Mahabodhi Temple in Bodh Gaya, India, one of the most sacred Buddhist
sites in the world, will soon by illuminated by a state-of-the art LED
lighting system by the end of this year, with funding for the
extraordinary initiative offered by Siddhartha’s Intent India with
support from Khyentse Foundation and Vana Foundation. The new lighting
system is designed to illuminate every part of the temple in accordance
with the highest safety and quality standards to ensure a long-lasting
and sustainable solution.
project, called “Lighting the Mahabodhi,” is one of the largest and
most ambitious light-offering initiatives in Buddhist history. According
to the Bhutanese newspaper Kuensel, Dzongsar Khyentse
Rinpoche, founder of Khyentse Foundation, who initiated the lighting
project, came up with the idea in 2015, and in 2017 the proposal was
approved by the Bodh Gaya Temple Management Committee and the Gaya
District Magistrate. The total cost of project is around US$1.4 million,
with more than 30 per cent of the budget allocated since the project
there is one thing in the world that resembles our minds, it is light,”
said Dzongsar Khyentse Rinpoche. “As Buddhists in the Rime tradition,
our aim is to illuminate our minds free from judgment, prejudice, or
pride. And so, it is to symbolize that realization and to appreciate the
Buddha’s infinite compassion and skillful means in guiding us toward
it, that we are now offering light at the very place of the Buddha’s
Mahabodhi Temple, one of the most spiritual destinations for Buddhists
pilgrims, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site marking the place where the
Buddha is said to have attained enlightenment. Beside the temple, there
are seven other sacred sites in Bodh Gaya, including the descendent of
the original Bodhi tree.
atmosphere created by the Mahabodhi Temple is so potent it’s as if you
fall into a trance,” explained Dzongsar Khyentse Rinpoche. “Here you’ll
find the vajra seat (vajra asana, also known as the Diamond
Seat) where, after many years of searching for the truth and six
excruciating years of penance by the banks of the Niranjana River,
Siddhartha finally discovered the Middle Path and achieved enlightenment
under the Bodhi tree. (Khyentse Foundation)
have passed since the Buddha attained enlightenment at this spot, and
the temple has weathered many eras of both resplendence and shocking
neglect. In this present era, the temple has been upgraded, is well
tended to, and in comparatively excellent shape,” said the president of
Siddhartha’s Intent India, Prashant Varma, in a press release on 31 May.
“Lighting the Mahabodhi is building upon this support to update the
lighting in a way that will last for generations to come. (Khyentse
a lighting design company from Bangkok, Thailand, is providing the
design offering free of charge as an offering of devotion. The overall
lighting system will include high-end LED technology, as well as
software to control and automate the myriad of high-efficiency, low-heat
LED bulbs and fixtures.
According to the Khyentse Foundation, the lighting project will incorporate:
• Automated lights that are durable, energy efficient, and ecologically friendly, with minimal light pollution.
• Top technical quality lighting with systematised controls.
• Synchronized with the lunar cycles, and adaptable to the many special rituals and needs of the Mahabodhi Temple.
• Light fittings and fixtures able to withstand changing seasonal and weather conditions.
• Safe and easy operation and maintenance.
“We hope to have part of phase one—the core of the temple lighting—ready by the end of this year,” noted Varma. “We shall then steadily work toward completing all other areas of the temple complex, other than the Sarovar Lake and the new Meditation Park, by the end of 2020.” (Kuensel)