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Visit of Master Sculptor Wen Kwei Chan to Nagaloka

The Walking Buddha at Nagaloka was only installed in December 2009, but already has become known throughout the Buddhist world in India, and among many Buddhists abroad. Soon after Nagaloka began to develop in the late 1990’s we felt we should have an image of the Buddha at the centre of the campus. The question was, how should we see the Buddha? We could only think of Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar saying that he liked to see the Buddha walking. It had to be a walking Buddha for us. However we could not conceive of raising the enormous funds that would entail. In 2005 the famous sculptor from Taiwan, Master Wen Kwei Chan, visited Nagaloka and responded immediately to Dr. Babsaheb Ambedkar’s great vision of social transformation through the Dhamma. There and then he committed himself to creating a Walking Buddha for us, and along with Ven Kuang Shin, with whom he came, raising the necessary funds.

The Walking Buddha was inaugurated on 13th December 2009, but due to ill health, master Wen Kwei Chan could not attend. He planned to come out later on another occasion but again had to postpone it due to ill health. This time he was able to come and see for the first time the wonderful Walking Buddha in place in the centre of Nagaloka campus. However because his time in Nagpur was very limited, we could not have the large programme we would like to have done to appreciate him, but there was a civic reception and award presentation in the Buddha Surya Hall at Nagaloka, attended by the Mayor, Shri Anil Sole. He expressed his gratefulness to Master Wen Kwei Chan for creating such a beautiful huge image of the Buddha which has harnessed the splendor of Nagpur City (after its inauguration in 2009 it could people’s attention so much that it immediately became a symbol of Nagpur City). He also acknowledged the immense contribution of Nagaloka by striving to help all in spreading peace and amity through training of mind. The Mayor presented Master Wen Kwei Chan with a memento, citation and shawl, and said that he was especially pleased to be doing this on the 150th anniversary of the founding of Nagpur City.

In his response Master Wen Kwei Chan said that though he has created Buddha statues throughout China, Taiwan, Japan and United States, this Walking Buddha meant most to him, despite the enormous difficulties in creating it. Although a lot of money had to be raised for the materials for making the statue, it was really created by loving kindness and fraternity. He said that he is a family member of all present and a  follower of Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar, and now hopes to visit Nagpur more often. He hoped the Walking Buddha would give inspiration to the followers of Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar in their peaceful struggle to change themselves and society through the teachings of the Buddha.

Nagaloka also took the opportunity to present Master Wen Kwei Chan with a citation and shawl on the occasion.

Citation: Namo Buddhaya, Namo Dhammaya, Namo Sanghaya

The Buddha has brought light to the lives of countless millions of people throughout history, bringing an end to their suffering. The Buddha’s light has been communicated not only through the spoken and written word but also through great art. Great statues and paintings of the Buddha and the Bodhisattvas inspire millions to tread the path of the Buddha Dhamma. Your creations make you one of the pearls of this great lineage of Buddhist artists, since the time of the Buddha, which has included such Bodhisattvas as the musician, Ashwaghosha, and the poet, Matrceta, who devoted their lives to communicating the Buddha Dhamma through their art.

You visited our Pure Land, Nagaloka, in 2005. Here all the differences between people such as caste, race and nation, dissolve just as the differences between the rivers disappear once they become part of the mighty ocean. Here all are trying to cultivate the Paramitas, empowering themselves though the Dhamma so that they can help to end the suffering of the world.

As soon as you arrived here you were deeply moved by Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar’s great vision of transforming the lives of millions of the poorest and most discriminated in the world through the Buddha Dhamma, bringing back Buddhism to the land of its birth and re-generating it throughout the world.  As soon as you heard of Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar’s favourite image of the Buddha walking out in compassion to end the suffering of the world, you there and then dedicated yourself not only to creating such a statue, but to help raise the necessary funds.

What you have created in the Walking Buddha has surpassed anything we could have imagined; its sublime expression of compassionate action is beyond description. It fully embodies the spirit of Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar’s peaceful Dhamma revolution, and the Buddha’s most basic teaching, Bahujan Hitaya, Bahujan Sukhaya, to go out and teach for the welfare and happiness of the many. It has become a symbol for both.

The presence of the Walking Buddha has brought a sense of completeness and fulfilment to our Nagaloka campus, and inspires all of us who live, study and work here to practice the Buddha Dhamma more completely for the sake of all beings.  Many thousands have worshipped at the feet of the Walking Buddha since it was installed here in December 2009, and they leave with their faith in the Buddha strengthened and their commitment to Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar’s peaceful Dhamma revolution revitalised.

From all of us at Nagaloka, as well as of all those thousands who have worshipped here, and the millions who will worship here, whose hearts have been and will be touched by the Walking Buddha, we offer you this citation as a token of our unbounded gratitude for this most precious of gifts, this unique, magnificent, and incomparable contribution to the revival of Buddhism, not only in India but throughout the world.