State Sangha Maha Nayaka Committee Sayadaws hear report about construction of world’s biggest Bhumi Phassa Mudra sitting marble Buddha Image, give advice

Nay Pyi Taw  March 25

A ceremony to report the construction of Bhumi Phassa Mudra sitting marble Buddha Image in Buddha Park in Dakhinathiri Township, Nay Pyi Taw, Union Territory, to the Sayadaws of the State Sangha Maha Nayaka Committee and seek their advice took place at the designated venue in the park this morning.

Present on the occasion were Chairman of the State Sangha Maha Nayaka Committee Presiding Nayaka of Bhamo Monastery in Mandalay Abhidaja Maha Ratha Guru Abhidhaja Agga Maha Saddama Jotika.

Dr Bhaddanta Kumara Bhivamsa Bhamo Sayadaw, Secretary of the State Sangha Maha Nayaka Committee Presiding Nayaka of Minkyaung Pahtamapyan Learning Centre in Thanlyin Agga Maha Pandita Agga Maha Saddama Jotika Dhaja Dr Bhaddanta Can-dimabhivamsa, title-recipient Sayadaws, members of the Sangha, Chairman of the State Administration Council Commander-in-Chief of Defence Services Senior General Min Aung Hlaing, Vice Chairman of the Council Deputy Commander-in-Chief of Defence Services Commander-in-Chief (Army) Vice-Senior General Soe Win, Union Minister for Religious Affairs U Ko Ko, Nay Pyi Taw Council Chairman Dr Maung Maung Naing, senior military officers from the Office of the Commander-in-Chief, the Commander of Nay Pyi Taw Command and guests.

The ceremony was opened with a three-time recitation of Namo Tassa. In reporting about the Buddha image construction, the Senior General said the construction of the marble Buddha Image with 81 feet in height in Nay Pyi Taw started with four objectives: showing the flourishing Theravada Buddhism in Myanmar to the world, ensuring national peace and stability, attracting local and foreign pilgrims to the Buddha Image thereby contributing to regional develop-ment and  ensuring national development.

The marble boulder to be carved out of the Buddha Image was donated U Aung Khaing Than and family of Angelo Mining Company to the Shwe Foundation in 2013. At the request of the Shwe Foundation in late 2017, the disciples led by Commander-in-Chief of Defence Services Senior General Min Aung Hlaing made preparations to carve the image out of the marble rock in line with modern techniques and the suggestions from the Sitagu Sayadaw, the Shwe Thuwin Sayadaw and the Rector Sayadaw. Feasibility study was started in 2018. An X-Ray was conducted on the marble rock to know the amount of curving, volume and any defect. After a rough design had been created, it was calculated that a piece with 65 feet in height could be produced. Then, plans had to be made for the throne of the image. The Sitagu Sayadaw was invited in July 2020 for his guidelines and suggestions. Moreover, advice was sought from the Shwe Thuwin Sayadaw, the Rector Sayadaw and the Pali University Sayadaw.

The Buddha Image will be curved in appropriate Bhumi Phassa Mudra style with the 32 major characteristics and the 80 minor characteristics of Lord Buddha. The throne will be 18 feet high and the image 63 feet high with a total height of 81 feet. According to estimations, the image weighs 1,720 tons, the throne 3,060 tons totalling 4,780 tons.

The Kyauktawgyi pagodas across Myan-mar are Maha Lawka Tharaphu Kyauktawgyi Pagoda (27.5 feet high) built by King Taninganway in Inwa in 1092 ME, Taungmingyi Kyauktawgyi Pagoda (13 feet 9 inches high) by Taungmingyi in Amarapura in 1148 ME,

Maha  Thakya  Marazein  Kyauktawgyi Pagoda (26 feet 3 inches in height) by King Mindon in Mandalay in 1227 ME, Lawka Chantha Abaya Laba Muni Kyauktawgyi Pagoda (37 feet 7 inches in height) under the State Peace and Development Council in Yangon in 1363 ME (2001 AD), and Maha Thakya Ranthi Kyauktawgyi Pagoda (32 feet) under President U Thein Sein in Nay Pyi Taw in 1377 ME (2015 AD). Studying the sitting Buddha images across the world, there are the Great Buddha Image made of sandstone and granite (64 feet high) built in India in 1989, the Kamakura Daibutsu Buddha Image (43 feet 8 inches) made of bronze foils in Japan in 1252 AD and Phuket Big Buddha made of RC concrete studded with marble titles (148 feet) in Phuket of Thailand in 2014. Therefore, the current Buddha Image under construction will be the biggest and highest not only in Myanmar but also in the world.

In the conveyance of the Buddha Image to Nay Pyi Taw, due to its gigantic volume, arrangements were made to carry the image in four separate parts and the throne in five separate parts after being cut into pieces without harming the originals. From the marble mountain in Madaya Township to Myaung River, the marble rock was conveyed after digging a canal with a volume of 92,507 pits and uploaded to a barge. In the first stage, it was carried from there to Hsimeegon Port in Myingyan Township along the Ayeyawady River. After reduction in weight at the port, it was conveyed to Nay Pyi Taw by modular trailer along Mandalay-Yangon Expressway.

So far, there have been five times of conveyance to Nay Pyi Taw and two more times are left. A total of 7,632 tons have to be carried. When all the parts arrive in Nay Pyi Taw, they will be combined together with high technology. Carving work will be carried out with the use of CNC machines. For the convenience of pilgrims from near and far, Ganthakuti Taik, Dhamayon halls, archives, Thudama rest houses, Botalok Lake and water fountains will be built in the Yadanabon era’s style in the park. Inside the Ganthakuti Taik will be marble works of Buddhist culture and Buddhawin. An estimated cost is Ks-35,378.6 million and about US$-9.74 million. Donations have yet to be sought and they will be accepted only after suggestions from the Sayadaws. The explanations were made with PowerPoint presentations and video clips.

The Bhamo Sayadaw called for ensuring the Buddha image is firm and revered as it will become the biggest. The Thanlyin Minkyaung Sayadaw said it was a perfect and detailed explanation and stressed the need for the face of the image to be revered so that pilgrims can pay homage to it respectfully. He said this was pointed out because it is a more meritorious deed to see the revered face though paying homage is directed towards the attributes of Lord Buddha. On behalf of the title-recipient Sayadaws, Bago Myoma Monastery Sayadaw Bhaddanta Gandama said the arrangements are perfect but it is necessary to make the image firmest and most durable. He then gave advice on efforts for the propagation of charity and the Sasana.

The Senior General made his discussion and then the ceremony concluded in accord with the religious tradition.

Later, the Sayadaw viewed the scale models of the Buddha image, the park, location of marble rock pieces and construction work in the park. They were conducted round there by the Senior General and officials.

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