World Peace Pagoda

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Congratulations, You have reached the World Peace Stupa area. As you enter the main gate, you are officially inside the area of the Stupa. As you approach the stairs and look towards the left, you can see Nipponzan Myohoji Bihar. Nipponzan Myohoji is a Japanese new religious movement and activist group founded by Nichidatsu Fujii in 1917. Within Bihar, you can find statues of lord Buddha and Bodhisattva. The way to the peace stupa is full of beautiful white Himalayan peaks such as Annapurna, Machhapuchchhre, Dhaulagiri, etc. along with a small green garden.

As you go further ahead and look towards the left, you can see Fewa Lake. On the right side, you can see Siddhartha Highway and attractive green mountains. To reach the main courtyard, you have to follow the stairs and go straight towards the path between the garden. On the left side of the courtyard, you can see the statue of Nipponzan Myohoji made up of statue. Within the courtyard, there is a statue of Min Bahadur Gurung who was one of the founders of the World Peace Stupa. As you continue towards the straight path, you can see a huge white stupa with a total of 50 stairs. Among those 50 stairs, the first 38 stairs represent Uttam Mangal, and the rest of the 12 represent Pratitya Samutpadh. 

The circumference of the stupa is 344 feet and the height is 115 feet. There are also circumambulation paths that are circulating around the Peace Stupa. You can circulate around the peace stupa and it will take 108 steps from the top level. Similarly, it will take 216 steps from the second level. The people who want to circulate outside the stupa structure or third level should double their steps. The circular path also called as ‘Pradakshina Path’ can be circled and the four buddhas that symbolize four different abodes or dhams are placed in four distinct directions. There are four different statues representing four different dhams placed in the stupa. On the southern side of the stupa, there is the birthstone of Gautam Buddha which symbolizes the birthplace of Lumbini. It is made up of Dhalot in Nepal by Nepalese people. On the western side, there is a statue of Buddha from Sri Lanka which is depicted in a meditative state. On the front side, a huge statue made in Japan is depicted in the ‘Dharmachakra Prawartan’ state. There is a golden toran in the statue. On the eastern side, there is a six feet long statue from Thailand that is depicted in the ‘Mahaparinirvan’ state. 

Just above the statues, the stupa is semicircular in shape. It is also called Garbha, Garbhagriha, or dome. It is one of the most important parts of the stupa and even in the Ashoka period, this part of the stupa was installed with great care and importance. In the same part of the Stupa, ‘Astidhatu’ and other materials used by Buddha are also included in the dome in order to provide vitality to it. Just above the sanctum sanctorum, there are four golden dharma chakras. These chakras provide the message that even though there is sorrow in the world, meditation and worship of ‘Dharma’ can remove this sorrow. Just above this section, there is Harmika, a golden part in a stupa with eight corners. The eight corners of Harmika make us aware of the eightfold paths of the Buddha. The pure and rare ‘Astidhatu’ of Lord Buddha is also treasured inside the Harmika which was provided by his Holiness Rajguru Somdev Yana Sambhar of Thailand. The placement and treasuring of Astidhatu in Stupas, Chaitya, and Bihars are characteristic of the Buddhist Religion. It is believed that the presence of Astidhatu makes us aware of its existence and presence which adds to the liveliness of the place. 

Just above the Harmika, there is a pinnacle with a height of 20 feet. This 13-storeyed pinnace symbolizes the 13 universes in the Buddhist religion. It is made up of gold and golden pieces of jewelry received from Nepali people which adds to the significance of the place. On the topmost part of the stupa, above the pinnacle, there is a blue Crystal stone connected to it which is received from Sri Lanka. The blue color of the Crystal stone symbolizes wisdom and compassion. It inspires to keep the mind clean, and pure and directs the way for the benefits of nirvana. 

World Peace Stupa has a long and hopeful story of its own. Its ideation and its creation can be traced back to Nichidatsu Fujii, founder of Nipponzan Myohoji which made the World Peace Stupa of Nepal. Nichidatsu Fujii was inspired to make these World Peace Stupa in different parts of the world in order to spread the message of peace. Marking the huge destruction of human lives and the effects of war, Nichidatsu Fujii wanted to promote peace and harmony in the world. On the first visit to Nepal on Dec. 19, 1972, Fujii Guruji met King Birendra and explained the importance of building stupas in Nepal. Further, on July 7, 1973, Fujii Guruji met Anagarika Dharmashila and Former Deputy Minister Min Bahadur Gurung at the ceremony at Pokhara. Inspired by the teachings of Buddha and Fujii Guruji’s passion for spreading world peace, Min Bahadur Gurung decided to offer his land for making a pagoda. Fujii Guruji laid the foundation stone of the World Peace Pagoda by laying the sacred relics of Lord Buddha on Pokhara, on 12th September 1973 AD. 

However, when the world Peace Pagoda, still under construction then, had reached the height of 35 feet, the structure was forcibly destroyed by the government on 31 July 1974 AD. When leaving Nepal, Fujii Guruji said, “This time I could not make Pagoda but I have already planted pagoda seeds in the Nepali people’s minds”. That seed after almost 40-50 years grew up and materialized into a pagoda. The first signs of the prophecy becoming fulfilled were seen after almost 18 years. On 21 May 1992, Honorable Prime Minister Girija Prasad Koirala himself re-laid the foundation stone of the World Peace Pagoda in Pokhara. After this, the construction work continued without any obstacles. The structure was completed by the assistant of the local people and the incessant endeavor of Ven. Morioka. As an inaugural ceremony, the Consecration Worship was conducted in the presence of Former Prime Minister Koirala on 30 October 1999 AD. 

 References:

World Peace Pagoda, Pokhara 

Tilak Man Gubhaju, Pokhara’s World Peace Stupa: An introduction

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