Ceremony to consecrate Maravijaya Buddha Image, hoist sacred umbrellas atop stone tablet pagodas and share merits held

NAY PYI TAW August 1

    Ceremony to consecrate the Maravijaya Buddha Image, successfully erected in Buddha Park in Dekkhinathiri Township, Nay Pyi Taw, Union Territory, hoist sacred umbrellas atop stone tablet pagodas and share the merits was held in three parts at the designated places in the park this morning attended by the main donor Chairman of State Administration Council Prime Minister Senior General Min Aung Hlaing and wife Daw Kyu Kyu Hla.

Present were 900 Buddhist monks from Myanmar and abroad led by Secretary of State Sangha Maha Nayaka Committee Patron of Minkyaung Pathamapyan religious school in Thanlyin, Yangon Region, Sayadaw Agga Maha Pandita Agga Maha Saddhammajotikadhaja Dr Bhaddanta Candimabhivamsa, State Ovadacariya Sayadaw Chancellor of Sitagu International Buddhist Academies Abhidhaja Maha Rattha Guru Abhidjaja Agga Maha Saddhammajotika Vice Chairman of Shwekyin Nikaya Sitagu Sayadaw Dr Bhaddanta Nyanissara and Patron of Mingala Zeyon Monastery, Pali University, Pyinmana Sayadaw Agga Maha Pandita Agga Maha Saddhammajotikadhaja Bhaddanta Vimalabuddhi, who are Maravijaya Buddha Image Construction Ovadacariya Sayadaws, and 20 nuns. The Senior General and wife and family were accompanied by SAC Vice Chairman Deputy Prime Minister Vice-Senior General Soe Win and wife Daw Than Than Nwe, the SAC Secretary and wife, the Joint Secretary and wife, SAC members and wives, union level officials, union ministers and wives, the Nay Pyi Taw Council chair, the Chief of General Staff (Army, Navy and Air) and wife, senior military officers from the Office of the Commander-in-Chief and wives, the Nay Pyi Taw Command commander, local and foreign donors, friends of Dhamma, religious associations, honoured guests and officials.

First, the main donor Senior General Min Aung Hlaing and wife Daw Kyu Kyu Hla paid homage to Maravijaya Buddha Image and offered meal in the Emerald Bowl, Shwekya Robes, fruits, flowers, water and lights.

Consecration of the Image and pouring of holy water Devotees ushered 855 monks to the four Sangha pavilions on the platform, 12 monks led by the Pali Sayadaw to Mucalinda and Sasana Beikmandaw to consecrate the Image, five resident monks of Maravijaya Monastery to the monastery and nine Mahathe monks to the Therasana and offered flowers, banners and kokkar sticks to them.

The ceremony was opened NAY PYI TAW August 1 Ceremony to consecrate Maravijaya Buddha Image, hoist sacred umbrellas atop stone tablet pagodas and share merits held by reciting namotassa three times, followed by a song praising the Maravijaya Buddha Image and blowing of conch shell and beating of the gong three times.

The task of making arrangements for the monks from abroad to consecrate the Image was transferred to Sitagu Sayadaw.

Six monks from Cambodia, 11 from Thailand, 10 from Nepal, 11 from Vietnam, 10 from Bangladesh, six from Laos, 11 from Sri Lanka, five from India consecrated the Image and poured holy water.

Myanmar monks then consecrated the Image in accord with the religious treatises and poured holy water.

Sitagu Sayadaw recited the gatha marking the success of the consecration ceremony.

The first part of the ceremony came to an end by offering multi-colour lights to the Image.

Sacred umbrellas hoisted atop stone tablet pagodas At the second part of the ceremony, devotees bearing silver bowls with ornamental flowers, religious flags, umbrellas and ceremonial palanquin, celestial and royal processions, flower throwing teams, and religious associations took their positions at the entrance of the stone tablet pagoda area and officials ushered 11 Mahathe monks to the respective pavilion.

Devotees went round Mingalamawgun stone tablet pagoda clockwise in conveying diamond orb and vane to the place of worship and took positions in the Kuthodaw pavilion.

Sayadaws recited three religious verses and devotees recited religious poems in chorus to dispense metta.

After three Sayadaws, the leading donor and disciples have taken positions on the scaffolding atop the pagoda, well-wishers took positions on the scaffolding of four encircled pagodas and 720 small pagodas on the stone plaque chambers.

At a time when the master of ceremonies chanted the time of auspiciousness, the leading donor fixed tiers of the golden umbrella, the pennant-shaped vane and the Yadana diamond orb atop the pagoda.

Disciples and well-wishers also hoisted umbrellas atop four encircled pagodas and small pagodas on the stone plaque chambers and sprayed the Paritta water and clean water on the umbrella.

The congregation led by the Senior General chanted “victory” three times for successful completion of the auspicious ceremonies in choral. The master of ceremonies read the paper on sharing merits gained for the victorious ceremonies.

