By Shyamal Sinha,Bodh Gaya
From 11–13 November at Bodh Gaya, in true Indian style and spirit, Indian Buddhist practitioners and students will gather from various traditions to pay homage to the Buddha. They will be joined by hundreds of other Buddhists from across the globe to take part in this festival of music, culture, Dharma, and arts. The festival is being organized by an array of diverse sanghas, voluntary organizations, and corporate entities.
“This is perhaps the first time in the history of the sub-continent that such a coming together will happen,” said Dzongsar Jamyang Khyentse Rinpoche, the world-renowned Buddhist teacher, filmmaker, and author who encouraged the organizers to establish the festival. “This celebration draws from Indian wisdom and culture in a truly creative way, quite distinct from any religious gathering we have seen in the past.”
“With Indian dance, music, arts, discussions, Dharma discourses, community lunches, qawwaliperformances, we want to create recognition of the tremendous spiritual, cultural, and socio-economic potential of the Nalanda tradition,” said Prashant Varma of the Himachal Pradesh-based Deer Park Institute.
One of the highlights of the festival will be the first free public screening of Hema Hema: Sing Me a Song While I Wait, Dzongsar Jamyang Khyentse Rinpoche’s most recent feature film, which recently premiered at the Locarno International Film Festival and received high praise at the Toronto International Film Festival. It is also scheduled for the Mumbai Academy of Moving Image (MAMI), Film Festival, among others.
The Siddhartha Festival will feature memorable live performances, including shadow puppetry by Vikramjit Sinha, Kathak performance by Maneesha Abhay, and vocal music by Vidya Rao, among others. There will also be engaging lectures on Dharma topics by Dzongsar Jamyang Khyentse Rinpoche and Venerable Sumati.
The Siddhartha Festival is open to the public and free for everyone who wishes to join. The collaborative organizing team includes representatives from Siddhartha’s Intent, the Deer Park Institute, the World Centre for Creative Learning Foundation, the Vana Foundation, Antara Senior Living, and the Khyentse Foundation.Dzongsar Jamyang Khyentse Rinpoche’s expained-
Two millennia later, the Buddha’s wisdom and teachings have spread all over the world and have been integrated into various cultures. His knowledge, informed by the wisdom and cultural traditions of the land around him has become an invaluable gift to the world. The extraordinary path the Buddha chose to walk, now lights the way for those who followed.”