beliefs and socio-cultural traditions characteristic of the practices enshrined in the Drukpa Kagyu sect of Buddhism.

On the visit, the Chief Monk of Royal Bhutan Temple, Central Monastic Body (CMB) of Bhutan, Ven. Khenpo Ugen Namgyal said, “The Bhutan delegation of the Monarch body came to Ladakh under the coordination of the Indian Embassy and IBC of Delhi. This is our first visit. Today we went to Jokhang Monastery, tomorrow we will visit other holy places in Ladakh.”

He added, “I think India and Bhutan already have a very good diplomatic relationship, but not only that …people do people relationship and there’s a culture and spiritual values. Buddhism all over the world, came from India to other parts of the world. Bhutan is the only Buddhist country in the world.”

The IBC press release said that the special bond between India and Bhutan is nurtured by spiritual exchanges and friendly relations. Monasteries in Ladakh are revered in Bhutan as seats of spiritual learning, and vice-versa. These historical bonds have been fortified and reinforced despite distances.

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This high-level visit by senior CMB delegates will provide fresh impetus to traditional linkages, strengthen age-old connections, explore new avenues of friendship and expand historical ties, the release said.

Stagna Rimpoche, receiving his teachings in Bhutan, exemplifies Ladakh’s umbilical connection with the region, much as the concurrent visit bears testimony to the depth and continuity of this historical bond, nurtured by endeavours of Buddhist institutions in both places. The exchange of Buddhist masters from both sides, who can come and impart teachings in respective Buddhist institutions, will help further deepen our spiritual and religious connection, it said.

The International Buddhist Confederation (IBC) is celebrating International ‘Abhidhamma Divas’ on the auspicious occasion of ‘Sharada Purnima’, the full moon day, on October 28. This day commemorates the descent of Lord Buddha from the celestial realm of the thirty-three divine beings (Tavatimsa-devaloka) to ‘Sankassiya’, known today as Sankisa Basantapur in the Farrukhabad district of Uttar Pradesh, India.

The IBC press statement said the significance of this location is underscored by the presence of the Asokan Elephant Pillar, an enduring marker of this historic event. According to Buddhist texts, after imparting the teachings of Abhidhamma to the Devas with his mother as a witness, Lord Buddha descended to this sacred place.

This year’s celebration is made even more special by two additional significant events: the Centenary year of Vipassana Acharya Dr Satya Narayan Goenka and the International Conference on “The Tenets of the Buddha Dhamma and Global Well-Being: Nature, Significance, and Applicability,” taking place from October 28th to 30th.

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Distinguished guests, including former President Ram Nath Kovind, Most Ven Senior Professor Kotapitiye Rahula Anunayaka Thera, General Secretary and Anunayaka (Deputy Prelate) Supreme Sangha Council of the Kotte Chapter Sri Kanka will be Special Guest, and Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister and Chancellor of the Gutam Buddha University Yogi Adityanath, are expected to grace this occasion with their presence. Additionally, Ambassadors and High Commissioners from more than 10 countries will be attending the event, according to the IBC press release.

The International Abhidhamma Divas and the accompanying conference are anticipated to draw around 500 delegates, including renowned academicians from countries such as the USA, UK, Russia, Sri Lanka, Vietnam, Cambodia, Thailand, Myanmar, Laos, Nepal, Bhutan, Korea, Japan, Taiwan, and Mongolia. These distinguished scholars will be presenting insightful papers on various aspects of Buddhist philosophy and its relevance to global well-being, the release said.

The IBC invites everyone to join in this celebration of wisdom and spirituality, fostering understanding and harmony among diverse cultures and nations, it said.

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