Disciple ushered venerable Sayadaws into the recreation hall of Aggadipati Sasana Beikman.

Exercising donation, Sabbath, meditation In the third session of the ceremony, the exercising donation, Sabbath and meditation took place in Aggadipati Sasana Beikman. The congregation opened the ceremony with three-time recitation of Namo Tassa. Secretary of the State Sangha Maha Nayaka Committee Thanlyin Minkyaung Monastery Sayadaw administered the Nine Precepts, and the congregation listened to Metta Sutta, attributes of three gems Pubbannha Sutta recited by members of the Sangha.

In his supplication, the Senior General expressed his delightedness for having a chance to pay homage to healthy and happy venerable Sayadaws at home and abroad who attended the ceremonies with loving-kindness without considering the tiredness and exhaustion on their trips and one more chance to supplicate the process of building Maravijaya Buddha Image.

Building the Buddha image set four aims to show flourishing Theravada Buddhism in Myanmar to the world, continue propagation of the Sasana in Myanmar as a focal point of the Theravada Buddhism, ensure peace and stability of the people and to shape the prosperous country for the people in unison with safe and sound under the Metta of the Lord Buddha. Moreover, as the Buddhism emphasizes peace and Metta, one more aim was set to be a peaceful and stable world based on the Buddhism.

With regard to building the Buddha image, the Senior General recounted that the marble rock donated by a well-wisher to the then Head of State Senior General Than Shwe was handed to the Tatmadaw led by the present Senior General to build a Buddha image. Experts checked the rock in detail and excavated the 65 feet high marble rock with A level quality from October 2018 to March 2019.

Advice was sought from Bhamo Sayadaw, Sitagu Sayadaw, Shwethuwun Sayadaw and the rector Sayadaw for building the Buddha image, and preparations were made to carve the image in Bhumi Phassa Mudra.

As Myanmar lost the chain of culture during the colonial era due to loss of independence in 1885, a decision was made to carve the image in the style of Yadanabon era so as to preserve the last cultural properties.

In arranging conveyance of the marble rocks, the rocks were cut into pieces to be conveyed from Sagyin Hill to Ayeyawady River and then to Sameikkhon Port due to difficulties in the land route and then to Nay Pyi Taw along the land route in line with the advice of the Ovadacariya Sayadaws. A canal was dredged from Sagyin Hill to Myaung River leading to Ayeyawady River.

At a time when the Ayeyawady River was at the high level of water on 3 July 2020, conveyance of the marble rocks started.

The rocks weighing 8,158 tons were conveyed nine times. On 18 September, all rocks arrived at Sameikkhon Port and then it continued conveyance along the waterway set a world record of conveying marble rock. A 22 miles and five furlongs long road was constructed to convey rocks between Sameikkhon Port and Sakarin roundabout in a smooth process. Moreover, 82 detours and more than 30 miles long sessions on Yangon-Mandalay expressway between Sakarin roundabout and Buddha Park and the conveyance to Nay Pyi Taw started on 25 January 2021.

Those giant stones weighing 7,632 tons had to be transported seven times by land. A certificate of honour was presented to From Page – 21 Goldofer Company from Germany for its capability to move the things with the heaviest weights in the world in the furthest distance with the use of modular trailers. We were able to move the biggest marble stones in the furthest distance in the world by both water and land.

A location for the Buddha Image was systematically chosen, and considerate efforts were made to complete the project with pagodas, monasteries, lakes, ordination halls, rest houses, bridges and gardens after seeking advice from the Sayadaws of the State Sangha Maha Nayaka Committee. Measures were taken to install stone tables inscribed with the Tri Pitakat in Pali and the Romanized language.

The Buddha Image was titled Maravijaya.

In carving the image, arrangements were made to include the 32 major characteristics and 80 minor characteristics of a Buddha. The facial expression was created with a little smile while the face was curved with a 7.5-degree slope to the front.

The image was curved in parts with the use of CNC machines.

In combining the parts of marble, Myanmar Engineering Council and military engineers worked together to make it firm and durable and carried out an erecting process with the use of modern technology without any help from foreign technicians.

Conveyance and erecting processes were carried out with care amid difficulties. On 26 January this year, a ceremony to convey parts 1, 2 and 3 of the image to the throne took place.

The first ceremony to enshrine relics was held on 27 January, and the second on 10 February.

Gems and jewels donated by well-wishers from across the country were also enshrined.

For its long-term durability, systematic engineering arrangements were made for the Buddha Image to have a foundation of 20,000 tons and to make it resistant to a wind speed of 120 miles per hour, a maximum of 8.8 magnitude earthquake and lightning.

Combining works were also carried out with both conventional and modern techniques. As a result, the world’s biggest Yadanabon Periodstyle Buddha Image with 63 feet in height and the throne with 18 feet in height totalling 81 feet has successfully emerged. There were no major injuries during the period from the start of marble mining to the completion of the Buddha Image construction.

