05/17/2011, 00.00
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Nepal celebrates the Buddha’s birthday by honouring two Japanese with a peace award

by Kalpit Parajuli
Celebrations are held today in Lumbini, the Buddha’s birthplace. The mayors of Hiroshima and Nagasaki receive the Gautam Buddha International Peace Award for their action against the proliferation of nuclear weapons around the world.
Kathmandu (AsiaNews) – Nepalis marked the 2,555th anniversary of the Buddha’s birth with prayer vigils across their mountain nation. Celebrations began this morning in Lumbini (southwestern Nepal) where Siddhartha Gautama was born. The key moment came when the Gautam Buddha International Peace Award, the most important international prize awarded for spreading Buddhist values in the world, was given to its first recipients, the mayors of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

Tadatoshi Akiba (Hiroshima) and Tomihisa Taue (Nakagasaki) were recognised for their action against the proliferation of nuclear weapons and the dangers of atomic energy, especially important since the Fukushima tragedy.

Both civic leaders are also members of the ‘Mayors of Peace’ movement, a group that brings together more than 4,000 mayors around the world.

The Nepali government first conceived the prize in 1998 as a way to highlight the Buddha’s message of peace and humanity.

The prize honours every five years Nepali or foreign individuals or organisations that promote peace and human rights around the world.

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