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Dhaka Tribune

Let Buddha Purnima foster peace across communities

Update : 29 Apr 2018, 03:21 AM

Today, the Buddhist community in Bangladesh celebrates Buddha Purnima -- the birthday of Gautam Siddhartha Buddha.

While Buddha Purnima is a sacred occasion for Buddhists, its lessons apply to all Bangladesh, and can help foster the sense of peace and inclusivity that we all aspire to.

The fact remains, despite some claims to the contrary, Bangladesh remains a secular country, which is called home by not only its majority of Muslims, but other communities -- from Buddhists to Christians, Santals to Hindus.

We are a truly diverse nation, and are proud of it.

But we cannot deny that in recent times, we have seen far too much communal hatred and division, something that should have no place in Bangladesh.

The appalling attacks on the Buddhist community in Ramu from a few years ago are still fresh in memory, and intolerant elements within the country continue to manufacture hatred against minority communists using false pretexts.

This is not who we are.

We are a country that embraces the freedom of worship -- a country where Buddha Purnima can be celebrated with as much fervour as any other religious festival.

Buddha Purnima is a day for prayer and meditation; it is a day for peace, tranquility, and a day for reflection on the life and teachings of Buddha, who left a life of princely luxury for an ascetic existence.

The ideals of Buddha can help us all move towards a society that shuns hatred and violence, and embrace peace, equality, and pluralism.

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