At the Light of the Path Retreat on Friday, August 19, there was tremendous rejoicing when Lama Zopa Rinpoche announced that the land for the very large Maitreya Buddha statue in Kushinagar had been officially signed over by the state government of Uttar Pradesh.
“We are delighted to announce that on August 19th 2016, the State Government of Uttar Pradesh formally and most generously, handed over about 200 acres of land in Kushinagar to Maitreya Buddha Project Kushinagar.
“The land is extraordinarily precious in that it is adjacent to the Maha Parinirvana Temple denoting the place where Shakyamuni Buddha passed into Maha Parinirvana. On three sides the land encloses the Ramabhar Stupa – the cremation site of Shakyamuni Buddha. The land is even more auspicious as it is predicted that when Maitreya Buddha appears on this earth, he will be born in Kushinagar.
“Maitreya Buddha Project is most grateful to Honourable Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav and all the State Government officials who have assisted over the years, in the complex legal process culminating in today’s handover.
“The Project is indebted to Spiritual Director Lama Zopa Rinpoche who since the passing of Project founder, Lama Thubten Yeshe, has ensured Maitreya Project continues despite many difficulties.
“The Project is equally indebted to FPMT Inc, the lead sponsor of the Project and to the other amazing individual donors who have so generously continued to fund the Project even though at times it seemed this moment would never come.
“The Project is also deeply grateful to the local population who have graciously facilitated this historic moment.”
The Maitreya Buddha Project Kushinagar has already begun its work in the area with humanitarian programs such as the the distribution of mosquito nets in the summer and blankets during the coldest months of the year. Now having officially taken possession of the land, they can begin work onsite. Here is their list of upcoming projects:
- “The first critical task is fencing the 15 kilometres (9.3 miles) of site boundary.
- “Also of major importance is to relocate the 7.4 meter (24 feet) high Maitreya statue, from Bodhgaya to the Kushinagar land. The Project is planning a ceremony to receive Maitreya Buddha onto the land as soon as possible.
- “The Project will also build a shrine to accommodate the amazing collection of Holy Relics that Lama Zopa Rinpoche has kindly assigned to the site.
- “The skeleton team that has overseen the legal work for the last 16 years must now expand to include local onsite management, a small office, security, communications and basic infrastructure.
- “We begin strategically master planning the site and are seeking professional help with the process.”
Back at the Light of the Path Retreat in United States, retreat participants were very moved by Rinpoche’s announcement of the good news after so many years of waiting to acquire this land. On the same day, Rinpoche got a fortune cookie and the message inside was “You have a potential urge and the ability for accomplishment,” which was taken as a sign for the Maitreya Project.
To learn more about the Maitreya Buddha Project Kushinagar, visit: http://mbpkushinagar.org. You can directly offer your support at this link: http://mbpkushinagar.org/donations/general-donation/.
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