Lotus Sutra Exhibition Shows in New Delhi, India
From April 16-23, 2008, "Lotus Sutra, A Message of Peace and Harmonious Coexistence," an exhibition featuring facsimile versions of rare Buddhist birch bark scrolls and photo panels of wall paintings and murals discovered from towns on the Silk Road, was on display at the Indira Gandhi National Centre for the Arts (IGNCA) in New Delhi. Officially opening the exhibition were Delhi's Social Welfare and Health Minister Dr. Yoganand Shastri, eminent Lotus Sutra scholar and Director of the International Academy of Indian Culture Dr. Lokesh Chandra, IGNCA Member Secretary Dr. K.K. Chakravarty and Bharat Soka Gakkai Director General Ms. Naveena Reddi.
Introducing the Lotus Sutra, which seeks to provide answers to the fundamental sufferings of illness, aging, death and human existence, Dr. Lokesh Chandra said, "The sutra has played a central role in India's freedom movement." He went on to share an anecdote of when his father and Sanskrit scholar Professor Raghu Vira presented a book on the Lotus Sutra to Mahatma Gandhi. After reading the book, Gandhi lamented that humanity had lost track of a sutra of monumental importance. The message of the Lotus Sutra is one of individual empowerment, mutual coexistence and the need to respect the sanctity of all life, and reveals how an individual can transform the environment through inner resolve and positive action.
Many visitors were struck by the beauty of the 12 rare manuscripts, 63 photographic panels of the relics, documents, parables, manuscripts and different editions of the Lotus Sutra, some in ancient languages that have disappeared from usage.
Ravni Thakur, a professor at Delhi University, remarked, "The Lotus Sutra has a huge reputation in East Asia. It reveals the message of peace and happiness, which is most relevant in today's context."
In a message for the opening, SGI President Daisaku Ikeda said, "Your country is the birthplace of Buddhist philosophy, and hence a source of great spiritual significance. It is in fact the spiritual homeland for people like myself, a land to which we are deeply indebted, the land of our teachers."
The exhibition is being sponsored by the Institute of Oriental Philosophy, Indira Gandhi National Centre for Arts and Bharat Soka Gakkai, and supported by the St. Petersburg Branch of The Institute of Oriental Studies of the Russian Academy of Sciences and the International Academy of Indian Culture.
[Adapted from a Bharat Soka Gakkai press release; photos courtesy of Bharat Soka Gakkai]