By Shyamal Sinha
Tripiṭaka, also referred to as Tipiṭaka, is the traditional term for the Buddhist scriptures.in three parts or baskets of teachings: (1) the basket of expected discipline from monks (Vinaya Piṭaka), (2) basket of discourse (Sūtra Piṭaka, Nikayas), and (3) basket of special doctrine (Abhidharma Piṭaka).
The 13th International Tipitaka Chanting Ceremony was held underneath the most sacred Bodhi tree in Bodh Gaya, India, from 3–12 December. This year, the ceremony was led by the Thai sangha in collaboration with the international Mahasangha. Theravada monks from 11 countries and devotees from nearly 15 countries chanted sections of the Khuddaka Nikaya, a division of the Sutta Pitaka of the Pali Canon, a Theravada scripture. The ceremony was sponsored by the Light of Buddhadharma Foundation International (LBDFI) and organized by the International Tipitaka Chanting Council (ITCC).
The ITCC also organized the first Mahayana chanting ceremony in Rajgir,The city of Rajgir (ancient Rājagṛha; Pali: Rājagaha was the first capital of the kingdom of Magadha.
which began on 14 December and will continue until 17 December. Monks, nuns, and devotees from China, India, Japan, Korea, Nepal, and Vietnam are participating in the ceremony.
“In bringing the international sanghas of monks and lay followers together in this way, the foundation has been supporting the Buddhist culture of India, and is demonstrating the vitality and relevance of this ancient religion in the modern world,” LBDFI executive director Wangmo Dixey commented. (International Tipitaka Chanting Council)
“We feel very inspired by the growing interest in the role of India as the homeland of the teachings of the Buddha, and the positive economic, social, and political consequences that will follow a full-scale revival of Buddhism in the land of its origin. Buddhism is the third-largest world religion, and a unifying force in Southeast Asia and the Far East. To see the great country of India playing a role in its development will be a great benefit, both for the region and the entire world.” (International Tipitaka Chanting Council)
The opening ceremony began with a colorful procession of pilgrims in traditional dress from the Kalachakra grounds, after which participants began chanting the Tipitaka under the Bodhi tree. Bangladeshi participant, Venerable Rupananda Bhikkhu, said when approached by Buddhistdoor Global, “I am very happy to be part of this event. I have been participating as a chanter for the last few years. For me, the event is special because I get an opportunity to meet monks and devotes from all around the world. I believe that all who have come here to attend are feeling very joyous as well.”
The ITCC was inaugurated in 2006 on the occasion of the 2,550th Buddha Jyanti at Bodh Gaya. With the sponsorship of LBDFI, the International Tipitaka Chanting Ceremony is organized in December each year, underneath the Bodi Tree at Mahabodhi Mahavihara Temple. Sequential sections from the Pali Canon are chanted on each occasion, so that eventually the entire canon will have been recited under the tree, where the historical Buddha, Shakyamuni, attained enlightenment.
On the last day of the ceremony, coordinators of the ITCC organized a 13-kilometer walk from Jethian Valley to Javika Mango Grove. The path is believed to be one of the main routes taken by the Buddha while traveling on foot to various parts of India. Thousands of monks and devotees from across the globe took part in the walk.
LBDFI director Wangmo noted that the organizers intend to expand the chanting ceremony to other sites in India such as Sarnath, New Delhi, Sankasya, Kushinagar, Sravasti, Vaishali, and Rajgir. He expressed hope that the ceremonies and Dharma talks held during the event would inspire others to come forward and strengthen the Buddhadharma in India and overseas.