Narendra Modi will promote India’s rich Buddhist heritage to attract tourists and scholars and enhance India’s standing in the world
Posted on May 21st, 2014

Senaka Weeraratna

The world’s first Global Buddhist missionary Anagarika Dharmapala and the most talked about man in India today and perhaps in the entire policy and decision making world the Prime Minister designate of India the iconic Narendra Modi, share something in common with each other.  Both were born on Sept. 17 though 86 years apart. Anagarika Dharmapala was born on Sept. 17, 1864 and Narendra Modi saw light of day for the first time on Sept. 17, 1950.

On going research indicates that Narendra Modi may have more in common with Anagarika Dharmapala than the sharing of a common birthday. As much as Anagarika Dharmapala saw over more than a century ago India’s claim to greatness and indebtedness of the world for giving the Message of the Buddha embodying an unique Dharma based on peace, non – violence and reverence for life of all living beings, Narendra Modi likewise sees the rich potential of the Buddha’s doctrine in promoting world peace and elevating the moral stature of India, because it was in India i.e.Buddha Gaya ( close to Varanasi – Modi’s new electorate) that Prince Siddhartha achieved enlightenment as Gautama the Buddha, and spent much of his 45 years after enlightenment delivering Dhamma discourses.

The following Video clip of a speech made by Narendra Modi in 2010 at an International Buddhist Heritage Seminar held at the cultural capital of Gujarat, Vadodara amidst the presence of Dalai Lama and other religious dignitaries provides a valuable insight into Narendra Modi’s thinking on Buddhism and the increasing emphasis he can be expected to place in maintaining and strengthening ties between India and pre – dominant Buddhist countries in Asia.

An alliance between the largely Hindu India and predominantly Buddhist Asia may provide the long awaited counter weight to the hegemony we see in the conduct of the European Union (an Union of European Christian heritage countries) and the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) ( An association of 56 Islamic states).

Sri Lanka has much to benefit from this new political development in India because its new leader though committed to the cause of Hinduism (Sanatana Dharma) is also a great admirer of Buddhism and very much conscious of the great contribution Buddhism has made in elevating the moral and spiritual stature of India through out the world, and its huge potential to influence humanity and global thinking in a positive direction.


The duration of the Video clip is 23.32 minutes. Narendra Modi speaks in both English and Hindi intermingling and translating his statement in English into Hindi.

To any one interested in studying the thoughts and ideas of Narendra Modi on religion this video clip provides an ideal opportunity.

Senaka Weeraratna



Budham Sharanam Gachhami: Preserving Rich Buddhist Heritage in Gujarat

Introduction of Buddhism in Gujarat dates back to Maurayan rulers in 3rd century B.C. The excavations of Stupas, Viharas and Rock Cut caves signify that Buddhism prevailed in Gujarat since the ancient times. In fact, Gujarat is the 5th place in the world where bodily relics of Lord Buddha have been found. With the aim to preserve the rich Buddhist heritage and to bring out cultural richness in the state, Government of Gujarat under the vision of Shri Narendra Modi has accelerated its efforts to promote Buddhist sites among tourists as well as scholars.

In 2010, International Buddhist Heritage Seminar was held amidst the presence of Dalai Lama in the cultural capital of Gujarat, Vadodara. During the seminar Shri Modi had announced construction of a Buddhist Temple in Gujarat and said “This will not just be a place of worship or a revenue generation exercise to attract tourists, but also be developed as a centre of research on Buddhist philosophy”.

Gujarat State Archeology Department has taken measures to safeguard and protect the relics of each Buddhist site in the state. The state earlier known for Jain and Hindu pilgrims is now attracting Buddhist pilgrims as well.

