Excitement on India-China frontier over female Buddha statue

June 14th, 2008 - 2:07 pm ICT by IANS  

Itanagar, June 14 (IANS) There is a lot of excitement in Arunachal Pradesh’s border region with China as work has begun to erect an 80-feet statue of the White Tara or the female Buddha on the dizzy heights of a peak that overlooks Tibet and Bhutan. “We have begun work to install the statue on top of the Lumla peak in Tawang district. The project will develop the area and attract pilgrims and tourists,” T.G. Rinpoche, a Buddhist leader who is also a legislator in the Arunachal Pradesh assembly, told IANS.

The White Tara, associated with Tibetan Buddhism, is a female Buddha known for long life, compassion, healing and serenity.

“Our people in Tawang and elsewhere in the state are very happy with our efforts. The White Tara after all is regarded by our people as the goddess of prosperity,” said Rinpoche, one of the architects of the project.

The project will include prayer halls, a museum, a library and accommodation for visitors. The base of the statue will have 1,000 petalled lotuses.

The project in Tawang district — which the Chinese claim as their territory and is regarded as an integral part of India by New Delhi — is estimated to cost Rs.50 million.

Tara is a deity whose worship is used by practitioners of the Tibetan branch of Vajrayana Buddhism to develop certain inner qualities and understand outer, inner and secret teachings about compassion and emptiness.

In Japan she is known as Tarani Bosatsu, but she is said to be virtually unknown in China.

India has embarked on a massive infrastructure development programme in Arunachal Pradesh, including around Tawang, an important seat of Buddhism perched at an altitude of 11,115 feet.

Tawang has been in the news with frequent claims by Beijing that it is part of China. India rejects the claim.

India and China fought a 42-day border war around the Tawang heights in 1962.

India has been contesting Beijing’s rule over 38,000 sq km (15,000 square miles) of barren and uninhabited land on the Tibetan plateau, which China seized from India during the 1962 war.

China, on the other hand, is pushing ahead with its claim on 90,000 sq km of territory ruled by India in the eastern part of the border, mostly in Arunachal Pradesh.

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