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'Peace creates Unity', monk's reason for Buddha statue in Gujarat

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Bengaluru, Nov 24: People of India have just witnessed the inauguration of Sardar Patel statue in Gujarat. The BJP ruled state is gearing up for another statue- 80 feet statue of Gautam Buddha on the banks of Sabarmati river.

Peace creates Unity, monks reason for Buddha statue in Gujarat

Bhante Prashil Ratna Gautam, the founder of Sanghakaya Foundation, is in charge of the forthcoming Buddha statue. OneIndia spoke to Bhante Prashil Ratna about the necessity and impact of Buddha statue.

Bhante Prashil Ratna

Asked about the timing of proposed statue in the nation gripped in statue fever, Bhante Prashil Ratna said, "It is not a new project, but old one launching now. The idea was proposed in 2011 and then we were struggling to get land. Now the government is ready to give land on the banks of Sabarmati river, Gandhinagar. The file has been moved further."

"As soon as the land is sanctioned we have the plan to call Dalai Lamaji for two-three days in Ahmedabad for bhoomi pooja."

The height of the planned statue is not decided randomly but there is a reason behind this. "At the age of 35 Buddha attained enlightenment and propagated 'Dhamma' for the next 45 years (these numbers add ups to 80) therefore the 80 feet statue will be built," said Bhante Prashil. However, the Sanghakaya Foundation has not fought financial support for the statue from the government.

Buddha idol found in Gujarat

Buddhists from India and across the world are contributing for the cause. Bhanteji is traveling and he has received a positive response. "We haven't asked funds for the statue but they (government) spent on Sardar Patel statue, they may support this cause also, " hoped Bhante Prashil.

Relics recovered during excavation

Not only Bihar, but Gujarat does also have a history of the Buddhist tradition. Interestingly, the statue will be a replica of Buddha's relic recovered during an excavation in Vadnagar. Speaking about the necessity of the statue at this juncture, the monk justified the idea saying, "We need the statue of Buddha as a symbol of peace. Nowadays, peace is more important than everything. When the mind is peaceful people are united. Peace creates unity, unity may not create peace."

Dalai Lama

Narendra Modi attended the International Buddhist conference in Baroda during his tenure as Chief Minister of Gujarat. Then, Dalai Lama had proposed a Buddha statue and monastery in the state. Then, the government has sanctioned the land and a monument will be built at the cost of Rs 1,200 crore at Dev Ni Mori.

Bhante Prashil Ratna exuded confidence that the Buddha statue will help revive Buddhist culture. "Buddhism has many philosophical and practical aspects. Art and architecture is another aspect, " he said.

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