- This Issue
- Mandala eZine December 2011
- Mandala eZine August 2011
- Mandala eZine May 2011
- Mandala eZine February 2011
- Mandala eZine December 2010
- Mandala eZine August 2010
- Mandala eZine May 2010
- Mandala eZine February 2010
- Mandala eZine December 2009
- Mandala eZine August 2009
- Mandala eZine May 2009
- Mandala eZine February 2009
- Mandala eZine December 2008
Posts Tagged "holy objects"
There are 20 results found
On April 6, students of Land of Medicine Buddha in Soquel, California launched a 24-hour “Wheelathon” fundraiser for the construction of a four-story replica of the Mahabodhi Stupa on their property. The original Mahabodhi Stupa in Bodhgaya, India, marks to the site where Buddha achieved enlightenment.
At least 25 people, including nuns and monks, took shifts spinning Land of Medicine Buddha’s large prayer wheel with the goal of raising US$1,000 an hour. Community members were invited to help spin the wheel as well as recite prayers and mantras. The Great Prayer Wheel contains over 170 billion mantras and millions of Buddhist texts printed on microfiche. Students prepared a promotional video to encourage community members to participate:
Over 193 sponsors offered or pledged more than US$35,000 by the end of the event, a huge step forward for the estimated US$815,000 project. Lama Zopa Rinpoche has already personally pledged US$50,000 in support of the immense undertaking.
The Mahabodhi Stupa at Land of Medicine Buddha will not only help to preserve pan-Buddhist culture and serve as an educational site, but will also be designed to honor people such as His Holiness the Dalai Lama, Mother Theresa, Martin Luther King, Jr., Thich Nhat Hanh and others who have tirelessly promoted world peace.
The ground blessing ceremony for the new stupa with Geshe Ngawang Dakpa, resident geshe of Tse Chen Ling in San Francisco, and a group of Gyuto monks is scheduled for April 25.
Visit Land of Medicine Buddha online to learn more about the planned Mahabodhi Stupa and its current campaign.
Mandala brings you news of Lama Zopa Rinpoche and of activities, teachings and events from over 160 FPMT centers, projects and services around the globe. If you like what you read on Mandala, consider becoming a Friend of FPMT, which supports our work.
By Ven. Shravasti Dhammika
During Buddhism’s period of glory, the Indian state of Bihar was literally dotted with stupas. Some marked places where events in the Buddha’s life had occurred; others, at important monasteries or population centers, enshrined relics of the Buddha or of famous saints. While a few are remarkably well preserved, most are little more than grassy mounds, many with Hindu temples on top. Traveling through Bihar I located the remains of at least forty stupas although there could easily be two or three times more than that. Here are the stories of five of the more interesting and accessible ones.
Lauriya Nandangar: The small market town of Lauriya Nandangar in the far north of Bihar is situated on what was once the main pilgrims’ road from Pataliputra (now Patna), the capital of King Ashoka’s empire, to Lumbini, the birth place of the Buddha. Ashoka marked all the important stops on the way with large stone pillars – the one at Lauriya Nandangar is the only one that stands in its original position, still unbroken and crowned with its capital. Behind the local sugar mill, one and a half kilometers from the pillar, lie the ruins of perhaps the biggest stupa ever built in India. Rising in a series of round, square and polygonal terraces, it is now only 24 meters high, but it has a circumference measuring nearly 457 meters. A small stupa was found deep inside, next to a page of Buddhist scripture dating from the fourth century C.E. Why was Lauriya Nandangar graced by both a pillar and such an enormous stupa? As with so many Buddhist sites, all records have been lost and we are left with a mystery. …
By Ven. Sarah Thresher
Lama Zopa Rinpoche has been staying at Root Institute in Bodhgaya, India, where he has been engaged in nonstop virtuous activities. Ven. Sarah Thresher was with Rinpoche in Bodhgaya and shares this report.
Rinpoche designed and commissioned an altar for the rooftop of his house at Root Institute. Not just one small altar filled with pictures, statues of buddhas, water bowl offerings and light offerings, but a series of altars that stretch the width of the rooftop. Rinpoche wanted people to see this new altar to get some ideas and inspiration. Holy objects are incredibly precious and if we don’t make full use of them, we are wasting our good fortune.
