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The truth behind Sakya Janapadaya

04 Feb 2020 - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}      

The Light of Asia Foundation which proposed the concept of Sakya Kingdom (Sakya Janapadaya) at Piliyandala commented on the current state of affairs of the project in response to the article published on last Monday’s Metro Page titled “Sakya Janapadaya”, a colossal waste of money.   
The following is the statement issued by the Light of Asia Foundation:  
“Having brought global recognition to the award-winning cinematic classic “Siddhartha The Buddha” as the Best Buddhist Movie at the International Film Festival held in Vietnam, the Light of Asia Foundation continued its mission to explore the journey of a unique Prince with its associates - Chief Archaeologist Basanta Bidari of Nepal, Prof. Nimal de Silva and the team of Architects at 1:2:4 Designs.  
The concept of recreating the Sakya Kingdom where Prince Siddhartha lived over 2,600 years back and bring to life his spiritual journey to end human suffering was proposed by the Light of Asia Foundation and discussed with A Sri Lankan philanthropist in Los Angeles- Dr Walter Jayasinghe in 2016.  
The Minister of Justice and Buddhasasana at the time Dr Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe requested that the project be started in Sri Lanka in celebration of the United Nations Vesak in 2017 and an agreement made between the Ministry of Buddhasasana and the Light of Asia Foundation on terms indicated to the Cabinet with the incorporation of the Sakya Kingdom Trust of Sri Lanka, a joint venture between the two institutions.  
Funding made available by the Principal Donor- Dr Walter Jayasinghe and the Light of Asia Foundation and its associates of over Rs. 50 million made it possible to have a preliminary Opening Ceremony for the Vesak Event in May 2017 within four months of groundbreaking on the 75-acre land gifted by Mudliyar Samarakone for a Buddhist project in Piliyandala.  
During the UN Vesak Celebrations, a Korean Donor agreed to provide for the Academies proposed to spread the pristine Dhamma through Audio-Visual presentations with a commitment of US$ 5 million and foundations for its construction laid on the 15th June 2017.  
However, when the Buddhasasana Minister left the Cabinet soon after, part of the land was requested for Housing by the Ministry of Megapolis. The illegal request took almost a year to be resolved when the former Minister rejoined the Cabinet.  
During this period, when several Donors who had lined up for projects had lost confidence, the Buddhist TV Channels were invited to locate part or all of their operations at the Sakya Kingdom to unify and spread the Dhamma to the world. Accordingly, foundations for the Buddhist TV stations were laid on the 15th December 2018.  
Buddhasasana Minister at the time referred the projects to be implemented for clarification to the Attorney General’s Department and work stalled from February 2019. Unfortunately. no clear answer has been given up to date.  
With no construction allowed, the Light of Asia Foundation kept the project alive by planting trees in partnership with the Girl Guide Association and several Lions Clubs.  
While awaiting the New Government to restart the project, twice unduly delayed beyond our control, at the beginning of the New Year, a Meditation- Healing event was held at the request of the World Spiritual Charity Foundation with the approval of the Ministry of Buddhasasana, which was attended by over 30,000 with encouraging results of cure to many foreigners and thousands of locals who participated in the event.  
Light of Asia Foundation is in readiness to re-launch the Sakya Kingdom project with the Prime Minister who is the Minister of Buddhasasana as well, to make Sri Lanka the Centre of radiating the Dhamma to the world.  
It is disturbing to note that moves are being made to have a Private Zoo, when;  
The land was gifted for a Buddhist project.  
The agreement was signed on the 12th July 2017 between the Ministry of Buddhasasana and the Light of Asia Foundation to incorporate the Sakya Kingdom Trust of Sri Lanka on a Master Plan for which funds were to be generated by the Light of Asia Foundation and its Associates and well-wishers.  
Light of Asia Foundation and the Principal Donor- Dr Walter Jayasinghe of Los Angeles have spent almost Rs. 60 million on the stalled project up to date,” Navin Gooneratne, Chairman of Light of Asia Foundation said.