A statue of Maitreya Buddha weighing over 5,100 metric tons, one of the largest of its kind in the world, has been inaugurated on the top of Ba Den Mountain, a famous travel destination in the southern Vietnamese province of Tay Ninh.
Most Venerable Thich Niem Thoi, head of the provincial Buddhist Executive Committee, chaired the statue inauguration ceremony on Sunday, with the participation of officials from the government committee for religious affairs, representatives of the Vietnam Buddhist Sangha, officials from the provincial administration, and thousands of Buddhists and visitors from across Vietnam.
Among the world’s largest statues of its kind, the Maitreya Buddha statue was made from 6,688 sandstone pieces and weighs 5,112 metric tons.
|A vast scene of part of southern Vietnam’s Tay Ninh Province is seen from the back of the Maitreya Buddha statue on the peak of Ba Den Mountain. Photo: Chau Tuan / Tuoi Tre
Covering a surface area of 4,651 square meters at an altitude of over 900 meters from the mountain foot, the statue is 36 meters tall and 45 meters wide in maximum.
The statue is in a sitting position, surrounded with a system of fountains, and its front faces east where the sun rises.
The prominent features of the statue are a merciful smile and a big belly, which both demonstrate the typical characteristics of Maitreya Buddha.
During the ceremony, Most Venerable Elder Vien Minh, Deputy Supreme Patriarch of the Patronage Council of the Vietnam Buddhist Sangha, highlighted the significance of the Maitreya Buddha statue.
He underlined that the statue symbolizes qualities such as benevolence, compassion, sympathetic joy, and equanimity.
According to Vien Minh, the Maitreya Buddha is seen as the Buddha of the future, representing the prosperity and well-being of the country's future.
|Travelers take a sightseeing tour of the Maitreya Buddha statue located on the top of Ba Den Mountain in Tay Ninh Province using a cable car system. Photo: Chau Tuan / Tuoi Tre
Vo Duc Trong, deputy chairman of the provincial administration, praised Sun Group, a Da Nang City-based conglomerate and creator of the Maitreya Buddha statue, for contributing to the Tay Ninh tourism sector.
He mentioned that the statue, among the world's largest sandstone statues, has become a new symbol, elevating the stature of Tay Ninh in the realm of tourism.
“We hope that the Maitreya Buddha statue will create a breakthrough for local tourism, turn Tay Ninh – a land with a long-standing historical, cultural, and religious faith tradition – into an interesting pilgrimage destination, attracting more domestic and international visitors,” Trong told the ceremony.
Many solemn Buddhist rituals were held at the inauguration ceremony, while more than 20,000 colored lanterns bearing wishes handwritten by Buddhists and tourists will be lit on the top of the mountain to celebrate the debut of the statue.
|The Maitreya Buddha statue located on the top of Ba Den Mountain in Tay Ninh Province is seen from one side. Photo: Chau Tuan / Tuoi Tre
The statue area boasts a breathtaking landscape, enhanced by a state-of-the-art fountain system and modern lighting technology, creating a spectacular and charming atmosphere.
Following the ceremony, thousands of travelers embarked on sightseeing tours of the statue area, utilizing the cable car system at the Ba Den Mountain Tourist Area.
On Saturday, the Ho Chi Minh City Buddhist Sangha’s charity board and the tourist area management board jointly presented 500 Tet (Lunar New Year) gifts to poor families in communes and wards around the mountain.
|The Maitreya Buddha statue is surrounded by a fountain system that combines with an advanced lighting system to create a spectacular scene. Photo: Chau Tuan / Tuoi Tre