Ashadha Purnima 2023

Embassy of India Phnom

Penh Press Release

Embassy of India, Phnom Penh in collaborationwith International Buddhist Confederation (IBC) celebrated the ‘Ashadha Purnima’, Dhamma Chakra Pravattana Divas, the second most sacred day of observance for Buddhists worldwide on 3 July 2023. On this auspicious day Lord Buddha preached his First Turning of the Wheel of Dhamma. Lord Buddha gave this discourse to ‘pancavargiya’- the first five ascetic disciples- at the ‘Deer Park’, Rsipatana Mrigadaya at Sarnath in Varanasi, India. Gautam the Buddha laid the Foundation of Dhamma by teaching the Four Noble Truths, the Eight fold Paths or the Middle Path: avoiding the two extremes, i.e. life of extreme indulgence and the life of extreme penance.

2. The event commenced with Her Excellency Dr. Devyani Khobragade, Ambassador of India to Cambodia, inaugurated the event along side with CHOUN Savoeurn, Vice Reactor, Preah Sihanouk Raja Buddhist University and Dr. Venerable Dith Virak, Assistant Secretary of State and Dean, Preah Sihanouk Raja Buddhist University, Phnom Penh by lighting the lamp and paying floral obeisance to Lord Buddha. This followed chanting of Buddhist prayers by monks and recitation of ‘Mangalacharan’.

3. Speaking on the occasion, Ambassador of India Dr. Devyani Khobragade highlighted the significance of the ‘Asadha Purnima’ when Lord Buddha blessed the world with his first sermon after attaining Enlightenment to the first five ascetic disciples (pañcavargiya) on the full-moon day of Ashadha and set the wheel of Dharma in motion at Sarnath, in Varanasi, India. Ambassador noted the significance of celebrations of ‘Asadha Purnima’ also observed for paying gratitude to gurus and teachers. The speech followed showcasing of film on encompassing the ‘Buddha’s trail and path of compassion and the plan of creation of a future India International Centre for Buddhist Culture and Heritage (IICBCH) at Lumbini, Nepal as a symbol of India’s contribution to the place of birth of Siddhartha Gautama as well ‘10 years of IBC’ since its’ inception in 2012. The event also showcased photographs related to several Buddhist Sites at Sarnath.

4. The Guest of Honor Ven. CHOUN Savoeurn, Vice Reactor, Preah Sihanouk Raja Buddhist University in his speech added the importance of Dhammachakka Pavarttan and rainy session retreat. Noting traditional cultural and religious ties between Cambodia and India, Venerable attributed ‘Ashadha Purnima’ to be also a sacred day to celebrate the teacher- student relationship in pursuit of knowledge and spiritual growth.

5. The event concluded with vote of thanks, chanting of Buddhist hymns and offerings’ to Venerable monks and serving of tea/snacks for other participants.

6. Embassy of India, Phnom Penh is working closely with the concerned Ministries in Cambodia to promote Buddhist and cultural linkages between India and Cambodia. The recent successful conclusion of ‘Global Buddhist Summit’ in New Delhi organized by International Buddhist Confederation (IBC) on April 20 and 21, 2023 also witnessed the attendance of many Buddhist scholars and leaders from all over the world including many from Cambodia. This included Venerable Dr. Yon Seng Yeat, Acting Rector of Preah Sihanouk Raja Buddhist University, H.E. Sdechpheakdey Ngoun, Secretary of Secretary of Ministry of Cult and Religion as well as Vice Rector of Preah Sihamoni Raja Buddhist University, Venerable Dr. Kou Sopheap, Dean of Buddhist Sakyaputta International Institute along with many more dignitaries from Cambodian side.