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Remarks for EAM at the Kushok Bakula Birth Centenary Celebrations

April 25, 2018

Distinguished guests,
Ladies & gentlemen,
Saim Beno!

I feel privileged and honoured to join you all in this event to celebrate the 100th birth anniversary of Late Venerable Kushok Bakula. The gathering here today is a testimony to the everlasting legacy of Venerable Kushok Bakula.

A distinguished Parliamentarian and Diplomat, venerable Kushok Bakula also served as a Minister in the government of Jammu & Kashmir state in India, and headed the National Commission for the Welfare of Religious Minorities in India.

All those, who worked with him when he was India's Ambassador to Mongolia, remember him as a visionary and statesman. He had a disarming and calming persona, with humility and compassion that helped him to establish instant connect with people across all sections of the Mongolian society.

Many of them recall the gathering of devotees and disciples who would brave the cold and windy weather just to have one glimpse of Venerable Kushok Bakula. Many of them believed that he had a healing touch. His serene personality, humility and teachings would attract the Mongolian people, as much as his knowledge and wisdom when dealing with diplomatic issues.

Venerable Kushok Bakula had dedicated his life to the service of people. Throughout his life he worked tirelessly for the welfare of people. In his native Ladakh in North India, he is remembered for his work for the upliftment of people and especially the youth. He always emphasized the importance of education and employment generation.

As a monk, he lived an austere life, free from all material desires. But he enriched one and all through his thoughts and teachings. The candle that he lighted continues to enlighten all those who study at the institutions like Pethub Monastry at his native place in India and also here in Ulaanbaatar that became his adopted home.

India recognized Venerable Kushok Bakula's great contribution towards the promotion of peace and welfare of common people by conferring on him, in 1988, the prestigious Padma Bhushan, the third highest civilian award in India.

Ladies & gentlemen,

Venerable Bakula Rimpoche was a proud embodiment of India’s age-old Buddhist traditions and our message to the world of peace, amity and humanism. As an Indian I feel proud to represent a land where Buddhism originated many centuries back.

Buddhism has been a great connector of civilizations since millennia. Even though Buddhism originated in India, it spread across the mighty Himalayas to East Asia and across the seas in South East Asia. Eventually, it also made its way to the vast steppes of Mongolia where it has found a permanent abode for over two millennia. Buddhism in its different forms and sects is today one of the major religions in the world. Many of the countries in the world share the common Buddhist heritage and share the precious thoughts and teaching of Lord Buddha.

Like in ancient times, we are once again reviving the Buddhist connections to bring together all those who have adopted faith in Buddha’s philosophy and teachings. One of our efforts in this direction has been to link the Buddhist pilgrimage sites in India for fellow pilgrims from our neighbourhood and beyond, including from Mongolia. Government of India has created special facilities for tourists visiting these places. We have launched a special train to cover important Buddhist pilgrimage sites under the Buddhist Circuit.

To revitalize our intellectual connection underpinned by our shared Buddhist traditions, we have revived the aged-old Nalanda University – the fountain of knowledge and wisdom in ancient India, revered for its academic and philosophical excellence. Ancient records suggest that students and Buddhist scholars from Mongolia also visited Nalanda. Today, Nalanda University is a vibrant educational institute again, as Government of India has revived this ancient place of learning into a modern university for education and research in Buddhism.

Even in modern times, our national symbols like the Chakra (wheel) on our National Flag and our national insignia the Lion Capital of Ashoka at Sarnath are inspired from Buddhism. Many of the basic tenets of Buddhism are deeply ingrained in our national ethos. Peace, non-violence, tolerance and non-interference are some of the qualities that find roots in the Buddhist philosophy. They form the foundation of our foreign policy.

In our engagement with Mongolia, we are also revitalizing Buddhism as a strong symbol of our civilisational connection transcending into modern times. In our own small way, we are trying to work with our Mongolian friends to protect and preserve our Buddhist heritage.

We are working with the famous Gandan Monastery and other Buddhist institutions in Mongolia for the preservation of ancient Buddhist manuscripts through digitization. We consider these Buddhist manuscripts and religious texts as a heritage preserved by Mongolia for the entire humanity. We must do all that we can to preserve these precious treasures of Buddhist philosophy for our future generations.

India has also offered to provide a statue of Lord Buddha to the Gandan Monastery. It is a token of our deep friendship with our Mongolian friends and a symbol of our common Buddhist heritage. We are also keen to invite Buddhist scholars and students to visit India to discover our precious heritage. They can not only visit the Buddhist pilgrimage sites but also undertake higher studies in some of the prominent institutions engaged in study of Buddhist philosophy. It will also help in forging strong people to people contacts and allow better understanding about each other’s country, culture and customs.

It is in the context of this rich cultural and religious exchange between our countries that we should endeavour to carry forward the legacy of Bakula Rinpoche.


India & Mongolia share a unique partnership. We are strategic partners, but more than that we are spiritual partners. This spiritual connection through Buddhism provides strength to our relationship. It is not a partnership of convenience but a relationship of trust and spiritual strength. Such partnerships, built on the strong foundation of friendship and mutual trust, are everlasting.

In today's times, when there is rising violence and extremism spread in the name of faith, there is increasing need to follow the Buddhist path of peace and tolerance.

Many regions of the world today, including our own region, is witnessing a trend of radicalism. Such radicalism provides a fertile ground for terrorism to flourish. It then spreads to the neighbouring areas and engulfs the entire region. In such difficult times, there is a need for a philosophy that teaches peace and tolerance. Countries like India and Mongolia with our strong Buddhist traditions have a crucial role to counter this trend of radicalism.

Ladies and gentlemen,

Globalization is integrating the world as never before, but it is also posing new challenges. Our partnership is a beacon of hope and peace in this tumultuous time. When the world is going through a period of momentous transition, the life and teachings of Kushok Bakula Rimpoche provide answers to many of those spiritual questions that confront us in the modern world. That is clearly of great relevance in today's world to overcome the hatred and animosity.

It is also a time of great uncertainty, where people are seeking material prosperity, but are also increasingly in search for spiritual contentment. The heritage of Buddhist thought and philosophy will continue to guide us to tide over these uncertain times and also on our journey towards spiritual enlightenment.

India and Mongolia can together convey this common message of friendship and peace to the world. This is also the enduring legacy of Venerable Kushok Bakula.

In the Buddhist philosophy, great emphasis is placed on inner peace and purity of soul. Lord Buddha had said:"We are shaped by our thoughts; we become what we think. When the mind is pure, joy follows like a shadow that never leaves." Venerable Kushok Bakula has left his earthly abode, but he lives in our memories and our thoughts. His teachings will continue to guide us and will continue to guide the generations of Indians and Mongolians to come. He has a left an indelible bond of friendship between our two countries. While celebrating his birth centenary, let us rededicate ourselves to the enlightened teachings of Venerable Kushok Bakula and imbibe his philosophy for the betterment of the world and the welfare of humanity. I wish the celebration all success and I am sure that it would further strengthen bonds of friendship and trust between our two countries.

Thank you !
Bayar La !


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