[After that in the same year of 1973 Ven. Master Fuji returned to Japan around the autumn season, say September/October. What an utter disappointment ! A terrible mishap befell on the World Peace Pagoda of Pokhara that had already been built 35 feet tall all against his ambition. The Local Administration arrested the Chief Founder of the World Peace Pagoda, Mr. Min Bahadur Gurung, under the Law of Security and sentenced the latter to a prison term of 18 months in Pokhara Jail from the 4th of Shrawan 2031. Following that his son namely Krishna Bahadur Gurung was too detained on the 26th of Kartik 2031. He got jailed in Lamjung for 6 months and imprisoned elsewhere as well in secrecy all summing up to a period of 1 year. How merciless !]
By Bhikkhu Nichidastu Fuji*
Translated by Amrit Ratna Tuladhar
Translated by Amrit Ratna Tuladhar
|The World Peace Pagoda, Pokhara Nepal. Image Courtesy Pokhara Nepal: A Beautiful Place In The World To Visit|
Venerable Master Fuji from the Great Land of the Rising Sun happened to spend some months in Kathmandu Valley, Banepa, Tansen, etc. performing sentimental prayers and worship rituals in the different monasteries plus lamaseries all for the sake of promoting universal peace. Simultaneously he soon after reported to Pokhara Valley as well where he had a hearty opportunity of meeting Rev. Mother Dharma-Sheela and Mr. Min Bahadur Gurung (Ex-Minister) through Mr. Prem Bahadur Shakya - the Chairman cum Patron of “Nepal Buddhist Society.” Heavily shocked by the sudden demise of his aged beloved mother, Min Bahadur Gurung possessed the sole intention of earning merits in fond memory of and in moral dedication to his deceased maternal parent. It was a firm determination indeed. An active team of three including Ven. Father Fuji, Rev. Mother Dharma-Sheela and Mr. Min Bahadur Gurung then held a meeting of mutual understanding whence they virtually arrived at a fruitful negotiation of establishing a World Peace Pagoda in Pokhara. Min Bahadur Gurung suggested that the pagoda be constructed in Andu Thumko Hill across the Fewa Lake where he owned a personal plot of land property that could willingly be contributed to the noble cause. The proposal was duly sanctioned that ultimately urged the senior monk or the high Lama of Japan to decide laying the technical foundation of the World Peace Pagoda on the 27th of Bhadra 2030 Wednesday. The relevant plan in event got materialized, starting with the preparation of a big prayer hall, and later a guest-house and one separate vihar for the Ven. Guru himself all which saw three housings in general.
A standing artistic statue of large size of Lord Shakya-Muni Buddha meant for the Prayer Hall was brought all the way from Patan, the City of Fine Arts. On the 13th of Mangsir 2030 amidst a sanctified public function led by an interesting musical band, the titanic idol made a complete round of the bazaar before getting installed in the newly constructed Prayer Hall. It was a grand ceremonial procession conducted the formal way.
Funds of cash and kind and labor donation offered by the sincere devotees of Pokhara Valley, Kathmandu Valley and Palpa District enabled the authority to seek a rapid progress of the erection of the World Peace Pagoda. Feeling gladly satisfied then Ven. Master Fuji returned to Kathmandu Valley assigning behind the responsibility of the onward construction of the World Peace Pagoda to the Nepalese authority concerned. On the 6th of August 1973, his 89th Auspicious Birth Anniversary was celebrated with zeal and enthusiasm in the Memorial Hall of Ex-Gorkha Army Association in Pulchowk of Lalitpur. A certain Indian intellectual who also happened to be a chief disciple of Hon. Master Fuji called Upendra Maharathi was too one of the trusted invitees to the jubilant birth anniversary. He has made the following comments on the birth anniversary being put on in Nepal:
“When I along with brother Durga Prasad Sharma were invited to the 89th Birth Anniversary of Ven. Master Fuji in Kathmandu on the 6th of August 1973, I was highly impressed by the paramount respect shown to the Great Japanese Lama by different devotional citizens and residents. I have never witnessed such a superb presentation being initiated elsewhere all my life besides Japan.”
After that in the same year of 1973 Ven. Master Fuji returned to Japan around the autumn season, say September/October. What an utter disappointment ! A terrible mishap befell on the World Peace Pagoda of Pokhara that had already been built 35 feet tall all against his ambition. The Local Administration arrested the Chief Founder of the World Peace Pagoda, Mr. Min Bahadur Gurung, under the Law of Security and sentenced the latter to a prison term of 18 months in Pokhara Jail from the 4th of Shrawan 2031. Following that his son namely Krishna Bahadur Gurung was too detained on the 26th of Kartik 2031. He got jailed in Lamjung for 6 months and imprisoned elsewhere as well in secrecy all summing up to a period of 1 year. How merciless !
