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The Uttar Pradesh State Government handed over a large segment of land to the Maitreya Project Trust on Friday, December 13, 2013, during a foundation stone laying ceremony. FPMT Spiritual Director Lama Zopa Rinpoche flew to the event in Kushinagar and with Akhilesh Yadav, the Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh, addressed the crowd of 100,000 people. Several other important officials were there as well as the Maitreya Project Trust Board of Trustees.
The Maitreya Project will build one of the tallest statues of Maitreya Buddha on the land given by the Uttar Pradesh State Government. The Maitreya Project has worked with the state for more than decade to realized the building of the statue. Kushinagar is the historic site of Shakyamuni Buddha’s passing away. The Maitreya Project land sits adjacent to the Parnirvana Temple and Rambhar Stupa.
His Holiness the Dalai Lama sent a message that was read at the ceremony:
“I extend my greetings and best wishes to the Government and people of Uttar Pradesh.
“About 15 years ago, the Government of Uttar Pradesh approached me with a request that the Maitreya Project to construct a large statue of Maitreya Buddha come to Uttar Pradesh. I discussed this with Zopa Rinpoche and we agreed that Kushinagar would be the most favorable location for the statue.
“A long time has passed but I am happy to learn that the Government of Uttar Pradesh has kindly decided to provide land for the Maitreya Project to fulfill its purpose. I would like to express my gratitude to the Honorable Chief Minister and offer prayers for the success of the Maitreya Project – that it inspires peace, harmony, and goodwill throughout the entire world.
“I am grateful to the Maitreya Project and Zopa Rinpoche for undertaking this work. I understand that construction of a clinic to provide free medical services and the school will also be part of the larger project and therefore of additional benefits to the local people.”
The event also had a cultural program featuring a traditional Tibetan dance troupe from Dharamsala. Monks and nuns from Kopan Monastery, Root Institute staff and attendees from the recent Kopan course assisted hundreds of local workers with preparations for the event, which was put together with a week’s notice.
Read Mandala‘s coverage of the Maitreya Project, both recent stories and accounts of how the project has developed over three decades. For the official announcement, see the December 2013 Announcement from the Maitreya Project Kushinagar.
Mandala brings you news of Lama Zopa Rinpoche and of activities, teachings and events from over 160 FPMT centers, projects and services around the globe. If you like what you read on Mandala, consider becoming a Friend of FPMT, which supports our work.
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Mandala Publications is the official publication of the Foundation for the Preservation of the Mahayana Tradition (FPMT), an international charitable organization founded by two Tibetan Buddhist masters, Lama Thubten Yeshe (1935-1984) and Lama Thubten Zopa Rinpoche. FPMT is a vibrant international community, with a network of 160 affiliate centers, projects and services, and members in more than 30 countries.
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