I am not a follower of Buddha. Yet his teachings have inspired me in dark moments. From what I have read, Buddha has inspired many people across the world in different ways. In meditation, the techniques prescribed by Buddha have come in handy to tame the monkey-like state of the constantly flitting mind. The mere glimpse of Buddha's poised image has brought serenity and inner strength to many to embrace a new perspective and perhaps adapt to a new way of living.
Terror attack on Mahabodhi Temple
For these reasons and more, the terror attack on Bodh Gaya is unacceptable and unforgivable. The latest reports indicate that nearly 13 bombs were planted inside the temple in Bodh Gaya. It shocks and disgusts me that a terror attack on one of India's most sacred Buddhist temples is given absolute lip service and nothing more from those at the helm of governance in this country. That the Intelligence Bureau had informed about the threat way back in October also indicates the callous indifference with which the state authorities treated this matter.
To humanity, Buddha represents absolute peace and serenity. Buddha is also India's greatest spiritual treasure. Every Indian, irrespective of religion, has a duty to recognize and respect this.
To attack Buddha's temple is to attack every Indian's spiritual legacy. Irrespective of caste, religion or our own different spiritual beliefs, it is the duty of every Indian to demonstrate that terror attacks on sacred places of worship on this soil is simply not acceptable. It is no longer enough to read the headlines and move on. There must be a unified demand to ensure these acts of terrorism do not strike at places of worship.
Politicians will promise the sun, the moon and the stars. Their words are as hollow and empty as their power-blinded selves. There is no point of looking to them for solutions. False promises are their forte. They will cash in on any incident to appeal to their vote banks, nothing else.
So, what can we do? We need to take steps.
Little Steps, Big Milestones
Here are some small initiatives we can take to make places of worship more secure:
1. Temples, shrines or places should constitute internal security groups to constantly track, tweak and ramp up new security initiatives in the premises.
Cameras all around the premises are a must-have, not a luxury. Security checks onThey could even hire the best security agencies in the state and work in tandem with them if monetary resources can be stretched further. Whatever happens, it is important to have direct involvement with the security related decisions of a temple, shrine or any place of worship.
2. Establish an open communication link with the local police without waiting for a disaster to strike. There should be a key contact who can be a point of contact for the temple/shrine/place of worship administration and vice versa.
3. Community based volunteer groups can be formed to take rotative turns in ensuring the safety of pilgrims who visit. This should be formed by a group of active devotees.
4. A small percentage of donations can be kept aside to contribute to the security of the temple/shrine/place of worship.
Buddha said, "There are only two mistakes one can make along the road to Truth; not going all the way, and not starting."
We, as a nation, have a huge spiritual and cultural debt to the Buddha. The best way to at least make an attempt to pay back the debt is by embracing the path of peace more powerfully and taking bold steps to ensure that mistakes of this sort that happened in terms of security lapse do not ever repeat itself again.
Each Indian owes this to the Buddha.