A virtual tour of famous Buddhist archeological sites in Gujarat:

Vadnagar: In 2009, Gujarat State Archeological Department had discovered remains of a Buddhist monastery in Vadnagar which is the home town of Shri Narendra Modi. Hieun-Tsang, a famous Chinese Buddhist Pilgrim had visited Vadnagar in 640 A. D and noted existence of 1000 Buddhist Monks, and 10 Buddhist Monasteries in Vadnagar. He also found important Buddhist center with Viharas. The idea of archeological excavation in Vadnagar was moved by Shri Modi, he had judged Vadnagar as a prolific site for archeological excavation in early days of his life when he was resident of Vadnagar.

Vallabhi: Ancient references indicate that in the 7th Century A. D., Vallabhi was one of the significant Hinayana Buddhist universities and was comparable to Nalanda’s Mahayana Buddhist University. In Vallabhi, Hieun-Tsang had confirmed presence of about 100 monasteries accounting for around 6000 Buddhist monks and also found foreign students in Vallabhi University.

Devni Mori (Sabarkantha): Devnimori was an important Buddhist monastic center 1600 years ago. A huge site consisting of Stupa, Chaitya and Vihara is found on the river Meshwo near Shamlaji. The relics consisting of stone casket having original names of Gautam Buddha with detailed inscription were found from Devni Modi.

Junagadh: One of the best examples of the Buddhist ideologies is found at Ashokan Rock edicts. It contains inscriptions of three dynasties which speak the great popular faith and its healing power to convert the King. Khapra-kodia caves are datable to 3rd-4th century A. D., it is a group of 10 shelters made in rock cut style, used by Monks as a monsoon shelter. Apart from these Upperkot caves and Baba Pyara caves are known as Buddhist archeological sites in Jungadh.

Khambhalida Caves: Located near Gondal in Rajkot, Khambhalida caves is the only site with perfectly identifiable carvings of Boddhistava. It was probably a worshiping site for all surrounding people having faith in Buddhism and therefore, it is one of the rarest sites, as most of the monasteries were residential quarters.

Talaja Caves: About 32 kms from Palitana (famous pilgrimage for Jains), lies Talaja. The most impressive structure in Talaja is, the Ebhala Mandapa – a large hall fronted by four octagonal pillars. A group of 30 caves is nestled in the middle of hillock that was primarily used during monsoons for 4 months resting period.

Sana Caves: The remains of Buddhist establishment of Sana, is located in Amreli District near Rajula. Believed to be among the earliest caves of Western India dating from 2nd century B. C., the most interesting group has Ornate Carvings and Stupas, Rock Cut pillows, Benches and Chaityas. There is a hill in Sana that has 62 rock shelters scattered at different levels.

Siyot Caves: Located in Lakhpat Taluka of Kutch, Siyot must have been one of the 80 monastic sites that the 7th century Chinese travelers reported at the mouth of Indus River. It is believed to be a Shiva Temple before the Buddhist Monks occupied the caves.

Kadia Dunger Caves: 7 caves and monolithic lion pillars are presently found in Kadia Dungar in Bharuch District. The caves are located at the highest altitude having the figures of elephants and monkeys inscribed in it, also, some inscriptions in Brahmi language are found in the caves.

Shri Modi himself has taken keen interest in the activities and has made the Government machinery work, to develop these Buddhist sites as a tourism circuit in par with international standards and promote them globally.

Also view the English version of “Khushboo Gujarat Ki” video displaying Buddhist sites


Narendra Modi invokes Hsuan-Tsang to connect with Buddhists of Varanasi, Sarnath

Varanasi: Aiming to connect with Buddhists of Varanasi-Sarnath region, Narendra Modi on Thursday said ancient Chinese traveller Hsuan-Tsang had visited his birthplace at Vadnagar in Gujarat.

Modi, before filing his nomination from Varanasi Lok Sabha seat today, said that Chinese traveller Hsuan-Tsang had visited his birth place at Vadnagar, which he claimed was a place bustling with Buddhists at that time.

“People used to believe that Buddhism existed only in the East, but my village testifies that it was prevalent in the West also. So my affinity towards Buddhism is connected to my birth,” the BJP’s Prime Ministerial candidate said.

