Solidarity with Buddhists over Mahabodhi temple blasts

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The World Council of Churches (WCC) general secretary, Rev. Dr Olav Fykse Tveit, has expressed “heartfelt sorrow and solidarity” with the Buddhist community over the recent bomb blasts at the Mahabodhi temple complex in Bodh Gaya, in the north Indian state of Bihar.


A UNESCO World Heritage site and a holy place of pilgrimage for Buddhists, the Mahabodhi Temple was rocked by a series of explosions on Sunday, 7 July. While two people were injured according to media reports, the interior of the temple avoided major damages.


The temple holds a special significance for Buddhists, as Gautama Buddha is said to have attained enlightenment at this place under the Bodhi tree (tree of awakening).


“What has been subjected to attack is not only an important religious site but also the moral fabric of respect for difference and diversity, which encourages and ensures the equality of people of all faiths,” said Tveit.


While he expressed relief that the interiors of the Mahabodhi temple and the Bodhi tree were not damaged, Tveit acknowledged targeting a religious shrine as being “hugely detrimental to peaceful relations between religious communities”.


Addressing the wider Buddhist community, Tviet added: “We wish and hope that this incident, despite its traumatic and tragic dimensions, may be transformed into an opportunity to offer the world a glimpse of the best of your morality and spirituality.”


Source: oikoumene.org (Jul 16, 2013)