Recently, when an initiative to erect a 10-foot Buddha statue at the Ajalcuga Forest Temple in Rangamati district of Bangladesh was raised, there was strong opposition from the local state forces and administration. The district administration imposed 144 prohibitive rules indefinitely and claimed these areas in protected forests were out of bounds for building any kind of settlement. At the same time, there was an attempt at depriving the Buddhists and some indigenous organizations in the Chittagong Hill Tracts of their right to build religious structures on their land.
A new buddha statue in East Idalpur Buddhist Temple. From Dhammainfo
In some other places, however, Buddhists managed to build a giant Buddha statue successfully. For example, a 20-foot Buddha statue in sitting posture, one of the largest Buddha statues in Bangladesh, was unveiled at the East Idalpur Buddhist Temple in Rauzan sub-district of Chittagong on May 11, 2014. Thousands of Buddhist followers from different regions of Bangladesh gathered at the temple to witness the inauguration of the giant Buddha statue. The temple is a historical Buddhist site in Bangladesh of cultural importance and exudes a peaceful atmosphere to practice meditation.
The monks who were invited to the ceremony expressed their happiness and their sincere gratitude and joy at having another Buddhist statue. The inauguration ceremony was presided over by Ven. Buddharakkhit Mahathera, the president of the Sangharaja Bhikkhu Mahamandal (Council), and Ven. Pannalankara, Abbot of the Rajvan Vihara, (invited as the chief guest), and others. Ven. Pannavamsa and Ven. Dr. Jinabodhi, professor of Chittagong University, delivered dharma talks. In their dharma talks, they spoke about the importance of having a Buddha statue.
Ven. Jinabodhi said: “Buddhists in Bangladesh always face oppression and even in some other places the state forces have severely opposed building Buddha statues. For example, while a giant Buddha statue was being erected at the Ajalcuga Forest Temple in the Chittagong Hill Tracts there was strong opposition from state forces. These are obstacles to the propagation of Buddhism in Bangladesh.”
However, the inauguration of this Buddha statue is to be cherished by all Buddhists around the country and should inspire faith in followers reminding them of the importance of Buddha's teachings and the Buddhist heritage in Bangladesh.