This is where Rinpoche does prostrations facing towards the Mahabodhi Stupa. Rinpoche does not always need assistance to do full length prostrations, but he has replaced the wooden prostration board with a mattress just in case.
UPDATE: Root Institute director Ven. Thubten Labdron wrote to Mandala that “Rinpoche said this altar is not just for Rinpoche. Anyone can come and do their prostration ngöndro on the roof (when Rinpoche is not in residence).”
You can read more from Ven. Sarah Thresher on Rinpoche’s activites in Bodhgaya online.
Learn more about Lama Zopa Rinpoche, spiritual director of the Foundation for the Preservation of Mahayana Tradition (FPMT), and Rinpoche’s vision for a better world. Sign up to receive news and updates.
THE HOLY OBJECTS OF FPMT
All photos courtesy of Pamtingpa Center
On a smaller scale than the Maitreya Projects and the Great Stupa of Universal Compassion, dozens of FPMT centers, projects and services have built or are in the process of creating their own stupas, often representing a true community effort. Each one of these stupas brings FPMT closer to realizing Lama Zopa Rinpoche’s wish to build 100,000 stupas around the world. (To learn more, visit the FPMT Stupa Fund page.)
Pamtingpa Center, a small center located in Tonasket, Washington, US, shared with Mandala their story of building a stupa, demonstrating that even when resources seem limited, it is possible to do it. You can read their story online. Here are photos of their progress over the last year. (Click photos to enlarge.)
For more on stupas, visit FPMT Education Services “Stupas: A Resource Guide” and see Lama Zopa Rinpoche’s recently published translation of “Padmasambhava’s Instruction on Offerings to Stupas.”
By Ven. Robina Courtin and Kate Macdonald
Most people reading this magazine, especially if we’re involved in Dharma centers, are literally surrounded by holy objects: photographs of our lamas, paintings of buddhas, holy words on prayer flags, stupas on our altar. How lucky we are! With every glance we are inspired and reminded of our potential – and effortlessly create inconceivable merit.
As Lama Zopa Rinpoche says, “An incredible amount of merit is created just by seeing a Buddha image. Normally it would take eons to create so much merit.”
People practicing in prison understand this too. But in such institutions, where restrictions on what an inmate can possess are severe and poverty is pervasive, even the smallest item is so hard to come by. The things that the unincarcerated don’t give a second thought to, the incarcerated treasure beyond belief. At Liberation Prison Project we are so moved by their reports: A copy of one of Lama Yeshe’s books was “worn thin” from having been read by scores of people; just seeing Lama’s face on the cover of a book “saved my life;” a book retrieved from the trash in the chaplain’s office helped someone climb out of despair. …
“The moment holy objects such as statues of Buddha are completed on a rock, painted on paper with a brush and colors, taken with a camera, or printed on paper from the negative with chemicals, etc., the moment a holy object materializes, it becomes a field of merit, like a field of crops, for sentient beings.” – Lama Zopa Rinpoche
Objects become “holy” when they contain the presence of a buddha’s holy body, holy speech or holy mind. There are several ways in which to engage with holy objects. You can make offerings, prostrations and circumambulate the holy objects that already exist, you can create holy objects that become future sources of blessings and pilgrimage to others, and you can also help sponsor a holy object initiative with volunteer time, money or prayers. Holy objects can even be used to benefit animals! Although animals may have a difficult time with making offerings, you can always help them to circumambulate; give them a nice gentle bonk on the head with your stupas, statues and tsa-tsas; or recite mantras for them.
All of these activities, when in relation to a holy object, become incredibly powerful acts of virtue. …
By Lama Zopa Rinpoche
Every time you look at holy objects – pictures of the Buddha, statues, scriptures, stupas – they plant the seed of liberation and enlightenment in your mental continuum. So every time you look at them they purify your mind. How? When you look at them they plant a seed or positive imprint on your mental continuum so that later when you meet Buddhadharma, either in this life or in future lives, you are able to understand the words and the meaning of the teachings. From that, you are able to practice the meaning of the Dharma you have understood, which causes you to cease the gross and subtle defilements by actualizing the path and then your mental continuum becomes omniscient mind. This is what is meant when we say that by seeing holy objects it plants the seed of enlightenment on the mind – it contains the whole path from guru devotion and the three principles up to the two stages of tantra and enlightenment.
