PETALING JAYA, Dec 12 — Malaysia is geared up to host the International Shravasti Cultural Festival 2020 (Shravasti Fest 2020) from September 18 until 20 next year at Bukit Jalil National Stadium, Kuala Lumpur. 

The event will be organised in collaboration with various Buddhist associations and is supported by organisations from Malaysia, Sri Lanka, Taiwan, Thailand and India. 

The three-day Buddhist event is expected to attract over 50,000 participants from 15 countries. 

In its quest to promote peace and harmony, the festival will feature a forum and various performances before the grand ceremony, on the eve of United Nation’s International Day of Peace which falls on September 21. 

It will kick off with an inter-faith forum titled ‘Religion’s Roles, Relevance and Activities’ to promote environmental sustainability. 

On the second day, the event will continue with the World Indigenous Arts Festival, which will also include the Guinness World Record attempt to create the world’s largest Mandala at Bukit Jalil National Stadium. 

The festival will then culminate in the Grand Shravasti Blessing Ceremony for World Peace 2020 and ROLF International Youth Assembly 2020 on September 20. 

The forum and the arts festival is open to all races, religions and nationalities while the youth assembly is only for youth. 

The blessing ceremony is open to non-Muslims only. 

For the uninitiated, Shravasti is a district of the Uttar Pradesh state where Buddha lived the longest time attaining enlightenment.

Shravasti Fest 2020 organising committee chairman Adelyn Lim hopes the festival will serve as a platform for young Buddhists to learn and contribute to the community. — Picture by Ahmad Zamzahuri
Shravasti Fest 2020 organising committee chairman Adelyn Lim hopes the festival will serve as a platform for young Buddhists to learn and contribute to the community. — Picture by Ahmad Zamzahuri

In a launching ceremony held at the New World Petaling Jaya Hotel, Shravasti Fest 2020 organising committee chairman Adelyn Lim said one of the key objectives of the event is to promote the integration of Buddha’s teachings into contemporary life. 

“It is also to encourage a sense of Buddhism’s contemporary relevance and to help the young people to understand the basic teachings and the culture better,” she added. 

Lim also noted that a similar event was organised 20 years ago at Bukit Jalil National Stadium titled Grand Blessing Ceremony for Millennium 2000. 

The maiden event attracted about 50,000 local and foreign participants and raised RM380,000 to fund various humanitarian programmes run by six non-profit organisations. 

It also set the Guinness World Record for the world’s largest bean art collage with 12 tonnes of beans. 

“With the support and encouragement from the Buddhist communities, we are enthusiastically looking forward to organising another event with comparable contexts and scale to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the event,” Lim said at the launch. 

Also present at the launch were Deputy Defence Minister Liew Chin Tong, Indian High Commissioner to Malaysia Shri Mridul Kumar and India’s Great Shravasti Centre founder Drikung Kyabgon Tinle Lhundup. 

Among other attendees were Malaysia Buddhist Association vice-president Venerable Chan Liang, Malaysia Buddhist Sangha Association president and International Buddhist College founder and council chairman Venerable Wei Wu, the chief high priest of Malaysia and Sri Lanka Buddhist Temple Malaysia incumbent chief monk Venerable B. Sri Saranankara Maha Thera and Young Buddhist Association of Malaysia deputy president Sin Yew Sen. 

The festival aims to raise about RM2 million for six reputable non-profit organisations in the area of education, senior care, youth development, heritage preservation and medicine. 

Lim said the gross fund collected from online donations or the sale of lamp lightings will be distributed to the beneficiaries without deducting the event costs. 

Selected beneficiaries include International Buddhist College, Malaysian Buddhist Association, Ti Ratana Welfare for Elderly, Young Buddhist Association Malaysia, Drikung Kagyu Institute and Yayasan Maha Karuna. 

For more information and free registration, surf over here.

Online registration will start from February 15, 2020.