Buddhist sacred bone relics from Pakistan to arrive in Sri Lanka on Vesak festival

May 18, Colombo: In order to be part of the most important annual Vesak Buddhist Festival falling on 21st May 2016, the government of Pakistan is providing the most sacred bone relics of Lord Buddha to Sri Lanka for exposition throughout Sri Lanka, the High Commission of Pakistan said in a release today.

The exposition of bone relics is being organized on the request of the Sri Lankan government under the bilateral cooperation agreement in the field of Culture.

The relics will be arriving in Sri Lanka for an extended period on the Vesak Day on 21st May 2016 and will be exhibited until Full Moon Poson Poya Day in the following month.

The Sri Lankan Minister for Sustainable Development and Wildlife Gamini Jayawickrama Perera, Secretary Ministry of Buddha Sasana Wasantha Ekanayake, and Chief Incumbent of Nalandramaya, Nugegoda Venerable Thiniyawala Palitha Thero, along with other high level officials left for Pakistan today to bring the sacred relics.

The sacred relics will be handed over by the Pakistani authorities to the Sri Lankan side in a special ceremony to be held at Taxilla on 19th of May 2016.

The exhibition in Sri Lanka will be displaying the collection of the Taxila Museum of Pakistan and will comprise of four sacred artifacts/relics. These exhibits include two sacred bone relics of Lord Buddha, stone reliquary in stupa shape and a golden Casket.

The relics are invaluable part of the archeological heritage of Pakistan and depicts the rich Buddhist history of Pakistan. According to historians Pakistan is considered as the Mecca for Buddhist world.

The request for exposition of the relics was made by the leadership of Sri Lanka to the Prime Minister of Pakistan during the latter’s official visit to Sri Lanka in January 2016.

The request was reiterated during the visit of a 40 member high-powered delegation of senior most Sri Lankan Buddhist monks and eminent scholars headed by the Speaker of Sri Lankan Parliament, Karu Jayasuriya and Minister of Justice, Labor Relations and Buddha Sasana Dr. Wijayadasa Rajapakshe. The delegation visited Pakistan for a week in April 2016.

Buddhism left a monumental and rich legacy of art and architecture in Pakistan. Despite the vagaries of centuries, the Gandhara region preserved a lot of the heritage in craft and art. Much of this legacy is visible even today in Pakistan.

The exhibition will further strengthen the already existing deep rooted cultural relations between the two friendly nations, the High Commission said.

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