US$ 67,000 promised for Dhyana Buddha project

Newindpress, January 17 2006

AMARAVATI, India -- The Dalai Lama has announced a Rs 30 lakh (US$ 67,000) aid for the 125-feet Dhyana Buddha project on the banks of River Krishna.

He also promised to provide 300 volumes of Buddhist literature to develop it as an international Buddhist study centre. Kalachakra and Buddhha Satva statues will be kept at the centre.

This largest Buddha statue in the country is the result of the vision and jeal of an officer.

It started three years ago when Deputy Director of Social Welfare R Mallikarjuna Rao was designated as special officer of Tadikonda Assembly constituency. The town, which has a glorious past, was in an utter state of neglect. He took the development of the town into a Buddhist tourist centre as a mission.

As per the master plan, 5 acres was acquired to develop the infrastructure. The then Collector K Ramakrishna Rao released Rs 10 lakh. This initiative encouraged Mallikarjuna Rao who had saved Rs 14.5 lakh by selling his own paintings of the Buddha.

Last year, during ??Rajiv Palle Bata??, Chief Minister YS Rajasekhara Reddy, impressed by the project, agreed to release Rs 25 lakh. While the present Collector, G Jaya Lakshmi, released Rs 20 lakh, the Tourism Department released Rs 14.5 lakh. So far, Rs 85 lakh has been spent. But it is estimated to cost Rs 2 crore.

Mallikarjuna Rao said the project was designed in such a way that it was divided into eight ways and four zones. Eight pillars denote the eight-fold path while the four zones denote the four noble truths. Paintings to explain the teachings of the Buddha were kept in the museum.

The project, having 20 suites and a dhyana mandiram will be another jewel in the crown of Amaravati.