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Photographer's Note

India celebrates her Independence Day on 15th August. It is perhaps an opportunate time to celebrate what has been the backbone of Independent India - its Secular structure.
India is home to Hinduism, Islam, Christianity, Buddhism, Jainism, Sikhism and several other religious traditions. India is a traditional society that contains not one, but many traditions owing their origin in part to the different religions that exist here. While India carries with it many traditions it has managed to retain the secular character of its polity.
I present a series of photographs dedicated to the Secular structure of India, starting off with Buddhism
Buddhist monks specially the young ones are such a joy to photograph. This one was clicked inside the Salugara monastery near Siliguri.
Buddhism is a path of practice and spiritual development leading to insight into the true nature of life. Buddhist practices such as meditation are means of changing oneself in order to develop the qualities of awareness, kindness, and wisdom. There are around 350 million Buddhists around the world. They follow many different forms of Buddhism, but all traditions are characterised by non-violence, lack of dogma, tolerance of differences and, usually, by the practice of meditation .
Buddhism in India began with the life of Siddhartha Gautama (ca. 563-483 B.C.), a prince from the small Shakya Kingdom located in the foothills of the Himalayas. Brought up in luxury, the prince abandoned his home and wandered forth as a religious beggar, searching for the meaning of existence. Under a tree in the forests of Gaya (in modern Bihar), he resolved to stir no farther until he had solved the mystery of existence. Breaking through the final barriers, he achieved the knowledge that he later expressed as the Four Noble Truths: all of life is suffering; the cause of suffering is desire; the end of desire leads to the end of suffering; and the means to end desire is a path of discipline and meditation. Gautama was now the Buddha, or the awakened one. Buddhism in India flourished for a long time. It eventually declined and disappeared from most regions of India around 13th century, but not without leaving a significant impact. In the twentieth century it has been spectacularly revived and there are now over ten million Indian Buddhists.

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Additional Photos by Sabyasachi Talukdar (sabyasachi1212) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 3140 W: 281 N: 5210] (19779)
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