Deputy Chief Minister Chowna Mein of Arunachal Pradesh on November 19 unveiled 14 majestic 11 ft tall statues of Lord Buddha at the Mahabodhi Stext Development Centre in Nongtaw. The event witnessed the presence of Former Minister CC Singpho, Chairman of Mahabodhi Maitri Mandala Arunachal Centres, Ven. Bhikkhu Panyarakkhita, Director of Mahabhodi Stext Development Centre Ven. Bikkhu Sangharakkhita, and Director of Mahabodhi Monastic Institute, Bengaluru Ven. Bhikkhu Panyaloka.
The initiative aims to install a total of 108 sacred Buddha statues at the Centre. These statues, dedicated by individuals from diverse communities, seek to preserve the serenity of the pristine nature and combat issues like shifting cultivation and deforestation.
In addition to the unveiling of the statues, Deputy CM Mein inaugurated the Handloom Weaving and Carpentry Workshop and the Monk’s Dining Hall. He also laid the foundation stone for a hostel building for trainees and an Administrative Block for the Centre.
Addressing the gathering, Deputy CM Mein highlighted the significance of the number 108, symbolizing the 108 qualities of Lord Buddha. He expressed his vision for Mahabhodi Society to extend its reach beyond spiritualism and contribute to the health and education sectors. He reminisced about the inception of Mahabodhi Lord Buddha College in Namsai in 2013, affiliated with Rajiv Gandhi University, foreseeing its evolution into an independent university.
Mein aspires to transform the Mahabhodi Stext Development Centre into a comprehensive learning institute, integrating monastic teachings with CBSE education. Emphasizing the growth potential of the Centre, he envisions it becoming a premier spiritual and tourist destination, calling for collective societal participation.
In line with his vision, Mein proposed the initiation of a 10-bedded Monk’s Hostel through voluntary contributions to support the conservation of the region’s natural beauty and biodiversity. He announced plans for the construction of a grand 108 feet statue of Lord Buddha on the hilltop, symbolizing an emblematic addition to the Centre’s beauty.
The Deputy CM assured the construction of approach roads and security fencing to protect the Centre from encroachment, along with the establishment of a security force in the area. He praised the innovative and eco-friendly efforts of the Centre’s Director, Ven Bikkhu Sangharakkhita.
During the ceremony, two books, ‘Basics of Buddhism’ and ‘Living Legacy of the Buddha,’ dedicated to Deputy Chief Minister Mein and his family, were also released.
The event was attended by notable figures including ZPC Namsai, Urmila Manchykhun, District BJP President Sujana Namchoom, DC C R Khampa, and SP Sangey Thinley, highlighting the collective enthusiasm and support for the transformative vision outlined by Deputy Chief Minister Chowna Mein.