Maitreya Projects

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One of Lama Zopa Rinpoche’s Vast Visions is to build 1,000 statues of Maitreya Buddha around the world. 

Within this Vast Vision of Rinpoche are the two Maitreya Projects, which were established to build magnificent Maitreya statues in Bodhgaya and Kushinagar, India. The Maitreya Project also created two 24-foot Maitreya statues, now residing at Land of Medicine Buddha in California and on the Maitreya Project land in Kushinagar.

Additionally, almost 100 life-size Maitreya statues have been created, of which Lama Zopa Rinpoche sponsored and offered 26 statues to FPMT centers. Lama Zopa Rinpoche wrote a letter in February 2014 explaining how this vision came about, the focus of each Maitreya Project, and the benefits. 

Maitreya Buddha is the embodiment of each buddha’s loving kindness, and the symbol of all the bodhisattvas’ loving kindness for all sentient beings.

—Lama Zopa Rinpoche

Maitreya Statues Completed/In Progress

  • 100 life-sized statues from Maitreya Project (26 have been offered to FPMT centers by Lama Zopa Rinpoche)
  • Two 24-foot statues from Maitreya Project (one is at Land of Medicine Buddha in California, the other is on Maitreya Project land in Kushinagar)
  • 2 story statue built in a Monastery in Asia
  • 1 story statue built in a Nunnery in Asia

The Maitreya Buddha Project Kushinagar

Current efforts are focused on the project in Kushinagar. Please read about Lama Yeshe’s early inspiration, the social and economic vision for the local communities in India, and initial stages of the project below.

Lama Yeshe, Istituto Lama Tzong Khapa, Pomaia, Italy, 1983. Photo by Merry Colony, courtesy of Lama Yeshe Wisdom Archive.

Why Buddha Maitreya & Why Kushinagar?

The Maitreya Project was the inspiration of its founder, Lama Thubten Yeshe following his first visit back to Tibet in the early 1980’s. In the Buddhist pantheon, the historical Buddha Shakyamuni is considered the fourth of eventually 1,000 Buddhas who will manifest on this earth and each of whom will initiate a cycle of spiritual teachings. Maitreya Buddha is predicted to be the fifth Buddha who will appear on earth. According to ancient textual reference, Kushinagar is the place where Maitreya Buddha will manifest.

Building large statues of Maitreya Buddha has traditionally been considered auspicious in order to reduce the period of “spiritual darkness” when Shakyamuni Buddha’s teachings have disappeared and before the appearance of Maitreya Buddha whose teachings then will again provide the means for spiritual development to people of the time.

Read Who is Maitreya Buddha by Lama Yeshe.

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During the winter 2014 months, Maitreya Buddha Kunshinagar Project distributed thick blankets to various institutions, including orphanges, India, 2014. Photo courtesy of Maitreya Buddha Kushinagar Project.

Social Programs & Economic Impact

The statue itself is not the main purpose of the project. The purpose is to bring as much benefit as possible, for as long as possible – spiritually, through education and health care, and economically, through the direct and indirect creation of employment opportunities. Many will have the chance to establish a spiritual connection with the future Maitreya Buddha by visiting, venerating, or knowing about, the project. Economically, the Maitreya Buddha Project will attract many visitors from India, other parts of Asia, and the world. The project aims to provide education based on compassion and inner values. The project will provide social services including a mobile clinic network with, in time, a hospital as its base.

Already, the Maitreya Buddha Project Kushinagar has initiated a blanket distribution project which supports over 100 people at risk in the area, distributed mosquito nets, and sponsored a mobile medical clinic.

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Lama Zopa Rinpoche during his speech with Maitreya Project trustee Ven. Kabir Saxena interpreting into Hindi, Kushinagar, India, December 13, 2013. Photo by Andy Melnic.

Initial Stages

The project to build a Maitreya Buddha statue in Kushinagar is overseen by the Maitreya Project Trust. In December of 2013, the Indian state government of Uttar Pradesh handed over the land to be used for the project. That day, a stunning stone laying ceremony was held, with Lama Zopa Rinpoche, the state’s Chief Minister, and over 100,000 farmers, locals, Sangha and other dignitaries in attendance. Mandala magazine reported on the event and published Rinpoche’s speech at the ceremony. Rinpoche wrote a letter to students shortly after the ceremony explaining the steps ahead.

After many years of work, artistic and engineering renderings are also complete. In 2016, the land agreement between the MPT and the Uttar Pradesh government was signed, and the project built a fence around the project’s land. Since then, there has been a feng shui evaluation to be included in the project’s master plan, and a ground breaking ceremony was performed by senior geshes and Sangha.

The site adjoins the Parinirvana Temple which denotes the place where Shakyamuni Buddha passed into Parinirvana. The site also adjoins the Ramabhar Stupa which denotes the location of Shakyamuni Buddha’s cremation stupa. This is indeed one of the holiest places for Buddhist pilgrimage.

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——— Maitreya Projects News & Updates

Important Update on the Maitreya Project in Bodhgaya

Maitreya Projects | April 23, 2021 -
The creation of Holy Objects for World Peace is an important aspect of Lama Zopa Rinpoche’s vast vision for the FPMT organization. Specifically, Rinpoche envisions the creation of many statues of Maitreya Buddha around the world. Currently, there are two … Read more »


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