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The laying of the foundation stone for a very large Maitreya Buddha statue in Kushinagar, Uttar Pradesh, India, will take place during a ceremony on Friday, December 13, 2013. The ceremony and foundation stone laying will signify the handing over of approximately 275 acres of land from the state government of Uttar Pradesh to the Maitreya Project. The Honorable Shri Akhilesh Yadev, Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh State, will preside over a the ceremony. FPMT Spiritual Director Lama Zopa Rinpoche and the Board of Trustees of the Maitreya Project Trust will be state guests of honor. Also in attendance will be state ministers and senior government officials. A crowd of 100,000 people is expected for the event, which will include a cultural program featuring Tibetan dancers.
For more than 12 years, the Maitreya Project has worked with Uttar Pradesh State Government officials to create the conditions for the building of the Maitreya Buddha statue. Kushinagar is where Shakyamuni Buddha passed away and was cremated and is one of the four most holy Buddhist pilgrimage sites. The land for the Maitreya statue is adjacent to the Parinirvana Temple, marking where Buddha passed into parinirvana, and the Rambhar Stupa, where the Buddha was cremated. According to ancient texts, when Maitreya Buddha, who is the future Buddha, appears on earth, it will be near Kushinagar.
The land for the statue was given to the Maitreya Project by the Uttar Pradesh State Government, which realized the great potential and public benefit the Maitreya Project offers to the area. The Uttar Pradesh State Government and the Maitreya Project have created a comprehensive development plan for the site and the area surrounding it. In addition to the creation of the Maitreya Buddha statue, the project will also engage in social programs to provide employment, education and healthcare.
The Maitreya Project in Kushinagar will proceed in parallel with the Maitreya Project in Bodhgaya, where another very large statue of Maitreya Buddha is being planned in accordance with FPMT founder Lama Yeshe’s original wish.
Read Mandala‘s coverage of the Maitreya Project as it has developed over the past three decades.
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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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