Saturday, April 30, 2011

Maitreya Project

"World peace must develop from inner peace. Peace is not just the absence of violence. Peace is the manifestation of human compassion." — His Holiness the Dalai Lama

Who is Maitreya?
“Maitreya Buddha is the embodiment of loving-kindness. Throughout the entire universe, peace comes from the good heart, from loving-kindness.
— Lama Zopa Rinpoche, Spiritual Director of Maitreya Project

Maitreya's name is derived from the Sanskrit 'maitri' meaning 'universal loving-kindness'. Infinitely compassionate and all-knowing, buddhas teach by their words and example in order to guide us along the path to our own spiritual maturity.

"Everyone can make a connection with Maitreya Buddha, so that even if one does not become enlightened during this life time, when Maitreya Buddha teaches one is able to become Maitreya Buddha's disciple and to become enlightened at that time."
— Lama Zopa Rinpoche, Spiritual Director of Maitreya Project

The aim of Maitreya Project is to bring:
- long-term social and economic benefit to millions of people in northern India.
- sustained spiritual benefit to the world community.

The focus of Maitreya Project’s activities is building:
- a 500ft/152m bronze statue of the future buddha Maitreya in Kushinagar, Uttar Pradesh State.
- a 150ft/45m statue of Maitreya in Bodhgaya, Bihar State.

In northern India, Kushinagar and Bodhgaya are regions where literacy rates are very low and millions of people are living in extreme poverty, relying on subsistence farming and menial labour.

Maitreya Project will benefit these regions through:
- Education for village children from poor families, utilizing a unique curriculum that emphasizes ethical development as well as academic achievement; covering primary, secondary and vocational education.

- Healthcare of international standard.

- Employment and commerce that will provide work for more than a thousand people during construction as well as creating sustainable jobs for the future and bringing thousands of related employment opportunities to the region.

- Supporting tourism in connection with the region’s rich spiritual heritage.

- Acting as a catalyst and sustaining influence for many other infrastructural improvements.

Both statues, along with their throne buildings and parks, will be blessed throughout by sacred art that is both traditional and modern.

In both the long and short term, Maitreya Project will contribute significantly to the well-being of the region and aims to become a model of socially responsible development – environmentally sustainable, designed and built to last at least 1,000 years.

And even now, the very heart of Maitreya Project, loving-kindness, is brought to people all over the world through the Maitreya Project Heart Shrine Relic Tour. The Relic Tour brings together people of all humanitarian and spiritual traditions to create the causes for world peace by sharing the blessings of a unique and precious collection of more than 1,000 sacred Buddhist relics.

The Location of the Project
Kushinagar, Uttar Pradesh, in northern India, is the site where the historical Buddha passed away. It is one of the eight great places of Buddhist pilgrimage. According to Buddhist scriptures, in the distant future when the next buddha, Maitreya, teaches the path of loving-kindness, Kushinagar will again be a place of spiritual power.

Kushinagar's most famous site is the Mahaparinirvana Temple, built to commemorate the place where the Buddha passed away. The temple contains the world famous 20ft/6m statue of the Reclining Buddha, which dates back to the 5th century.

Other temples and stupas in Kushinagar also mark places that were significant in the Buddha's life, including the Ramabhar Stupa, where the Buddha's holy body was cremated.

Excavations have revealed the remains of at least ten different monasteries dating from the 4th – 11th centuries and these are now enclosed in a park.

Today, many Buddhist organizations have temples and spiritual centers in Kushinagar.

However, in spite of its spiritual significance, Kushinagar has been difficult for pilgrims to access. Now, the Government of India is proposing to build a state of the art rail system to join the main sites of the Buddhist pilgrimage circuit. By locating the Maitreya Project in Kushinagar, Maitreya Project will provide enormous impetus to pilgrimage and tourism, further enhancing the potential for the education, healthcare, and the economic benefits which the Project intends to bring to the area.

"Construction of the statue is not the goal – it is the method for achieving the goal. The goal is to benefit as many people as possible for as long as possible." — Lama Zopa Rinpoche, Spiritual Director of Maitreya Project


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