Every time we see holy objects it purifies so much negative karma, so many defilements. This is because of the power of the holy object. It’s like an atomic bomb – even though it is small it can bring so much harm and cause so much destruction. That example is negative but what I am saying is that the material has power, like electricity. The material of an atomic bomb has the power to harm and destroy the world. The material of holy objects – statues, scriptures and stupas – has the power to affect our mind, to leave a positive imprint.
There are five paths to achieve enlightenment and the first is the Mahayana path of merit. Within that are three levels: small, middle and great. As soon as your mind achieves the great level of the path of merit then wherever you are, whether you are in a holy place or in the toilet, anywhere, you see numberless buddhas around you. Numberless buddhas are always there but we just don’t see them because our minds are so obscured. When you reach that level you will actually see uncountable buddhas in nirmanakaya aspect wherever you are. Then, when you reach the right seeing path, you become an arya being and you can see numberless buddhas in sambhogakaya aspect. This explains the quotation that “even if you look at a drawing of Buddha done on a stone wall out of anger it causes [one] to see ten million buddhas.” …
Holy objects have been central to Lama Yeshe and Lama Zopa Rinpoche’s work since their early days teaching Westerners at Kopan Monastery, established by the lamas as the Nepal Mahayana Gompa Center in Kathmandu Valley, Nepal, in 1969.
The main building was constructed in 1971-2.
Lama Yeshe’s friend, Jampa Trinley (father of Yangsi Rinpoche, Ven. Tsen-la, et al.), donated three statues for the gompa: Lama Tsongkahapa and his two disciples, Khedrub Je and Gyaltsab Je. The walls of the meditation hall were modestly adorned with a few thangka images of deities, and a framed photo of His
Holiness the Dalai Lama.
When the first meditation course was given there in 1971, it was attended by about twenty Western students. By the time of the seventh course, held in the autumn of 1974, interest was so great that attendance had to be restricted to 200 eager students, the limit of the local facilities. By 1975, twelve centers had been established, nine of them outside of India and Nepal. Lama Yeshe identified a need for “an organization to keep this together.” And thus, the Foundation for the Preservation of the Mahayana Tradition (FPMT) became an official organization in 1975.
Lama Yeshe and Lama Zopa Rinpoche firmly established FPMT’s relationship with holy objects in
1976 when the first statue of FPMT, a substantive three-foot (one-meter) tall Tara statue, was obtained and brought to life at Kopan Monastery. …
THE HOLY OBJECTS OF FPMT
By Su Ianniello, Pamtingpa Center spiritual program coordinator
Pamtingpa Center is a small FPMT center in Tonasket a small town in north central Washington state in the Unites States. The high desert is hot in summer, cold in winter, with vast, open landscapes. Pamtingpa Center has land on which our first plan was to build a gompa. A few years ago, Lama Zopa Rinpoche came to the land. As we were all leaving, Rinpoche turned and looked out over the mountains and said, “A stupa here.” That’s how our stupa building project began.
Then Yangsi Rinpoche came to visit us. We asked Rinpoche to locate the spot for the stupa. When we were on the land, Rinpoche slowly, calmly took a walk, and lingered in one area for a while. This was the spot. Then he led us in a beautiful ceremony at the new stupa site.
We were still trying to figure out how complete the project two years later. When Lama Zopa Rinpoche came back to town, he told us to build the gompa first, giving us some funds to begin this new project. However, a few weeks after Rinpoche left, we got a message to go back to the stupa project, using the funds for the gompa. These were some good lessons in flexibility.
At this point, we were determined to make it happen. Ven. Yarphel [John Jackson] was back from retreat in India and New Zealand and willing to show us how to build a stupa. He quickly became project manager with Gary Davis, Bruce Corrigan and Reed Engel assisting. Both Gary and Bruce are involved in Native American practices. Bruce said the reason he wanted to take part was because he saw the stupa as something that would help heal the planet.
