One of Lama Zopa Rinpoche’s many ongoing Dharma Projects is the construction of a gigantic 500 feet Statue of MAITREYA, the future Buddha in Bodhgaya. Lord Maitreya is the Buddha who symbolizes Loving Kindness and when built the Statue will be the largest Holy Object in the world.

On May 16th 1998, during a Tea party organized to thank the sponsors and FRIENDS OF MAITREYA held in Singapore, Lama Zopa Rinpoche explained the great merit of building THE MAITREYA STATUE.

" .. and so you see, if Mahayana exists then all other teachings of the Buddha will also exist. So Lama Yeshe’s purpose to build the statue is for Mahayana teachings to last a long time. But why so large ? It is because then it has these benefits, these qualities.

First, that the Mahayana teachings of Buddha will last. Maitreya means loving kindness.

Building the statue of Maitreya will create not just individual karma but also collective karma. By serving others so much merit is collected, and so much bad karma is purified. This is how the statue can contribute to the liberation of sentient beings; to world peace – with compassion.

The question – why not build hospitals ? Why build such a large statue ? so here .. one thought came to my mind – think of sending so many billions of dollars on atomic bomb. Money spent on statue ie on holy object will plant imprint of seed of liberation in the mind. Just seeing the statue, even only seeing a picture of the statue will plant seed – will have a positive imprint and then gradually achieve liberation and eventually the peerless happiness of enlightenment. Even when one sees the Buddha at a moment of anger – even just seeing a picture of Buddha it purifies the mind.

In daily lives what makes our actions cause for happiness or suffering is our attitude. If this is virtuous, positive and pure, non egotistical and non self centered mind – only then can our actions become cause of happiness. If done with pure mind with dharma.

If these actions are done with Bodhicitta they become cause for enlightenment- will be cause for happiness for the future lives. Also becomes energy to cut delusions.

So ATTITUDE is important – now here with Holy Objects, Statues, Stupas and Scriptures – as soon as offerings, prostrations and circumambulation are done to holy objects – they become immediate cause of enlightenment, and will achieve liberation from suffering and cause for happiness, good rebirths for so many lifetimes. This is due to the power of the holy object.

So with holy object, it makes it so easy to create good luck; to have good karma, to create cause for happiness. Usually most of us have delusions no matter how much we don’t like to get angry still it takes years to reduce anger, to control anger. It requires a lot of effort. But with holy object it is So easy. This is the general benefit of a holy object.

So the BIGGER the statue, the more people come and see the statue and the more sentient beings use the statue to purify the mind so more sentient beings will benefit.. The statue can liberate so many thousands of sentient beings.

As I explained before, sufferings cannot come from outside, but instead it comes form the mind. Therefore there is the need to transform the mind. Real development must come from the mind. … Real liberation comes from ourselves. For this we need to create circumstances to create this liberation; to create merit and purify obstacles

Also the project offers social services. Bihar ( the state in India where Bodhgaya is sited and where the Maitreya statue will be built ) is very poor so this Project will create employment and even after the statue is built and actualized, it will bring economic benefits.

We do not have the pure mind at the moment to see Buddha. So the karma we have is to see only statue. Therefore this holy object is for sentient beings to have realization to collect merit; able to understand the teachings. So the existence of the teachings depends on the existence of the statue.

Manjushri asked Buddha this, and Buddha replied – " In future when sentient beings make offerings to the statues, it is the same amount of merit as making offerings directly to me "

So, other thing which Buddha explained:

How many atoms statue has, the most powerful wheel turning king- that many cause for perfect concentration to proceed to higher levels. Without this one cannot have the wisdom that leads to ultimate happiness. .. how many atoms the statue has that will be that many causes for enlightenment.

So anybody who contributes to building the statue will have so much merit, and also anyone who has connection with Maitreya project, when you descend into the world will become the first disciples of Maitreya Buddha. In Tibet are stories of lamas who build large statues. This lama sent manager to raise funds – this makes many people to make connection with Buddha so Maitreya, likewise so many people can collect merit.

Inside the statue .. different shrine rooms. According to Mahayana tradition, we cannot keep statues empty – many problems can come with empty statues. Must fill up with mantras. So MEDICINE BUDDHA. So powerful for success, not just health. By reciting mantra will never be born into lower realms and all prayers will succeed. 21 TARAS represent all the Buddhas actions - good fortune. The 6 Arhats, the 1000 armed Buddha – offerings to Chenrezig and all other Buddhas… and then the heart sutra will be written in gold – merit is greater than the whole Universe filled with stupas. Building one stupa alone is unbelievable benefit now here 3 galaxies of the Universe filled with stupas. This is the merit of writing one heart sutra.

At the heart of the Maitreya Buddha will be Shakyamuni relics so people can circumambulate and make prostrations.

In the garden also statues and stories. Eg.. Shakyamuni Buddha gave his body to a family of hungry tigers. Maitreya did not … so Shakyamuni attained enlightenment first.

So you must think ..

" I should not live my life only for myself. I shall live my life for others .. and cessation of suffering is the ultimate liberation.

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