About the Project

Why Kushinagar?

The reason we considered Kushinagar is because the State Government of Uttar Pradesh previously had the idea to build a large Buddha statue when they heard that the great Buddha statues of Bamiyan in Afghanistan were destroyed. Following that, State Government several times requested that Maitreya Buddha Project come to Uttar Pradesh. State Government kindly offered land for the Project in Kushinagar. 

Kushinagar is a place of serenity and contemplative beauty. Located in the state of Uttar Pradesh, it is one of the eight great places of the “Buddhist Pilgrimage Circuit” of North India commemorating the life of the Buddha.

The Eight Buddhist Pilgrimage Sites

The eight great pilgrimage sites are illustrated on the map above (click on the map for larger view).  They are:

  • Sankashya  where the Buddha descended from Tushita Heaven
  • Lumbini  the site of Buddha’s birth
  • Bodhgaya  the site of Buddha’s enlightenment
  • Sarnath where the Buddha began teaching the Buddhist spiritual path in Deer Park.
  • Sravasti, where Buddha spent 25 rainy seasons and performed many great miracles.
  • Rajgir, where the Heart Sutra was expounded at Vulture’s Peak
  • Nalanda, the centre of Buddhist learning
  • Kushinagar, where the Buddha passed away, entering Mahaparinirvana.

Close to the time of Buddha’s passing away, he and his entourage stopped to rest near the banks of Hiranyavati River. There, many people came to pay their respects and ask the Buddha for answers to their spiritual questions.

Late in the night, the Buddha asked three times if anyone still had questions concerning the spiritual path. When no one responded, Buddha gave his famous final teaching: “Impermanence is inherent in all things. Work out your own salvation with diligence.” Then, passing through the stages of his final meditation, Shakyamuni Buddha entered Mahaparinirvana (final great enlightenment) and passed away.

Kushinagar TempleKushinagar’s most famous site is the Mahaparinirvana temple, built to commemorate the place of the Buddha’s passing. It contains the 20ft/6m statue of the Reclining Buddha. The statue dates back to the 5th century.

Kushinagar_stupaOther temples and stupas in Kushinagar mark places Buddha visited. The Rambhar Stupa is where Buddha’s Holy body was cremated. Excavations have revealed the remains of at least ten different monasteries dating from the 4th – 11th centuries and these are now set in a park.

Today, many national and international Buddhist groups maintain their own spiritual centre in Kushinagar. Maitreya Buddha Project will highlight Kushinagar, the site of the Historical Buddha’s passing away, as one of the holiest places of Buddhist pilgrimage.