The Local Administration dispatched the Royal Gorkha Army up the hill, ordering them to launch an imminent assault on the World Peace Pagoda. Heavily booted soldiers scaled the pagoda, kicked hard and pulled it down the roughest way. They totally dismantled the beautiful Buddhist shrine till the foundation beneath. In other words, it got smashed into minor pieces by the brutal force. The Buddha-Monastery (decked with the glorified Buddha Statue), Prayer Hall and Guest Houses already built long before and already in daily use as well were completely destroyed. Construction materials were looted and dispersed here and there. There wasn’t any need of military action upon the universal peace monument at all which but means top aggression. Trees were cut down against any reforestation policy or afforestation thinking. It was a sinister combat sparked by the obnoxious Hindu fundamentalists indeed.
The Local Administration fostered a wrong interpretation and their remark went beyond any good reason. They blamed the World Peace Pagoda authority for failing to fetch the official consent of the Town Planning Executive Committee towards the subsequent erection of the universal peace monument whilst the basic fact goes: The Town Planning was implemented on the 17th of Mangsir 2030 only prior to which the Buddha-Statue was done building and the construction task of the World Peace Pagoda had solely progressed far in advance in a radical step.
The authentic truth very obviously - “The sovereign power of Brahmanism stood at its zenith in Nepal !”
Had the Local Administration the real intention of not granting the authority the rightful permission of creating the World Peace Pagoda, the former ought to have stopped the feasible movement of the Prayer Hall in a sharp manner at the time concerned than lag behind. Setting an instant attack at an area where 3 houses had been finished proves to be a helpless situation rather. This is a point to be seriously taken not only by the Buddhists but by the intellectual Hindus as well. There incurrs an absolute want of deep contemplation.
After the dawn of democracy (the ultimate fall of the Panchayat Regime), happiness fills our bosoms when we come to hear of the re-construction of the World Peace Pagoda in Andu Thumko Hill of Pokhara that was cruelly destroyed 18 years ago. Not only are all the Buddhists but the entire civil humanitarians (particularly the Hindu intelligentia) also are delighted much to witness the project. The removal of the World Peace Pagoda that was erected in the birth-land of Siddhartha Goutam Buddha in the name of Lord Shakya-Muni Buddha has left the Buddhists along with their witty Nepalese counterparts broken hearted. Unnecessary doubts, fear and suspicions have crept on the minds of many. There existed a sheer loss of common faith in the talk of religious tolerance and equality. The pitiful incident became a national distress which also brought global disturbance making headlines in prominent international journals.
On the other hand, it would be too foolish on our part to guess that the destruction of the World Peace Pagoda has hampered the Buddhist Philosophy alone. It has in time diminished the religious importance of Pokhara, has blocked the rapid development of a particular region, has left many behind jobless and unemployed. A poor impression got drastically cast in the scene of international affairs while the national property has been badly misused.
At present with the generous cooperation and full effort of all Dharma comrades following the aftermath of the People’s Revolution, His Majesty’s Government gave a ministerial decision on the re-establishment of the World Peace Pagoda. The plan of second time was resolved officially on the 8th of Ashwin 2048 the invaluable outcome or the effective feedback of which saw the Right Honorable Prime Minister Girija Prasad Koirala laying the auspicious foundation on the 7th of Jestha 2049 and the task of re-construction then commencing spontaneously. The “World Peace Pagoda Re-Construction Committee, Pokhara” wishes to tender a most humble appeal to all national, international Buddha Dharma friends, donors, development oriented individuals and progress loving residents to pay strict attention on extending all the needed moral support towards the punctual accomplishment of the World Peace Pagoda that had been a common heritage of priority of all the Buddhists and Nepalese. It is a matter of fortunate pride for us all to be able to lay our decent hearts on the pious deed with a combined commitment of mobility, will and wealth. The ardent responsibility of the finalization on the construction of the World Peace Pagoda and worship rituals in Pokhara.
* This article was written by Bhikkhu Nichidastu Fuji (6th August 1885 – 6th August 1985) A Renowned Figure of the Buddhist Land & A World Peace Marcher In Special Reference to Pokhara and translated into English by Amrit Ratna Tuladhar.