New Delhi: A group of high-ranking Sri Lankan Buddhist Monks, who were on a pilgrimage to Bodh Gaya recently, is now seeking His Holiness Dalai Lama's visit to Sri Lanka, which is reeling under a severe economic crisis.

They met the Buddhist spiritual leader the Dalai Lama in Bodh Gaya on December 27 and were overwhelmed by witnessing a large gathering at the holy city.

Most Venerable Waskaduwe Mahindawansa Mahanayake Thero, Mahanayake Thero, Sri Sambuddha Sasanodaya Sangha Sabha told ANI in an interview, "His Holiness (the Dalai Lama) came to India and people should know why he came to India. Why he settled down in India? India helped His Holiness, and now because of His Holiness, we know thousands of tourists are in Bodh Gaya."

He added, "These days, Bodh Gaya is very cold and people usually don't come, but people are there because of His Holiness. Bodh Gaya is benefitted in many ways. Is Tibet benefitted? We should think about this part also".

The high-ranking monk wished the Dalai Lama to visit Sri Lanka and help to overcome the economic hardships his country has been facing currently.

"I believe, like His Holiness has been to Bodh Gaya. If he goes to Sri Lanka, many thousands of tourists will come to Sri Lanka which will boost the economy because we are in a crisis situation. And, if His Holiness goes to Sri Lanka, many tourists will come here similar to Bodh Gaya. We will be blessed and the economy will also be boosted", he said.

Most Ven Makulewe Wimala Mahanayake Thero, Chief Prelate of Sri Lanka Ramanna Maha Nikaya was also overwhelmed to meet the Dalai Lama. He said, "His Holiness the Dalai Lama is a spiritual leader and we were very happy to meet him there. We have an understanding of spiritual activities. So, Mahasangha from Sri Lanka is happy to see what his Holiness is doing".

Ven. Muruddeniya Dhammarathana, Thero of the Asgiri Chapter said, "Actually we are very happy, Bodh Gaya is like our motherland because Lord Buddha got enlightenment there and always that place too much. This is not my first-time visit; I have visited 2-3 times before. Especially yesterday and the day before yesterday there was an important event, we were lucky to meet his holiness Dalai Lama and a lot of Lamas and monks from different parts of the world".

He added, "We saw thousands of people there, especially to listen to his holiness Dalai Lama's speech. We were very happy seeing and listening to his teaching and again we were so lucky to come and worship the holy Bodhi tree. I think this is a very good chance we are here".

Sri Lanka is still recovering from an unprecedented financial crisis it faced in 2022 that also sparked political turmoil in the island nation. India extended much-needed help to a neighbor in need by providing financial assistance of nearly 4 billion USD during the year.

The high-ranking Sri Lankan Buddhist Monks on their visit to India thanked Prime Minister Narendra Modi for the help and also sought the blessings of their spiritual leader HH Dalai Lama to overcome the challenges.