Maitreya Project Vermont: A Rare Gift to the West
Pema Osel Do Ngak Choling is now home to one of the largest Maitreya Buddha statues in the West. Help us raise $10,000 for his enthronement.
About Maitreya Buddha
Lord Maitreya is the next Buddha of our age, and he is the embodiment of loving kindness. Take a moment to imagine a world without loving kindness (maitri). At a time when this world has degenerated into conflict, when dharma is neither heard nor spoken, Maitreya Buddha is prophesied to come and reinspire an ethical, peaceful life founded on loving kindness and compassion for all beings.
At monasteries in Asia, it is fairly common to be able to view representations of Lord Maitreya. We in the West, however, are less fortunate. For Westerners to see a large statue of Maitreya, seated in regal posture and manifesting the brilliance of such a good heart, is a rare privilege. Maitreya also has great significance in the Tibetan Buddhist tradition, since he is the author of the Uttaratantra Shastra, the classical text on buddha nature that is often considered to bridge the Mahayana and Vajrayana teachings. To hear Maitreya's name, to view a representation of him, and to know his importance, is thus to establish our future connection to the dharma.
Discovering the Statue
While in Nepal in 2011, Dzigar Kongtrul Rinpoche discovered a stunning ten-foot-tall, solid cast bronze Maitreya Buddha. Rinpoche felt a deep longing for this statue to reside at Pema Osel Do Ngak Choling in Vermont, which is considered a Rime center, a place for all Buddhsts to study and practice the dharma. Kongtrul Rinpoche wants this magnificent being to be an anchor for us in the West, to be a place where all can come in the spirit of belonging to one family of humanity, and to illuminate our hearts now and in the future with loving kindness.
The discovery of the statue was in itself highly auspicious. Kongtrul Rinpoche was in the company of Khyentse Yeshe Rinpoche and Neten Chokling Rinpoche. These three teachers are reincarnations of Jamyang Khyentse Wangpo, Jamgon Kongtrul Lodro Thaye, and Chokgyur Lingpa. Collectively known as Khyen-Kong-Chok-Sum, they were the heart of the Rime, or nonsectarian, movement, which did so much to preserve and harmonize all schools of Tibetan Buddhism in the nineteenth century. Orgyen Tobgyal Rinpoche, Kongtrul Rinpoche's eldest brother and a statue expert himself, was also present. Kongtrul Rinpoche said that this “tremendous outing” was “completely orchestrated by the protectors,” and that the statue had been waiting for us.
Buddha Maitreya's Arrival
The Next Phase
The Matreya Buddha’s platform has not yet been constructed. We needed him in Vermont to know what to make and how to handle all the aspirations and other welcoming aspects that Rinpoche will disclose this summer. He will also have ornaments and beautiful brocades, but for now he has taken his seat, where Rinpoche wants him to live.
We have raised $50,000, the final $10,000, is needed to build the platform to hold our aspirations, and to adorn the statue with brocades and jewels of coral, turquoise, and pearls. Your continued support will make this happen. Donate below or send a check to the Maitreya Project Vermont, 322 EASTMAN CROSS ROAD ,VERSHIRE, VERMONT 05079. Together are making this happen. Together we are creating a support for mindfulness and loving kindness in the West that will last for a thousand years.
An Offering of Loving Kindness
Maitreya Buddha's presence at Pema Osel will be a great blessing for North America, and especially for all who come to gaze upon this noble lord, the regent of Shakyamuni Buddha. The statue will be an offering of peace and loving kindness in our world, and a focal point for the aspiration we all share for enlightenment.
You, too, can join in this offering by visiting this web page, or by e-mailing Rebecca Henry and Mary Newton for more information. Here are some additional photos of Maitreya, which can be downloaded to become screensavers when you right click on an image. Also, keep your eye out for a video clip soon to be released about bringing this statue to the West.
Maitreya Project Vermont