He described Baroda (Vadodara) as his ‘karyakshetra’ (work place) and said that it was Maharaja of Baroda who had helped architect of Indian Constitution Dr B R Ambedkar to pursue education abroad.

The Gujarat Chief Minister spoke about the ‘Ganga Jamuni tehzeeb’ (culture) of the area and prayed for strength so that he can work for the people, and so that ‘Kashi’ (Varanasi) becomes a spiritual capital of the world.


First Published: Thursday, April 24, 2014


11 Responses to “Narendra Modi will promote India’s rich Buddhist heritage to attract tourists and scholars and enhance India’s standing in the world”

  1. Ananda-USA Says:

    Bravo Senaka!

    Your article confirms what I have been preaching to those who vilify Modi as a one-dimensional Hindu nationalist.

    Modi’s Hindu credentials are tempered by his experience of not only the Discrimination his low caste has earned him from his Hindu high-caste countrymen, but also his Buddhist heritage in Gujerat that has opened his eyes to anti-caste message of the Lord Buddha. He knows that Buddhism incorporates the BEST of Vedic Hinduism and none of its vices as practiced by its caste-bound followers.

    Modi is not the ONE DIMENSIONAL man defined by his critics; he may yet surprise them by what he achieves in the Best Interest of India!

    Certainly, we Sinhala Buddhists of Sri Lanka wish him well, and invite him to guide India in the direction of FRIENDSHIP towards Sri Lanka, rejecting both the Racist Tamil Nationalists of Tamil Nadu seeking to divide and conquer Sri Lanka, and the siren songs of the Neocolonialist West seeking to pit India against China and exacerbating in India’s own internal divisions.

  2. Lorenzo Says:

    “Anagarika Dharmapala was born on Sept. 17, 1864 and Narendra Modi saw light of day for the first time on Sept. 17, 1950.”

    Junius Richard Jayewardene was ALSO born on Sept. 17, 1906.

    At the HALF WAY mark between 1864 and 1950.

    There is a HUGE difference between promoting the TEACHINGS of Buddha and USING Buddhist heritage for tourism.

    Lets wait and see what Modi is up to.

  3. Lorenzo Says:

    Endia has shot itself in the foot by NOT attending at a high level at CICA summit in Shanghai. A VERY LOW level Endian officer will be representing Endia at CICA.

    This is an INSULT to China and other CICA members.

    This is STRANGE because the Russian, SL, Iranian, etc., etc. PRESIDENTS (16 heads of state) participate. SL is still an OBSERVER and NOT a full member but still we send the PRESIDENT.

  4. Nanda Says:

    I too believe yours is the right approach, until Modi goes against us. Who knows, we may be able to force our raja in the correct path, after providing good friendship and assistance in the fight against the evil USA , UK and Canada.
    Why should we attack Modi like modayas without him doing nothing against us ?
    I believe he could be another Bandaranayake than a JR.

  5. Lorenzo Says:


    Outside the topic. Excuse me.

    “Modi” means Modaya, isn’t it? The femenine?

    EMPEROR ASOKA/SANGAMITTA is the standard. Not Moda/Modi.

  6. Lorenzo Says:

    TOP BJP leaders to become ministers.

    Rajnath Singh – anti-SL. Has threatened to force full implementation of 13 amendment and help TN fishermen against SL.

    Sushma Swaraj – anti-SL. Supports federal nonsense on SL. Full implementation of 13 amendment.

    Murli Manohar Joshi (DEFENCE minister most likely) – NOT anti-SL so far.

    Arun Jaitley – NOT anti-SL so far.

    They will take oaths on saturday. Modi on Monday. All SAARC leaders invited. MR should participate and INVITE Modi to visit SL. IF he does visit unlike Manmoron Singh that is a big gesture he is not as bad.

  7. Nanda Says:

    I suppose “Modi” is pronounced as “Mothi” , “th” sounding as “though”.
    Yes Modi is feminine of modaya, if pronounce like “D” English letter as for modaya.

  8. Nanda Says:

    What I like is his “no bribes” policy. I also liked JR’s dharmishta policy but we became adharmishta after his rule.

