News at Tipitaka Network
Ashoka Pillar now stands tall in Australia
IANS, Friday, November 21, 2008
It has been hailed as historic. A five-metre-high Ashoka Pillar now stands at a monastery located midway between Sydney and Canberra, in a celebration of the spread of Buddhism from India to Australia.
Believed to be the first in Australia, the Ashoka Pillar has been installed at the Sunnataram Forest Monastery in the verdant surroundings of Southern Highlands.
"This is a truly historic event. The Ashoka Pillar, whose Lion Capitol is the national emblem of India, symbolises the global relevance of the principles of truth, non-violence, tolerance and compassion," Sujan R. Chinoy, consul general of India in Sydney, said.
"Emperor Ashoka fostered democratic rule and it is a privilege to dedicate the Ashoka Pillar at a Buddhist monastery in a fellow democracy such as Australia."
The pillar stands on a pagoda next to a topographical world map showing the spread of Buddhism - one of the fastest growing religions in Australia.
Facing the breathtaking views of the mountainous Kangaroo Valley on one side and the vast expanse of the ocean on the other, the Sunnataram Forest Monastery attracts hundreds of people of all nationalities, especially on weekends, for meditation, relaxation and healing.
It was during a pilgrimage to India last year that the head monk of the monastery, Phra Mana Viriyarampo, decided to construct an Ashoka Pillar in Australia.
The monastery is dotted with carved sandstone "Life of the Buddha" panels, copied from the Sanchi Stupa in India, on display in the garden and under trees.
The Ashoka Pillar has been hand-carved by artists in Thailand and the sandstone supporting base has been constructed by monks and volunteers of the monastery.
"This is to express our gratitude to Emperor Ashoka for his foresight in preserving and spreading the teachings of the Buddha to different parts of the world. It has made it possible for us to practise the teachings of the Buddha in Australia today," says Kim McSweeney, secretary of the monastery.
He is also chairperson of the Gratitude Pagoda Project, which includes the world map and a museum.
"The world map will be expanded to depict the life of the Buddha and how his teachings have been adopted and adapted in many cultures, influencing the way of life and art in those countries," McSweeney said.
According to the 2006 census, there were 418,755 Buddhists comprising 8.9% of the total population. Between 1996 and 2001, the number of people affiliated with Buddhism increased by 79%, reflecting the growth in migrants from India and other parts of Asia.
About a thousand people, including Indians, Sri Lankan, Thai, Laotian, Vietnamese, Cambodian, Chinese, Singaporean, Malaysian, Burmese and Australians, attended the weekend installation ceremony.
Buddhist News Features:
Wednesday, May 10, 2017 Vesak Extra!
Saturday, May 21, 2016 Vesak Extra!
Monday, June 1, 2015 Vesak Extra!
Pakistan unveils 1,700-year-old sleeping Buddha
‘Buddha’s remains’ are found in ceramic box buried by ancient monks
People who talk about ancient Indian tradition don`t often understand it
National Geographic and 360i launch first-ever voice powered meditation app, designed specifically for veterans
International conference on Buddhism and Science concludes in New Delhi
Billionaires vow to become charity fund-raisers
The Buddhist monk with an MBA
‘Walk With Me’ celebrates mindfulness
Buddhist meditation center opened in Redmond
Maylands temple donates Encyclopaedia of Buddhist Art to Art Gallery of WA
Buddhist author to teach free English-Language meditation workshop in Phuket
Sanskrit getting popular among foreign students
Smithsonian opens “Encountering the Buddha,” an exhibition of Buddhist art and practice
Tripitaka Koreana festival showcases Buddhist scriptures, archival culture
Jon Kabat-Zinn: ‘People are losing their minds. That is what we need to wake up to’
Dive into the Buddhist cosmos at the Metropolitan Museum of Art
Insight meditation and the art of wise effort
California Buddhists look ahead in wake of devastating wildfires
Five millennia of Indian science
Cast away, they find peace at Buddha’s feet
Namo Tassa Bhagavato Arahato Sammāsambuddhassa.
Buddha sāsana.m cira.m ti.t.thatu.