There is a place, amidst the silent infinite, on the blue planet. It lies there in the Southern Hemisphere, on a continent whose shape reminds one of a human heart, or perhaps the leaf of the Bodhi tree. A continent bathed on each side by the two largest oceans, the Atlantic to the East, the Pacific to the West. Divide this continent into four segments so that each part is the same size as the others. Where the vertical and the horizontal intersect to demarcate the quadrants stands a point. This geodesic center is situated at the top of a tableland, right at the edge, unveiling the green immensity of Brazil’s savannah.
In the heart of Brazil stands a hill, intriguingly named “Japan Hill”. This is the name printed on the maps, yet no one knows why. A Buddhist monk, Gustavo Pinto, had an inspired vision to build a 108 metre statue in the side of this escarpement. This statue was inspired by the destruction of the Bamiyan Buddhas in Afghanistan. These statues had stood for two millennia as a testament to the merging of eastern and western culture but were destroyed as an act of religious extremism.
The Buddha in Brazil will be created as a symbol of the absolute , to raise a sense of the divine in people and remind them of the oneness of life. It will be a testament to unity of all people and religions. Around the statue will be a centre of religious studies where young rabbis, sheiks, priests ministers and monks of all religions from all over the world will study together so that differences and occasional divergences give way to points of convergence and the example of brotherly love. The college will promote unity and peace between religions, races and cultures through shared knowledge and understanding.
Yet that is not all. It will also be a reminder of the oneness of life as represented by the planet we all share. The Brazilian Savannah is one of the greatest areas of bio-diversity on the planet. Within the site there are three springs whose waters flow for kilometers before reaching the edge of the property. Rare birds and animals of different species seek shelter in this now protected area. The original vegetation of the savannah has revived and over 3,000 native trees have been planted. The site will includes an eco village and provide controlled access to celebrate the beauty and variety of the planet. This project is called The Land Of Peace, because it will help to awaken the peaceful heart of mankind. The statue of the Buddha will stand as a symbol of that peace, but around this heart will be the body of the eco village and the mind of the ecumenical college. The project aims to inspire the heart, bring understanding and wisdom to the mind and remind us of the beauty of our earthly existence.
The area around Japan Hill has been bought with a generous donation and Gustavo has committed himself to making this project a reality. Now the project is ready to begin.
On March 20th 2005 Gustavo will start 108 days walking around Japan hill performing rituals to energise this project. Here our role is to support the project with love, peace and energy, to use our positive creative ability to assist in its success.
Today a small group of enthused people toils tirelessly to make this dream come true. The Land of Peace appeared in these individuals’ lives as if it were some old, primordial longing that had remained concealed and now being perceived, aroused the same perception in each and all of them.
by Marilia Blackburn