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Old Posted Feb 20, 2007, 2:44 AM
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Maitreya Buddha Project, Kushinagar, Uttar Pradesh

A great project is in the works in one of the poorest parts of India. The Maitreya Project is a tribute to Buddhism for and from the land of the Buddha. At 500ft / 152m, the World's Largest Statue -- a statue three times the size of the Statue of Liberty -- built to last over a thousand years.

The Maitreya Project aims to construct a huge temple dedicated to the Buddha in Kushinagar, Uttar Pradesh. The project will also build free hospitals, schools servicing tens of thousands of poor, and also be a huge catalyst for infrastructure and tourism development efforts in one of the most economically backwards parts of India.

The project is a joint religious collaboration by organizations representing the various sects and faiths that revere the Buddha: from Mahayana to Vajrayana to Hinayana to Hindu to Jaina.

The Project was funded by Buddhists and Hindus in India, Tibet, Japan, Korea and the West. The conceptualizer of the Maitreya Project is an Nepalese-Tibetan spiritual leader, Lama Zopa Rinpoche.

Through this project, India once again shows that the ancient arts of massive devotional architecture continues to thrive.






-----==--==-----
Project Overview
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From the website:
"Maitreya Project is based on the belief that inner peace and outer peace share a cause and effect relationship and that loving-kindness leads to peace at every level of society — peace for individuals, families, communities and the world.

The Maitreya Buddha statue is being designed to last for at least 1,000 years. Through this entire new millennium and into the next, it will effect positive change within the hearts and minds of people all over the world and benefit the people of India through its social and economic activities.

Maitreya Project’s vision includes schools that focus on ethical and spiritual development as well as academic achievement, and a healthcare network based around a teaching hospital of international standard to provide healthcare services, particularly for the poor and underprivileged.

Maitreya Project is working with local, regional and state governments in Uttar Pradesh, India, where the Kushinagar Special Development Area Authority will support the planned development of the area surrounding the Project.

The Maitreya Buddha statue is being built to bring as much benefit as possible, for as long as possible, so that loving-kindness will eventually arise in the hearts of all beings. "








-----==--==-----
Some of the benefits of the Project
-----==--==-----

Employment and Commerce



"As work proceeds, the Project is drawing on the expertise of Indian and regional consultants, architects, engineers, town planners, financiers, and other professionals. The Project's construction phase will directly employ more than a thousand skilled and semi-skilled workers, and hundreds more will be indirectly employed in industries supplying materials and services. After completion, hundreds of people will be employed to maintain the park and provide services to visitors all the year round. Thus the Project will provide ongoing opportunities of employment for local people.

The Project will act as a focus for new investment in the region, and will be a major impetus for the economy of the whole area. In this way many other jobs will be created indirectly as the infrastructure and other new and expanding businesses, employ staff.


Infrastructure Development

People sometimes ask, "Why spend so much money on a statue? Why not spend it on education, healthcare, or improving living standards?" In fact, the Project will accomplish all these objectives.

The Maitreya Project will have an uplifting influence on the region, providing -- directly and indirectly -- services in healthcare, education, long-term employment, technology development, trade, tourism, agricultural development and other infrastructure services.


Maitreya Project Universal Education School



The existing Maitreya Project Universal Education School is located in Bodhgaya, Bihar State, India.

Because many families have no means to pay for education, the Maitreya Project Universal Education School provides free education and supplies. Over time it will help to raise the education and living standards of the entire community. The school is financed through separate private donations.


Maitreya Project Healthcare



Maitreya Project is creating public health programmes of international standard in northern India with the intention of supplementing those medical services already provided by the government.

The Project will build a teaching hospital of international standard as the focus of its healthcare activities. This will offer treatments based on Ayurvedic, Tibetan, and Western medical systems. The hospital will provide first-rate medical care in surgery and other modern procedures.

The healthcare system will primarily serve the poor and under-privileged, even in remote parts of the area.

Over the years, the medical services will be developed and expanded to meet the needs of many communities."


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Engineering Challenges
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"In both size and sustainability the statue and throne building are unlike any other monument in the world. The Project's professional partners include world leaders from India and around the world who are expert in project management, structural, mechanical, electrical, environmental, sustainable and reverse engineering, scanning, surfacing, mould making and casting.