The platform of the pagoda is also made of marble. Moreover, 24 chambers in different styles were built as a token of respecting the 24 Patthana Pali chants delivered by Lord Buddha like Atumashi Monastery in Mandalay.

Those chambers are also meant for pilgrims to pay their homage to the Buddha Image from inside when the temperature is high outside. A flagstaff and Saddha Dipati Bell were installed on the pagoda platform. An elevator has been installed for elderly pilgrims and disabled pilgrims. A Bodhi tree donated by India was planted in the pagoda precinct. On the left and right sides of the Buddha Image lie Lombani Ingyin forests, Linton trees and Lombani Ingyin trees have been planted to the west of the image.

Respectfully listening to the teaching saying “the Tripitaka Treatises is the teacher of all like the Lord Buddha” from the Sayadaws, arrangements have been made to inscribe the teachings of the Lord Buddha on stones. In doing so, it was planned to place the stone inscription stupas right in front of the Buddha Image. The inscriptions were carved on alabaster slabs in Pali and Romanized languages with the use of modern equipment. Stone inscription stupas were built in the design of stone inscription stupas at Maha Kuthodaw Pagoda in Mandalay. A total of 720 stone inscription stupas and a stone inscription stupa for records were built. There are 1,440 stone inscription slabs as the inscriptions were carved in two languages. To avoid errors in carving the inscriptions, the inscriptions were edited by the Sayadaws led by Rector Sayadaws of International Theravada Buddhist Missionary University, Pariyatti Sasana University (Yangon and Mandalay) and Sitagu Buddhist Academy on a daily basis and systematically recorded. Systematic measurements were made for strong soil in building the stone inscription stupas. For timely completion of carving the inscriptions, CNC machines were used and the inscriptions were checked time and again to avoid errors. Scriptures of the Tripitaka Treatises will be located in the direction of the face of the Buddha Image. The Tripitaka Treatises are not only inscribed on stones but will be printed too to be donated and distributed to the Buddhism departments around the world.

As Ovadacariya Sayadaws are needed to take care of the Buddha Image, Maravijaya Monastery was built. Following the counsel of the Ovadacariya Sayadaw, Mucalinda Lake and Nagayon Pagoda were built under the various religious treatises.

I would like to further present that the Sasana Beikman was built with the donations of the people across the country.

Taking a sample of the Maha Pasana Cave donated and built by the people led by the former prime minister U Nu when holding the Sixth Buddhist Synod, the Sanana Beikman was built in a modern design.

The Sasana Beikman Aggadhipati is 296 feet in length, 213 feet in width and 94 feet in height and is also the Visongama Ordination Hall. With the capacity of accommodating 900 Sanghas and 1,200 laypersons, the Sasana Beikman was built with the aim of holding the state level Sasana-related ceremonies.

Moreover, various religious buildings such as water fountain platform, six Yadanabon-era Suhddhama rest-houses, Records Museum, Office of the Board of Trustees, Bo Tree and Gyopyay Nanpyay pagodas, a replica of the Mingalar Bridge of Mandalay Yadanabon Palace, two gateways, the wall of Buddha Park, four decorated archways to the Buddha Image, one escalator, a car park and two 42-metre lightning conductors were collectively built by the people under my leadership with the aim of ensuring the Buddhism shines and exists as long as the world exists.

I am concluding my presentation wishing all the Sayadaws at home and abroad attending this ceremony healthiness, peacefulness and longevity to continue to serve the Sasana, the Maravijaya Buddha Image existing as long as the world exists, all the citizens enjoy perpetual peace of mind and the Republic of the Union of Myanmar safe, developed, peaceful and prosperous.

Then, the Senior General and wife presented the nine-inchhigh replica of the Buddha Image and the religious building of the Buddha Image to the Thanlyin Minkyaung Sayadaw and offered alms to the Sanghas.

Afterwards, the Vice-Senior General and wife offered alms to the Sitagu Sayadaw and the attendees alms to the Sanghas.

Next, the Senior General presented gifts of honour to the architecture engineers through an official.

Afterwards, on behalf of the architecture engineers, an official transferred the Buddha Image back to the donors.

Then, the Senior General and wife and attendees heard the Ovadacahta delivered by the Sitagu Sayadaw and a sermon by Sayadaw Agga Maha Pandita Dr Bhaddanta Candana Sara and shared merits gained.

Next, on behalf of the donors, the master of ceremonies read a letter of apology to forgive if there are mistakes and incompleteness in building the Buddha Image. The ceremony came to a close after the threetime recitation of Buddha Sasanam Ciram Tittatu.

Then, the Senior General and wife marked the successful completion of the ceremony with a religious performance.

Offering day meals After the ceremony, the Senior General and wife and the guests offered day meals to the 900 Sayadaws and Sanghas at home and abroad and served the donors and guests with lunch.

In the evening, the Maravijaya Buddha Image was offered a variety of colourful lights and fireworks. The Buddha Image and the religious buildings in the compound of the Buddha Park were seen lit with colourful lights.

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