The Light of Asia Foundation takes a strong stand to continue construction of Sakya Kingdom

The Light of Asia Foundation takes a strong stand to continue construction of Sakya Kingdom Sakya Kingdom, dedicated to promote the vision of Buddhism globally and planned to be the largest temple of wellness and Buddhist communication centre in Asia is situated in Kahapola, Piliyandala.

Launched with the blessing of the Ministry of Buddhasasana, the Light of Asia Foundation has stated its continued dedication in completing the construction of the kingdom as planned.

The “Sakya Kingdom” project was conceptualised as a joint venture between the Ministry of Buddhasasana and the Light of Asia Foundation in March 2017, with the accordance of receiving 75 acres of land donated for this blessed project by the Government of Sri Lanka.

The Responsibility of the entire funding, management and marketing of the complex is borne by the Light of Asia Foundation.

The Foundation has garnered much prominence in their passionate commitment to communicate the vision and virtues of Buddhism globally through the promotion of the highly acclaimed award winning film, “Siddhartha the Buddha” and their subsequent work with the National Film Corporation in organising the International “Vesak” Buddhist Film Festival (IVBFF) in celebration of Vesak.

The first phase of the project was launched in 2017 with His Excellency the President of Sri Lanka and the main donor Dr. Walter Jayasinghe, a well-known Sri Lankan-American physician, visionary and philanthropist in Los Angeles whose main focus was to promote the beauty of Sri Lankan culture internationally.

At the time of the launch work was already underway in completing the Lotus Pond, Lumbini Park and Ramya Palace for which Dr.

Jayasinghe along with the Light of Asia Foundation jointly contributed approximately fifty million rupeesfor the construction work. By doing so, the Light of Asia Foundation established their responsibility of funding and managing the “Sakya Kingdom” by signing the deed and legal contract with the Ministry of Buddhasasana on 12th July in 2017.

Even though the project has been established, the media was recently informed by two ministers that other plans were being drawn up for these lands. However, it has been recognised by the secretary of the Ministry of Buddhasasana, that the lands donated to the government by the late Mr. Samarakoon, was given on the condition that these lands be used to promote Buddhism, and the agreement between the Ministry and the Light of Asia Foundation is aligned with this in creating the largest Buddhist communications centre in Asia, the “Sakya Kingdom”.

As such, the Foundation is ready with the backing of international funds to continue overseeing this project to its completion. Commenting on this, Mr. Navin Goonerathne, foundation chairman stated,” Due to certain disagreements with the Ministry of Buddhasasana and other involved ministries, we have had to hold development work on the kingdom in November 2017. As it took months to reach reconciliation, our main international donor was discouraged.

Dr. Walter Jayasinghe had previously reached agreement with a  Korean investor to fund five million dollars to the construction of 10 international training centres to be built with the “Sakya Kingdom”. Similarly, we had several interested donors from Vietnam, Thailand and Japan who had visited the location and been impressed with the plans, ready to invest in 2017. With all this in place, on 15th December 2018, we laid the foundation stone for the Buddhist Communication Centre which is to house 10 Buddhist television channels. However, right after this we were requested to immediately hold all work by the Ministry of Buddhasasana, as they stated that they were seeking further advise from the Attorney General regarding the project plans. Hence, we had to inform the international Buddhist community that due to the increasing difficulties, we were unable to complete the work on the kingdom as planned.”

The “Sakya Kingdom” is specially designed to replicate the historical backdrop of the birth place of Prince Siddhartha and the palaces of Ramya, Suramya, Suba and Sakya, where he spent his first 29 years, along with Nalanda University, which now houses modern technology, Buddhist communication centre, library, Conservation unit of Buddhist artefacts, Paintings and precious carvings of that time period, cinema library, eastern medical centre, mind wellness school, meditation gardens and centre. The above plans were developed with the blessings and guidance of Buddhist monks, internationally acclaimed archaeologists, architectural design experts and engineers who are passionate about promoting the Buddhist culture to the world.

Dr. Basanta Bidari, the Chief Archaeologist from Nepal who worked over three decades at Kapilavatthu, Lumbini Development Park, was the project’s chief advisor along with Professor Nimal de Silva, director for the Centre for Heritage and Cultural Studies and director of the Postgraduate Institute of Archaeology in Sri Lanka. The Chairman of 1:2:4 Designs, Mr. Navin Goonerathne and prominent Architect Mr. Roshan Chandrarathne also played an important role in providing their expert knowledge and guidance.