President Bidya Devi Bhandari has stressed the need for the effective implementation of the Lumbini Master Plan in order to develop this world heritage site into a major international tourism destination.
She suggested presenting the unique identity of the birthplace of the Buddha before the world by publicising the tangible and intangible heritage through the study and research of the historical and archaeological places and objects in and around Lumbini.
The Head-of-the State said so while unveiling the statue of the Mahakaruna Gautam Buddha at the Gautam Buddha International Airport in Bhairahawa, Rupandehi today. “We should extend warm reception to the domestic and foreign tourists by developing attractive infrastructures and the stupas (temples and shrines) related to the Buddha culture along with an ambience of carrying out research and exploration as well as the practice of yoga and meditation,” she said.
Stating the best service and welcome offered to the visitors in this area will contribute towards figuring out the main spirit of the Buddhist philosophy, President Bhandari also believed that this would also contribute to making the life of the local community prosperous through tourism.
The President called on the Lumbini Buddhist University established with Lumbini as the basis to focus its attention on carrying out study and research on the Buddhist philosophy and tradition, resolving to develop it as one of the best academic institutions in the world.
She said the bodies concerned should pay attention to completing the Gautam Buddha International Airport at the stipulated time as its timely completion would facilitate the Buddhists around the world to visit Lumbini and to carry out study and research.
The Head of State said the installation of the Buddha’s statue made of special metal has added a new dimension to Lumbini’s development and towards the promotion of sustainable peace in the world. She added that the installation of the Mahakaruna Buddha Statue at the airport gives the message to all to adhere to the path of righteousness.
Noting that all should move ahead in the materialization of the mega campaign of development at a time when the country is marching forward in the direction of prosperity, President Bhandari believed that the development of physical infrastructures here would help raise the living standard of the local people.
Home Minister Bal Krishna Khand, who is also looking after the Prime Minister’s portfolio, said it is necessary to complete the airport construction. He directed the bodies concerned to ensure the early construction of the airport.
Stating that the Buddha’s teachings should be emulated in practice, he said doing so would help in the positive societal change.
Acting Prime Minister Khand said it has been established that the Buddha was born in Nepal and now it was time to publicise the Buddha philosophy and teachings so as to translate them into practice and to promote peace and non-violence across the world.
The practice of Nepali people to respect each other is worthy of following in the world, he claimed, adding that the Buddha’s statue set up in the airport would help add to this practice.
Stating that Buddha’s message of peace and non-violence is equally relevant in the present time, Chairperson of the National Assembly Ganesh Timilsena maintained that Buddhist philosophy has connected Nepal and Nepali people with the outer world.
On the occasion, Speaker of Spain Blanca Martin Delgado said that Buddha’s message of peace would connect Spain and Nepal. He also expressed his wishes to expand Spain’s relations in Asia through Nepal.
Chairperson of the Lumbini Garden Foundation of Spain, Jose Manuel Vilanova offered the hope that cooperation between the two countries would help make Buddhist culture and philosophy known to the entire world.
The Foundation handed the statue worth approximately Rs 2.5 billion and made of precious metal, ‘White Jade’ to the Government of Nepal after bringing it to the country for free. The Malvin Group, a mining company based in Myanmar, has provided the statue free of cost. The statue weighing 1,800 kilograms is 1.9 feet high and 60 centimetres wide.
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