The grand Dedication Ceremony of Bamboo Crafted Buddha Statue (Poi Lu Phra Long) cum Poi Potwa Panchong Festival at Golden Pagoda Monastery, Noy-Chenam (Tengapani), Chongkham in Arunachal Pradesh ended today on colourful note with Golden Pagoda Cultural Exchange Programme stealing the limelight on the two day festival. The two day religious celebration was also an auspicious occasion of Maha pavaranna ceremony, the procession carrying Holy relics of Buddha from Sri Lanka and the cultural presentation. The bamboo crafted Buddha statue was also later named as Phra Ingta-shaan.
The Maha Pavaranna is a solemn ceremony and is generally celebrated by the Theravada Buddhist to mark the end of three months rainy retreat (Varsha Vassa) where the junior bhikkhus confess to senior monks wherein even the lay devotees join the junior bhikkhus to seek forgiveness and pay obeisance. It was on this occasion, former Minister Chowna Mein and his family consecrated the 13 feet high figure made of bamboo. The unique Bamboo Buddha is the first of its kind installed in India which attracted a lot of people to the festival beside the Buddhist devotees. The statue was crafted by a Shan Monks from Myanmar in a short span of forty five days only. The material for the statue were brought from Myanmar, informed the legislator Chowna Mein.
Many devotees from various places of Namsai district offered tun-patesha (celestial trees) to the Bhikkhus Sangha on the occasion. A procession in premises of Golden Pagoda with Holy relics of the Buddha which was brought last year from Sri Lanka was also carried out with religious chanting and beating of drums with cymbals.
Earlier during the day on November 5, the occasion started with hoisting of Buddhist flag, offering of lunch to Bhikkhu Sangha, illumination of candles, releasing of wish balloon (Poi Poong Phai) besides enshrinement of relic to Phra Loung (Bamboo crafted Buddha).
Later in the evening, the cultural exchange programme of Thai Dance & Cultural Troupe from Srinakharinwirot University Thailand, Tai Ahom Cultural Group from Sivsagar Assam, Doi Patkai Cultural Group from Dibrugarh Assam and Tai Khampti Cultural Literary Society Chongkham mesmerized the evening crowd with their dance and songs. Other attraction of the night also included the Tai Khampti Dance drama (Pung) on the Life of Chow Woisantra Manglong which left the crowd spellbound and in tears. This dance drama known as Pung are always one of the popular events in such solemn occasion and are performed by male members based on Buddhist Jataka stories.
The cultural exchange programme was held under the patronage of Chowna Mein was in fact a confluence of various Tai groups such as Tai Khamptis, Tai Phakes, Tai Ahoms and Tais from Myanmar and Thailand.
The Thai cultural team & delegates from Thailand were led by Thanapat Choompolsil Vice President Human Resource & Administration and the Tai Ahom Cultural Group from Sivsagar Assam was led by Dr Hemanta Kumar Gogoi & Aaiseng Doi Mohung.
Four devotees from Myanmar and thirty four including two monks from Thailand participated in the cultural exchange programme. A research scholar and Psychiatrist by profession Dr Gerhard Heller along with his two daughters from Germany also witnessed the religious event.
Speaking about the importance of organizing the cultural exchange programme, Chowna Mein said that there are similarities among the Tais of India and Thais in terms of culture and religion and that his initiatives on a personal level and as the patron of Tai Heritage Culture & Literary Society aims at developing friendship and fostering brotherhood among the various Tai brethren living in South East Asia. He hoped to expose the tourism potential and enhance the scope of promoting Arunachal Pradesh in terms of religious or eco tourism.
Chowna Mein added that his emphasis is to open the historic Pangsau Pass as if once opens it will offer a vista of opportunities including the scope of the Tai communities in India and Myanmar to connect.
The festival was organized by Legislator Chowna Mein and Nang Sati Mein with their children. The specialty of the ceremony was the offering of 13 feet Bamboo Crafted Buddha’s statues to the Golden Monastery as a ‘dana’ (virtue of generosity). The act of generosity is done to further honor the Triple Gem (the Buddha, Dhamma and Sangha), as it is believed to deepens one's commitment to the Buddha's path.
Religious ceremony of tang akeykecha, consecration of Sacred Bamboo Crafted Buddha, Kathina Civara Dana and Dhamma discourse by abbot of the Chongkham Buddha Vihara Venerable Pingyasiha Bhikkhu was the major attraction of the closing ceremony today.