One of the main goals of Maitreya Project is to build a monumental work of art that will serve as a constant source of inspiration and a symbol of loving-kindness for at least 1,000 years.

While the conditions the statue will meet today can be easily measured, projecting data for weather patterns over the 1,000-year lifespan of the statue is much more difficult. The huge structure must withstand high winds, extreme temperature changes, seasonal rains, possible earthquakes and floods, and environmental pollution throughout at least 1,000 years. For this reason, the statue must be designed to withstand the most challenging conditions that could conceivably arise.

The computer model must be examined for wind loading, heat expansion, possible earthquakes, and extreme weather conditions. By using advanced computer software, all possible stresses can be simulated and the design can be adapted where stresses could have become too high. These software programmes can depict stress levels as different colours.

Extensive research has gone into developing the special alloy of bronze to be used for the outer 'skin' of the statue, an aluminium-nickel-bronze.



As the bronze 'skin' will expand and contract dramatically due to daily temperature changes, the statue will require special expansion joints. While these must be invisible to the observer, they must also be constructed in such a way as to protect the internal supports of the statue from water leakage, erosion and corrosion.

'For technicians and engineers, the requirements for the statue are very unusual. Our last century is famous for having created the biggest of most man-made structures. The lifespan of 1,000 years, however, is the requirement that influences nearly all aspects of architectural design and material selection."










Cheers,
Jai
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  #2  
Old Posted Feb 20, 2007, 2:46 AM
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A couple-year old article from the BBC about the project:

India's Buddha will be three times higher than Statue of Liberty
Quote:
BBC[Thursday, July 15, 2004 02:40]


Computer-generated image of the Kushinagar Buddha statue

The authorities in the Indian state of Uttar Pradesh have confirmed plans to build the world's biggest statue of the Buddha.

The site will be the town of Kushinagar where Buddha died 25 centuries ago.

The bronze statue is planned to be more than 150m tall, double the height of the 8th Century Tang dynasty Buddha in south-west China.

The Kushinagar statue will be co-funded by the Uttar Pradesh government and a Japanese religious trust.


'World's biggest statue'

The statue will depict a future incarnation, the Maitreya Buddha, in a seated position.

It will be three times higher than the 46.5m (151-foot) Statue of Liberty.

Local officials say it will be the world's biggest statue and that a 17-storey temple building with huge prayer halls will be housed inside it.

However, in the United States, plans are underway to build a statue in Houston, Texas, called The Spirit of Houston, that would be even higher.



Kushinagar was the place that the Buddha chose for his Mahaparinirvana, or final exit from earth.

The town was then known as the capital of the Malla republic, one of the republican states of northern India during the 5th and 6th centuries BC.
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  #3  
Old Posted Feb 20, 2007, 2:47 AM
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UPDATE -- 28 August, 2006:




-----==--==-----
Land Site
-----==--==-----


^ The Maitreya Project Land Site

Recognising the long-term benefits Maitreya Project is bringing to the region, the State Government of Uttar Pradesh is providing, free of charge, 750 acres/300 hectares of mainly agricultural land in Kushinagar.

Kushinagar is a place of great historical and spiritual significance. It is the place where Shakyamuni Buddha passed away and it is predicted to be the birthplace of the next Buddha, Maitreya – the Buddha of Loving-kindness.

During the last three years, in compliance with the Indian Land Acquistion Act, the State Government of Uttar Pradesh has been carrying out the lengthy process of acquiring the bulk of the land not already owned by the government, prior to handover of the site to Maitreya Project.

Currently, 40% of the land is ready for handover and the government has completed most of the process for the remaining 60% of the land. Although we know only too well that timing cannot be guaranteed, we expect the land site process will be completed by the end of 2006 or early 2007.

This will initiate handover to Maitreya Project and the long-awaited milestone of site preparation followed by on-site construction
of the Maitreya Project statue and facilities.


Kushinagar Special Development Area

Maitreya Project and the UP government have worked together to create the Kushinagar Special Development Area (KSDA), an additional area of 4.6 miles/7.5 kilometres surrounding the MP site.

