President Ram Nath Kovind will take part in the Global Vipassana Foundation's 'The Gratitude Day' at the Global Vipassana Pagoda, which comprises the world's largest stone dome built without any supporting pillars at Borivali here on January 14.
The Pagoda was constructed by legendary Vipassana proponent and teacher, (the now late) Guru S.N. Goenka, and inaugurated in February 2009 by then President Pratibha Patil.
'The Gratitude Day' marks the 46th death anniversary of Goenka's teacher, Sayagyi U Ba Khin, the first Accountant-General of Burma and a leading authority on Vipassana meditation, in whose memory the Pagoda was built on the banks of Arabian Sea, near the picturesque fishing village of Gorai.
It is also the second death anniversary of Goenka's wife, Mata Elaichi Devi Goenka, who played a paramount role along with her husband in establishing the Vipassana meditation technique in India and teaching it.
On this occasion, Kovind will lay the foundation stone for the GVF's second Vipassana Meditation Centre, Dhammalaya 2, near the Pagoda.
The first Dhammalaya is functioning in Kolhapur, Maharashtra since October 1995, according to the present GVF Chairman Nayan Shah.
Besides the President, Maharashtra Governor C. V. Rao, Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis and Union Culture Minister Mahesh Sharma and other dignitaries will also be present.
Prior to the foundation stone laying ceremony, an Anapana Meditation, or the observation of the natural breath coming in and going out will be held for the gathering.
The GVF Pagoda construction started in 1997 and finally completed in 2009, comprising of the main dome and three sub-domes.
At the centre is the world's largest stone dome built without any supporting pillars, 29 metres tall, while the total height of the building is 96.12 metres, or twice the height of previously largest hollow stone monument in the world, the Gol Gumbaz Dome in Bijapur.
This dome in the Pagoda enshrines bone relics of Lord Gautama Buddha, sourced from Guntur district of Andhra Pradesh, and donated to the GVF by the Mahabodhi Society of India and Prime Minister of Sri Lanka.
The other two domes, along with an auxiliary dome adjoining the second dome, sit atop the first main dome.
The main dome's external diameter is 97.46 metres and the internal diameter is 85.15 metres, and the interior serves as a massive meditation hall spread over 6,000 sq. metres, with a capacity of over 8000 people who can simultaneously meditate.
Guru Goenka - who passed away in 2013 at the age of 89 - had conducted an inaugural daylong meditation course at the Pagoda on December 21, 2008, before its formal inauguration two months later.
The Vipassana meditation, as taught by Goenka, is now taught and practiced in over 160 centres in 60 countries worldwide.
The aim of the Pagoda complex is to express gratitude to Lord Buddha for dispensing a universal teaching for the eradication of sufferings, reveal the truth about his life and his teachings, and offer free Vipassana meditation courses to the people.
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