Buddhists invite Musharraf for peace prayer
The Times of India News Service
GAYA: The Bodh Gaya-based International Buddhist Council, a representative body of more than two dozen foreign monasteries of the Buddha's land of enlightenment, has invited Pakistan President General Perwez Musharraf to visit Bodh Gaya during his three-day India tour and participate in a special prayer for global peace and harmony.
A three-page long invitation to the effect, signed by M Wimalsara Thero, the council general secretary and head of the Sri Lankan monastery in Bodh Gaya, has been sent through the Pakistan High Commission in New Delhi. Copies of the letter have also been sent to the President, the Prime Minister and the home minister of India.
Congratulating Musharraf on his assuming the presidentship of Pakistan, the invitation letter said that time has come for both India and Pakistan to resolve their differences and live in peaceful co-existence. The Buddhist council wants to organise "special peace prayer at the holy place" and as such requested Musharraf to participate in the peace prayer.
It was Buddha who preached universal brotherhood some 2,500 years ago, said the letter. Both India and Pakistan did have some common enemies like poverty and lack of properly developed education and health care systems and such issues too must figure in the discussion agenda.
Both Gaya was as sacred a place of pilgrimage for Buddhists as was Mecca for the Muslims, said the letter. "We pray to the Buddha for all round success of your visit to India, which will bear fruitful results for both the countries," the letter said. The council is headed by Marcel Bertels, a Dutch Buddhist missionary association with the Maitreya project in Bodh Gaya.