Municipal bylaws and planning regulations have now been adopted to protect the KSDA from the kind of opportunism that is often seen in communities of emerging economic development. Maitreya Project has representation on the legal bodies governing the KSDA, the bylaws and regulations have effect in law, and the work of monitoring the development of the region will be ongoing.

It is within the KSDA that Maitreya Project will implement its extensive healthcare and education programmes.


-----==--==-----
Architect’s Preliminary Site Plan
-----==--==-----

Maitreya Project’s lead architects, Aros Ltd., have drawn up a preliminary proposed plan for the beautiful 750 acre Kushinagar site.


  • The Ceremonial Gateway & Maitreya Statue Sanctuary will lead visitors to the 500ft/152m Maitreya Buddha statue.
  • The Maitreya Buddha Statue will sit on the Throne Building containing temples, prayer halls, exhibition halls, a museum, library and audio-visual theatre
  • The Hospital and Healthcare Centre will be the hub of Maitreya Project’s public healthcare programmes. The development of these programmes will begin with primary care clinics in the communities of the Kushinagar Special Development Area. Over the years, the medical services will be developed and expanded to meet the needs of many communities. A complete healthcare network will be developed to provide medical services that are centred around a teaching hospital of international standard. The healthcare system will primarily serve the poor and under-privileged, even in remote parts of the area.
  • The Centre of Learning, will eventually serve students from primary to university levels of education.
  • The Meditation Park will be a secluded area next to the ancient Mahaparinirvana Temple, which commemorates Buddha Shakyamuni’s passing away from our world, the ancient Ramabhar Stupa, commemorating the Buddha’s holy cremation site, and monasteries and temples belonging to many different traditions of Buddhism that include both modern facilities and ancient ruins.

All of these features will be set in beautifully landscaped parks with meditation pavilions, beautiful water fountains and tranquil pools. All of the buildings and outdoor features will contain an extensive collection of inspiring sacred art, which you are invited to sponsor in order to support the construction of Maitreya Project.


^ Architect’s Concept: A View from the Maitreya Project Park
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  #4  
Old Posted Feb 20, 2007, 2:48 AM
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Janurary 2007 Update

An awesome article detailing not only the Maitreya Buddha project, but also the re-establishment of the ancient Nalanda University in Bihar.

Buddhism really is coming back to its motherland, thanks in great part to the Tibetan refugees who have made India their home!

Buddhist bonanza
Quote:
Rabindra Seth
www.expresshospitality.com
16-31 January 2007

Two great projects - the world's tallest Buddha at Kushinagar in UP and the revival of Nalanda University in Bihar - are now on the drawing board and are likely to be taken up in 2007. This may give India a tourist draw card as alluring as the Taj Mahal.


The Buddha statue project is the brainchild of Maitreya - an international organisation. Its name is derived from Sanskrit, meaning universal love. The aim, the sponsors say, is not just to build a unique statue but "to benefit as many people as possible for as long as possible". The 152 metre (500 feet) high Buddha in the centre of 750 acres of landscaped environs is designed to last at least a 1,000 years.

Under the throne of the statue will be buildings, housing temples, exhibitions halls, a museum, library, audio-visual theatre and hospitality services. All around will be beautiful parks with meditation pavilions, fountains, tranquil pools and a collection of sacred art, plus a hospital of international standards and educational facilities. (Maitreya is already providing free education to 500 students at Bodhgaya)

Land for the project has been donated by the UP government which, at last count, had already acquired 40 per cent and the process is on for acquiring the rest. Maitreya and the state government have entered into an agreement to create a Special Development Area extending to 7.5 kilometres around the project where healthcare and educational programmes will be implemented.

Maitreya had originally planned the project at Bodhgaya, but the inordinate delays in decision-making in Bihar compelled it to shift it to Kushinagar. A spokesperson for the organisation told this writer that work on the project will hopefully start in 2007 when the acquired land is handed over.

