108 South Korean Buddhists praying for world peace in 1,167km, 43-day pilgrimage
The pilgrimage is seen as an opportunity to boost ties between India and South Korea
A group of 108 Buddhist pilgrims from South Korea are tracing the footsteps of Gautama Buddha through a 43-day pilgrimage in India and praying for world peace.
On Tuesday (21 February), they successfully entered Bihar and visited the Mahabodhi Temple in Bodh Gaya.
The 43-day pilgrimage, which started on 9 February, will conclude at the Jetavana Monastery in Shravasti on 20 March, after traversing 1,167 kilometres, and visiting Buddhist holy sites in Uttar Pradesh and Bihar, as well as Buddha’s birthplace at Lumbini in Nepal. Participants will also join in religious assemblies, practising walking meditation.
Experiencing Buddha's teachings first hand
With a slogan of “Oh, We! Oh, Love! Oh, Life!”, the pilgrims aim to energise South Korea’s Buddhist pilgrimage route to India, where the life and footsteps of the Buddha are preserved, said Apurva Chandra, India’s Secretary of the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting earlier this month.
“The circuit seeks to help tourists experience first-hand the teachings of lord Buddha and trace the footsteps of Buddha during his lifetime,” he added.
Chandra also said that this initiative is part of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s vision to cater India’s Buddhist culture and tourism to the world.
“We would like to welcome Korean pilgrims and we hope their objective of following the pilgrimage route and having a deeper understanding of Buddhist philosophy is fulfilled,” Chandra said.
South Korean Ambassador to India, Chang Jae-bok, said that the pilgrimage is a “befitting tribute” to the two countries’ shared Buddhist heritage, and would “go a long way in further deepening the people-to-people contact.”
The pilgrimage marks 50 years of diplomatic relations between India and South Korea, and is seen as an opportunity to deepen ties between the two countries.
Marvin Joseph Ang is a news and lifestyle writer who focuses on politics, the economy, and pop culture. Follow him on Twitter at @marvs30ang for latest news and updates.
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