We have completed the construction of the Shrine at the Sri Lankan High Commission in Nairobi and were able to dedicate it on the 6th of May as part of our Vesak Day program.
In January of 2012 our new High Commissioner Hon. T. Raveenthiran and Deputy High Commissioner Sampath Mantrinayake came to Nairobi Temple and asked my opinion of how to build a shrine for a large marble Buddha statue sent to Nairobi by the Sri Lankan President. The statue that weighs 1.3 tons was not easy to move around and the government had provided no funds to install the statue in an appropriate shrine.
After the initial discussion I visited the High Commission and saw the statue. It was a very beautiful marble statue. I decided to build an appropriate shine for the Buddha statue and provide funds for the total cost of the project. We also chose an appropriate place under a beautiful tree right at the entrance of the High Commission.
But I had no sponsor to pay for the building yet. I shared my intention with Mr. Dawda who is the Chairman of Manji biscuits and the main supporter of the temple in Nairobi these days. With great enthusiasm and excitement, without any hesitation he told me “Do not worry Bhanteji, I will take care of that. This is a rare opportunity and I will pay the total cost of this project”.
That was great news and I was happy as well. We discussed the plans and with the help of Yash, who is the personal assistant to Mr. Dawda, we contacted an architect and within a few days the designs were completed. We met the contractor and handed over the plans. He promised to start the construction work immediately. It was the rainy season and I wanted to dedicate the shine as part of our Vesak program, which is a perfect moment to do such a noble need.
May 6th was the Vesak full moon day of May, the holiest day of all Buddhists around the world. At 7pm faithful devotees and well-wishers gathered at the High Commission ground and shared the joy of this historic moment as I declared open the shrine as a public Buddhist shrine.
In spite of many challenges we completed the work on time, well?. almost completed on time for Vesak. Mr. Dawda’s determination, the hard work of Mr. Yash and the contractor’s commitment, the cooperation and the assistance of the High Commissioner T. Raveenthiran and Deputy High Commissioner Sampath Mantrinayake all played an important part for the successful completion of the shrine and the beautiful opening ceremony.
I am grateful to everybody who was part of this noble project and share my blessings. May you all be blessed with good health and inner peace.