The Nalanda University initiative was taken by the external affairs ministry as part of a move to re-kindle India's ancient links with east and south Asian countries, by reviving Nalanda as a centre for Buddhist learning. On its part the ministry of tourism and culture consulted the Nava Nalanda Mahavihara, an autonomous body under it. Later, at meetings at the PMO, four key components were identified for a the Nalanda project - setting up an international centre of learning, developing the area around Nalanda, re-development of Bodhgaya and developing the entire area of Nalanda as a cultural corridor or as a centre of cultural tourism. A consultant from the UN World Tourism Organisation was also invited who recommended that a master plan be prepared.



^ An artist's impression of the Buddha statue at Kushinagar. One of the four holiest Buddhist sites, Kushinagar near Gorakhpur in UP is where the Lord attained Mahaparinirvana. The other three are at Lumbini on the Nepalese side of the Indian border where he was born, Bodhgaya in Bihar where he attained enlightenment, and Sarnath near Varanasi where he delivered his first sermon.


Will tourism follow trade?

An international seminar on Nalanda-Buddhist cultural links was held in Singapore in November this year. It was jointly organised by the East Asian Institute, Faculty of Arts & Social Sciences and the Institute of South Asian Studies in National University of Singapore. Sanjay Kothari, the new additional director general at the tourism ministry who represented India says, "the participants agreed that it was important to support the establishment of Nalanda University as well as the restoration of key Buddhist holy sites." They suggested, Kothari adds, "That the re-establishment of Nalanda University could be facilitated by linking up various centres of academic excellence and theological institutes in the region." Discussions on the practical aspects of the project will however, continue.


^ We should not forget that it is not only the faithful who wish to visit Buddhist holy sites. There are countless others the world over who are fascinated by Buddha's message of peace. Not all the millions who flock to Bethlehem are Christians.

As was to be expected, the revival of Nalanda University has been welcomed by academics and others, although the tourism fraternity has been slow in its response. Fortuitously, FICCI has organised an international conference on positioning India as a hub for Buddhist tourism in the capital on January 25 slated to be inaugurated by minister for tourism and culture, Ambika Soni. In a message, she says she is confident that the conference will encourage public-private partnership in infrastructure creation, improve connectivity and help in discussion of marketing strategies.

Hopefully, FICCI will arrange a session or two on the Maitreya and Nalanda projects to encourage the travel industry to get associated with them at an early stage. One would also expect marketing experts to refer to the opportunities that can be availed of with the re-opening of the trade route along the ancient Silk Road, linking Tibet with Sikkim through the 14,400-foot Nathu La. The pass was opened in July last year and neither the Sikkim government nor the tourism ministry at the center has said a word whether ‘tourism follows trade’ is on their agenda.

We should not forget that it is not only the faithful who wish to visit Buddhist holy sites. There are countless others the world over who are fascinated by Buddha's message of peace. Not all the millions who flock to Bethlehem are Christians.

(The writer is a freelance journalist. He can be reached at rabseth@yahoo.com)
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  #5  
Old Posted Jun 14, 2007, 3:04 AM
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UPDATE -- June, 2007:




-----==--==-----
Land in Kushinagar
-----==--==-----



We are delighted to announce that in compliance with the Indian Land Acquistion Act, the State Government of Uttar Pradesh has completed the necessary legal requirements for the acquisition of the 750 acre land site to be made available to Maitreya Project, in Kushinagar, UP in northern India.

The State Government has not yet taken physical possession of the land site and it will still take further time before it is operationally under the control of the Project; nonetheless, this is a major milestone in the development of the Project and we are pleased to be able to share with you this news which has been eagerly awaited for so long.

There now follows a process in which Maitreya Project will work closely with the State Government, local leaders, landowners, and third party agencies to ensure that fair and agreeable levels of compensation are awarded to those whose land has been acquired.

As explained in previous Updates, there are still a number of permissions, clearances, and approvals to be obtained. With a new State Government just recently elected in Uttar Pradesh we hope that these will now proceed quickly, but we realise they may also require patience.

Once all permissions have been secured Maitreya Project will resume design, and engineering work on the land, and will make preparations for construction of the 152m Maitreya Buddha statue, and for the implementation of the planned healthcare and educational projects in Kushinagar.
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  #6  
Old Posted Oct 1, 2007, 9:57 AM
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Wow, what an amazing Project, I wish i could do something for the it or be apart of the Project. best of luck.
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