The Buddha held that two qualities are rare among humans: Katannuta that is, gratitude and Pubbakarita, which is, initiative to help others without expecting anything in return. These two qualities are the true measure of progress on the path of Dhamma for any person devoted to Dhamma.
Gratitude is more important of the two qualities. Whenever we remember the help given to us by any saintly person we feel gratitude towards him/her, we naturally feel inclined to live up to that ideal and consequently we are inspired to give selfless service towards that ideal. Gratitude and selfless service complement and support each other.
An individual uses words to express himself. A civilization expresses itself in architecture.The Global Vipassana Pagoda is an expression of our gratitude: towards the Buddha, who as the Bodhisatta strived for incalculable aeons to fulfill his paramis (noble qualities) to reach Supreme Enlightenment. Having done so, he taught the Dhamma for the good and benefit of many, out of compassion for all beings.
The Purpose and Value of the Global Pagoda
Some of the various functions and purpose of the pagoda can be listed as follows:
Honouring the Buddha
Following the instructions in the last discourse of the Enlightened One, the genuine Buddha relics are enshrined at the top of a large central hall where about 8,000 Vipassana students can sit and meditate jointly, getting advantage of the powerful vibrations emanating from the relics.
With the genuine relics enshrined, the Pagoda has become a centre of tremendous attraction for the devotees of the Buddha around the world to come and pay their respects to the relics and get the message of Vipassana - the quintessence of the teaching of the Enlightened One that is lost in their countries also. Hence, this magnificent structure will also be a great symbol for creating goodwill amongst countries that have traditionally revered the Buddha.
Correcting Historical Misconceptions
During the past nearly one-and-half to two millennia, the actual historical truth about the life and teachings of the Enlightened One has not only disappeared from the country but a gross misinformation has spread making him a mythological divine figure, completely forgetting his historical human reality. Besides, his rational, scientific teachings were totally misunderstood and became wrongly considered as just another of the many sectarian dogmas and religious tenets. The Pagoda will have an informative gallery exhibiting the actual historical life of the Buddha, and the benefit of the practice of Vipassana derived during his lifetime.
The Pagoda will be a vehicle for the spread of the Buddha’s true teaching that emphatically opposes any sectarian, casteist, religious dogmas. The teaching is already proving to be an ideal bridge for peace, tolerance and harmony across all the communal and regional divides splintering India today. The strongly secular nature of Vipassana is further proved by its acceptance amongst people of all religions, nations, sects and socio-cultural backgrounds.
Vipassana courses are taking root even in some of the staunchly sectarian countries.
Expression of Gratitude
The Global Pagoda is visible proof of the re-awakening of the Buddha's teachings in India, and the acceptance of the teachings around the world. It is an expression of gratitude to Myanmar, the country that preserved Vipassana, the practical essence of the Buddha's Teaching. It embodies our gratitude to U Ba Khin, who enabled each of us today to find the path to liberation.
Vehicle for Promotion of Social Peace, Harmony and Tolerance
Centuries ago, India served humanity at large by distributing the invaluable gift of Vipassana. This proved so very effective and beneficial that people accepted and adopted it wholeheartedly. History now is repeating itself, with the rapid spread of Vipassana to many countries across the six continents. The Vipassana Pagoda will be a central symbol of this spiritual tradition.
Acharya Goenkaji's most fervent Dhamma wish was fulfilled in November 2008 when the construction of the Global Vipassana Pagoda was completed. He hopes that this monument will act as a bridge between different communities, different sects, different countries and different races to make the world a more harmonious and peaceful place.