PRINCETON, NEW JERSEY-An inaugural meeting was held last week to raise $2.0 million towards the final phase of the New Jersey Buddhist Vihara and Meditation Centre Project, located in a 9-acre wooded property in Princeton, New Jersey.
The first phase completed in 2009 was the construction of the largest Samadhi Buddha Statue in the Western Hemisphere. Located only 10 minutes from Princeton University and 45 minutes from New York city, this spectacular illuminated statue has attracted people of all faiths to the temple.
The growing interest in meditation, and the requirements of the growing Buddhist community have necessitated the construction of a new building which will contain a large prayer and meditation hall, the Col. Olcott library, Dhamma school, conference room, living quarters for the clergy, and a meditation trail through the woods.
While sufficient funds ($150,000) have already been raised for the engineering/architectural design and approvals of the project, an additional $2.0 million is required for the construction phase. Currently, the final designs are being completed, and all approvals are expected by the spring of 2012. Significant cost savings have been achieved to date, as most of the professional work is being conducted by a group of Sri Lankan engineers and architects from all faiths who are volunteering their services for the project.
This project is being conducted under the auspices of Ven. Hungampola Sirirathana Nayaka Thera, Chief Incumbent of the New Jersey Buddhist Vihara, who was instrumental in implementing the first Phase of the Project.
The Chairman of the fund- raising committee Dr. Wije Kottachchi has been involved with the temple since its inception and was responsible for the statue of Col. Henry Olcott within the temple premises. The engineering and approvals for the temple project are being handled by Vajira Gunawardana, while the building architectural design is being done by Nalin Thebuwanage.
Dr. Kottachchi has appealed to Sri Lankans overseas to contribute towards the project. "We will be appealing in due course to the government for assistance, he said, pointing out that they did receive government funding for the construction of the Buddha statue.
A website is being set up for global fundraising and other major events are being planned by the committee. Further information can be obtained at www.njbv.org.