Address by the Right Honourable President Mrs. Bidya Devi Bhandari at the unveiling ceremony of the MahaKaruna Buddha statue made of white jade stone at Gautam Buddha International Airport, Lumbini.

I would like to express my happiness and greetings at the unveiling ceremony of the statue of MahaKaruna Buddha at the premises of the Gautam Buddha International Airport in Lumbini, the holy birthplace of Gautama Buddha, known as the fountain of world peace.

I would like to thank the Lumbini Garden Foundation and all the partners involved in the installation of the Lord Buddha Statue made up of precious metal at this airport, which is also one of the projects of national pride.

Our country Nepal is the birthplace of Lord Buddha, the founder of world peace. We all Nepali have always been and will continue to feel proud of the fact that this historical region is playing an important role in spreading Buddha’s message of peace, non-violence, compassion, co-existence, and equality across the world. It is a matter of great pleasure for us that the messages of Buddha twenty-five hundred years ago are even relevant today and its followers are increasing day by day.

History is testimony to the fact that in the birthplace of Buddha, we Nepali have always been living in harmony with each other according to the spirit of Buddhism. It has not only established our identity but has also taught non-violence and peace to the world community. I believe that lasting peace in the world can be achieved only when humanity can move forward by imbibing the Buddha’s philosophy in their daily life.

When it comes to oriental philosophy, the saying “jananijanmabhoomisch: swargadapigariyasi”(mother and motherland are superior to heaven) is popular. This adage is sending the message that the mother and place of birth are the most important; motherland is dear. Since Buddha incarnated in our Lumbini, it should be taken as natural that development activities should be intensified in this place.

Warm hospitality should be extended to the domestic and foreign tourists by developing a sustainable, attractive, and indigenous infrastructure related to Buddhist culture along with an ambience of carrying out research and exploration as well as practice yoga and meditation. The excellent service and hospitality for tourists in this area will contribute to the essence and spirit of Buddha’s philosophy and will also help in making life of local community prosperous.

Listed as a World Heritage Site, Lumbini is the site of global attraction and effective implementation of the Lumbini Master Plan is indispensable in order to develop this major heritage site into an international tourist destination. Unique identity of the region should be presented to the world by developing the Buddha Circuit, highlighting all tangible and intangible heritages, including through the study, research, and conservation of places and materials of historical and archeological importance. The Lumbini Buddhist University established on this basis should develop itself as one of the best academic institutions in the world carrying out study and research on Buddhist philosophy and tradition.

I am of the opinion that relevant agencies should take it seriously as the completion of construction of modern and well-equipped Lumbini international airport will provide easy access for Buddhists, researchers, and inquisitors to travel from all over the world. In this context, I feel that the installation of the MahaKaruna Buddha statue made of precious white jade stone at the Gautam Buddha International Airport has added further dimension to Lumbini. I am confident that the installation of this statue will help in spreading the message to every traveler who comes to Lumbini from all over the world to adhere to compassion and non-violence.

It is commendable that the Lumbini Garden Foundation aims to promote the Buddha’s eternal message of peace and harmony, with the belief that it will help establish lasting global peace. I am sure that with the construction of the Buddha statue, it will inspire all concerned to be more aware by imbibing his messages.

I am happy to learn that another grand statue of the great Karuna Buddha, which is a replica of this statue, will be installed in the Spanish city of Cáceres. This act will send further message that the spirit of peace and harmony has tied Nepal and Spain to friendship. It also plays a special role in strengthening people-to-people contacts and further deepening diplomatic relations.

I look forward to the advice and suggestions of experts of Buddhist philosophy on what can be done to convey the message of peace, compassion, non-violence, and harmony by sanctifying the inner part of the statue that is going to be installed in Spain with the sacred soil of Lumbini, where Gautama Buddha toddled his first step.

As the country is marching forward on the journey of prosperity, this region should also take the lead in materializing the grand campaign of development.

As some researches have shown that the Kapilvastu Tilaurakot area was developed as a well-organized city in ancient times, the concerned authorities should take lessons and inspiration from this historical heritage and focus on developing excellent settlement with facilities of drinking water, roads, electricity, sewerage and quality health infrastructure. I am confident that this will increase the standard of living of the people and will contribute to promoting the overall cultural tourism of the region.

In conclusion, once again I would like to thank all those who have contributed to the success of today’s program and believe that this day will further inspire us all to follow the Buddha’s teachings with our mind, word, and deed.

Thank you.

Sunday,31 October 2021

Rupandehi, Lumbini