Rebirth of Indian Buddhism under Narendra Modi
Posted on May 23rd, 2014

by Senaka Weeraratna

Newly elected Prime Minister will promote India’s rich Buddhist heritage to attract tourists and scholars and enhance India’s standing in the world

New Delhi, India — 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 Video clip of a speech (see below) 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.

Courtesy: Buddhist Channel

See also


May 21, 2014

Budham Sharanam Gachhami: Preserving Rich Buddhist Heritage in Gujarat

November 3, 2012

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

April 24, 2014

2 Responses to “Rebirth of Indian Buddhism under Narendra Modi”

  1. Mr. Bernard Wijeyasingha Says:

    It is refreshing that Narendra Modi invited President Rajapakse against the vehement protests from Tamil Nadu. This stands in stark contrast to Manmohan Singh who boycotted CHOGM mainly due to the demands made on him by Tamil Nadu.

  2. Ananda-USA Says:

    While Narendra Modi is SYMPATHETIC towards Buddhism, it is too much to expect his tenure at the helm of India will result in a REBIRTH of Buddhism in India, for he has other MORE URGENT MATTERS to attend to that he will be judged on in the next Lok Sabha elections in 2019. Nevertheless, his election could cause a SEA CHANGE in India’s Foreign Policy favourable to neighboring countries.

    I wonder whether the massive Stupa mentioned below in 2011 was ever built. Does anyone know?

    Narendra Modi plans world’s biggest stupa near new Maruti plant site
    By Ajay Umat, TNN
    November 4, 2011

    AHMEDABAD: In a bid to turn Gujarat into a pilgrim place for countries which follow Buddhism, chief minister Narendra Modi is pulling out all stops to build the world’s biggest stupa, over 100 km from the place Suzuki has chosen for the biggest Maruti plant in North Gujarat.

    The project will cost Rs 1,000 crore, centred around a 351-ft high stupa towering over a 151-ft statue of Lord Buddha. The site — Dev-ni-Mori in Sabarkantha district — is two km away from Shamlaji temple located on the Ahmedabad-Delhi National Highway. An active archeological site, this is the 5th place in the world where Buddha’s body relics have been found.

    The relics are at present kept wrapped in a silk cloth in a gold-plated casket at the archaeology department of MS University in Vadodara. A team from the department then headed by well-known archaeologist and professor B Subbarao had unearthed the ashes belonging to third or fourth century in Dev-ni-Mori in 1957. It was shifted to Vadodara as the site was getting submerged under the Meshwo dam. Prominent archaeologist and former MSU professor V H Sonawane says the casket’s inscription refers to it as bodily remains of Buddha.

    Modi is not only eyeing foreign tourists from the Buddhist world but also big business from South-East Asia economies like Japan and South Korea which have lined up bigticket investments here. Of 22 companies which evinced interest in the project, Gujarat has shortlisted two from China, a country Modi is visiting next week.

    Lord Buddha himself visited several places in Gujarat. Excavations of stupas and viharas suggest that Buddhism came to Gujarat during his lifetime itself. Chinese traveller Huen Tsang has mentioned about the several monasteries in the Vadnagar-Vijaynagar region and that almost 1,300 monks lived here.

    Modi may also steal the thunder of his Bihar counterpart Nitish Kumar, who has been actively promoting Bodh Gaya, Nalanda and other sites. This may enhance his appeal among dalits — a large number of them being Buddhists — besides tribals who also have belief in the Buddha sites in North Gujarat.

    Bihar would, of course, not be able to match the money power of Gujarat which plans to spruce up the stupa site with resorts, retreats, ecotourism and a riverfront on the Meshwo. About 100 acres of land have been notified for it and more may be acquired.

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