  9. Ananda-USA Says:

    How Modi resolves objections by Tamil Nadu party leaders to his inviting President Mahinda Rajapaksa to his inauguration will provide an early indication of his attitude towards Sri Lanka in the future, and his willingness to use his lanndslide victory to discipline India’s internal administration.

    Will he have the backbone to enforce foreign policy in the National Interest, or will Modi buckle in face of the IMPLIED THREAT by the Racist leaders of Tamil Nadu, to agitate for secession of the Dravidian South, and Tamil Nadu in particular, from the Indian Union?

    Will Modi have the GUTS, as Jawarharlal Nehru did, to come down forcefully on upstart states that threaten TREASONOUS SECESSION with India’s SEDITION Laws?

    This issue of reigning-in UNRULY States that increasingly challenge the power of the Union Govt is an issue that will be central to the future teritorial integrity of India. If every regional power having an axe to grid with a neighboring country tries to blackmail the Union Govt and vetos National Policy, India will disintegrate fast, as neighboring countries and the Neocolonialist west intervenes to create power blocks within India.

    We saw this in action already during the last UPA Govt when Hillary Clinton vited Tamil Nadu ignoring India’s Federal Govt and plotted strategy against Sri Lanka, and perhaps, even helped to engineer Jayalalitha’s landslide Lok Sabha election victory.

    If Modi fails to assert his authority NOW, it may be viewed as a sign of weakness, and we may increasingly see regional powers attempting carve out their fiefdoms independent of the federal authority.

    What Modi does now on this issue will signal his willingness to fight for the unity and integrity of India even as he moves to deliver on his election vows to develop India’s infrastructure, streamline and improve the efficiency and honesty of its administration, and grow the economy to uplift its people.

    In First Anti-Lanka Hurdle, Vaiko Puts Modi in a Fix over Rajapaksa’s Presence
    May 22, 2014

    CHENNAI: The euphoria of the election victory began to fade off in the face of practical problems for the BJP, as MDMK chief Vaiko urged NDA leaders against having Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa at the swearing in of prime minister-designate Narendra Modi and his Cabinet.

    “News that the great sinner Rajapaksa has been invited to attend the historic swearing in of Narendra Modi has come as a lightning bolt,” said Vaiko in a statement late on Wednesday evening.

    “I would like to point out that the Sri Lankan President was not invited to the swearing in of the NDA government under A B Vajpayee in 1998 and 1999, or the UPA governments in 2004 and 2009. I pray to prime minister-designate Narendra Modi, BJP president Rajnath Singh and other NDA leaders not to inflict an unbearable wound on the sentiments of Tamils living in Tamil Nadu and around the world,” said Vaiko.

    The MDMK leader’s plea is the beginning of doubts from within the new government’s engagement with Sri Lanka. What could add further fuel to the embers would be the fact that BJP senior Sushma Swaraj’s name has been doing the rounds for the Ministry of External Affairs. Swaraj had drawn sharp criticism when she had been part of a delegation of MPs that had visited Sri Lanka to tour the rehabilitation camps for Lankan Tamils and to survey the work being undertaken.

    Vaiko’s plea to the incoming government is likely to be replicated by a number of political parties in Tamil Nadu, who could even be expected to give the swearing in ceremony at Delhi a miss if Rajapaksa is going to be present.

  10. Lorenzo Says:

    Modi doesn’t have to CARE about Tamils.


    BJP has NOTHING to lose from Tamils.

    STICK to Rajapaksha and put Tamils where they belong.

  11. Mr. Bernard Wijeyasingha Says:

    Great pictures. Shame Ajanta was not show. Ajanta is the Indian version of the Sistine Chapel and it is all Buddhist.

    It is also interesting to note that Narendra Modi has invited President Rajapakse to the hysterical rantings of Jayalalithaa as she and her Tamil parties see the writing on the wall. Their threats, acts of thuggery, and lies are no longer welcome by the BJP and Narendra Modi.

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