New Delhi : President of India Shri Ram Nath Kovind todey Address Commemoration of the Golden Jubilee of the Vishwa Shanti Stupa in Bihar. they said, I am immensely happy to be here on this auspicious occasion of commemorating the Golden Jubilee of ‘Vishwa Shanti Stupa’, built at this ancient Buddhist site. I congratulate the Government of Bihar, Rajgir Buddha Vihar Society, followers of Nipponzan Myohoji and disciples of Most Venerable Fujii Guruji for this celebration. My special appreciation for the delegates from different parts of Asia, Europe and America particularly from Japan who have travelled to this holy site for the anniversary. You all are ambassadors of World Peace. sri kobind said that I feel fortunate standing here on Ratnagiri Hill, facing the Vulture Peak, from where Lord Buddha is said to have preached the Lotus Sutra for seven years. I had the privilege of participating in the anniversary celebrations of this Peace Pagoda in 2015 and 2016, as Governor of Bihar. I was also the Chief Patron of Rajgir Buddha Vihar Society. I came to Rajgir in 2018 to inaugurate the ‘International Conference on Dharma-Dhamma’. Every visit to Rajgir, one of the favourite abodes of the Buddha, fills me with special joy. We have assembled in a sacred land of spiritual revolutions that transformed societies. Bodh Gaya, Rajgir, Pataliputra and Nalanda are the birth-places of these changes that took place several centuries ago and spread across the world. Not far from this place, Lord Buddha attained enlightenment under a tree at Bodh Gaya. Jainism and Hinduism took deep roots in this region which underlines the amazing diversity thriving in our country since ancient times. Therefore the ‘Vishwa Shanti Stupa’ is a symbol of unity, peace and non-violence. Its message has universal resonance, which rises above cultures, religions and geographies. It also reflects the abiding partnership and extensive cooperation between the peace-loving democracies of Japan and India. This ceremony is happening in a period marked by significant increase in mutual engagement between our countries within the Kyoto-Kashi spirit. kobind said, My great predecessor, the Late Dr. S. Radhakrishnan, had laid the foundation stone of this Stupa in 1965. It was inaugurated by my another illustrious predecessor, the Late V. V. Giri, in the Gandhi Centenary Year of 1969. As we all know, Mahatma Gandhi followed Maha-Karunik Buddha’s ideals of universal love and compassion. Buddha’s teachings find reflection in Gandhian ethos. I am happy that in this month of 150th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi, we have assembled here to mark the 50th year of this Vishwa Shanti Stupa. Thus, while commemorating the Golden Jubilee of the Stupa, we are also paying homage to the greatest missionary of peace in the modern world.It is well known that Fujii Guruji initiated the idea of building Shanti Stupas across the world. This impressive Stupa is primarily a result of Fujii Guruji’s untiring efforts and the fine work of renowned Buddhist architect and artist Upendra Maharathi. Fujii Guruji met Gandhiji and also stayed at the Wardha ashram. Gandhiji and Guriji were two great souls bound by one common goal of promoting non-violence and peace. Such was the impact of Nichiren Buddhism of Japan on Gandhiji that he learnt the chant ‘Namyo Ho Renge kyo’ and his prayer sessions would begin with the chant. I have just returned from a visit to Japan. During the visit, on October 21, I also met a delegation from Gotemba Peace Foundation set up by Fujii Guruji. I had had the privilege of meeting Fujii Guruji about 45 years ago. I still remember that evening, probably it was in the year 1974, when he entered the New Delhi residence of the late Morarji Desai, chanting and beating drums with his disciples and Morarjibhai welcomed them with folded hands. Fujii Guruji, a Buddhist monk, and Morarji Desai, a follower of the Hindu way of life and worship called Sanatan Dharma, were bound together by their common spiritual goal – World Peace. I had the privilege of working with Morarji Desai who was the Prime Minister of India from 1977 to 1979.