Getting to Work
Drawing plans and making many lists were some of the first things we did. One of the concerns was funding. With Lama Zopa Rinpoche’s generosity, we were well on the way, but how many yard sales and Christmas bazaars would it take to build a stupa? Someone said, “Don’t worry, just make up your minds to do it and the funds will come.” And they did! Amaaazing. One person’s mother passed away and left an inheritance. The timing was fortunate for the project. Others put in what they could. We also had a matching fund drive which encouraged people to donate in the moment we needed it most. Things were falling into place.
When the day to break ground arrived in early spring 2013, Ven. Yarphel and Gary followed directions to determine the exact place to begin digging, referring to the three stupa books produced by FPMT Education Services which were enormously beneficial throughout the whole process. Then Ven. René Feusi came down the hill and led the earth blessing ceremony. At the conclusion, we dug the first level of earth.
The ingredients to fill the three chambers of the stupa made up one of our many list. We circulated this list, and people chose the items that they would be responsible for. As we were collecting these items, we realized the need for a place to store them. Keith Kladnik allowed us to fill up his new shop, which delayed his moving into it.
Thanks to Ani Fran at Kopan Monastery and her patience, we were able to get the gorkhim (the big frame on the front of the stupa), lotus and rings, many of the rolled mantras, and incense from Nepal.
There were many other mantras to roll so we had a mantra rolling weekend at a nearby lake. The fog rolled in and clung to the lake, misty and cold. Walter Wipfli came from Bend, Oregon, to help. We hugged the fireplace and rolled into the night.
Almost every weekend, from spring, through summer and into fall of 2013, we had a work party. Sometimes there’d be one or two people, and sometimes a dozen.
A typical work party began with Ven. Yarphel coming over and loading the generator with Gary. Bruce would already be up at the site doing some prep, and Reed would meander in and work hard. Cars would drive the bumpy road with clanging dishes, steaming pots, ice chests and thermoses, delivering an essential ingredient: food. This may seem like a minor aspect of the project, but it wasn’t. A well-fed crew was fundamental in keeping the energy going.
Since there’s no water on the land, we’d pump it up the steep hill from Julia Sanderson’s place into a tank. Then the water would be gravity fed to the site.
Concrete was mixed in a mixer that was powered by Gary’s tractor. We used the tractor’s front-end loader to hoist the concrete to the stupa and pour it into the wooden forms. Sometimes when the tractor wouldn’t reach, we used buckets. Ven. Yarphel was directing from the top. His diligent effort was inspiring.
Harry Sutton came and worked hard. One time, on the last cement pour of the day, he pulled the lever to empty the concrete into the bathtub. All the concrete went into the tub, and then the concrete mixer broke off the tractor and rolled downhill. It was good timing as we finished the concrete work just as winter arrived.
When it was time to fill the upper chamber, we were not sure where to place some of the mantras. Ven. Chosang chimed in just in time. We took pictures of the mantras and she sent them to Ven. Tsering. He told us what mantras they were and where they should go.
A key to the progression of the project was not taking some weekends off. We saw that if there were a few focused people, willing to do whatever it took, then progress happened. It was delightful and hard work.
The Life Tree
When we were wondering where to find the center pole for the stupa, a fragrant life tree, Pamtingpa student Life Has Meaning, happily offered a cedar tree from her land, two hours north of Tonasket. She and Bill were so generous, giving the tree, the truck and finding a place for us to stay. We found the tree in one day, made offerings and prayers. Sleeping under the open sky, we were to watch our dreams that night. The sky was clear and spacious. In the morning we all talked about our experiences of the night and decided to cut the tree. We made more offerings and the tree was cut with a bow saw. We cleaned off the tree’s limbs, which were dried and some being used as incense for filling the chambers of the stupa. In spring 2014, once the tree has dried, it will be cut square down its sides and many mantras will be drawn on it.
Decorations, gorkhim, rings and painting will be added to the stupa in the spring and summer to bring the project to completion.
Besides the regular crew, we were fortunate to have the help of many. Big thanks to everyone who joined in, we are grateful.
For more photos from the stupa building work parties, see Photo Gallery: Pamtingpa Center Builds a High Desert Stupa.
For more on Pamtingpa Center, visit their website.
Su Ianniello is a student of Lama Zopa Rinpoche and Yangsi Rinpoche and serves as spiritual program coordinator for Pamtingpa Center. She lives in Tonasket, Washington, and has a valid base to be merely labeled environmentally minded.
THE HOLY OBJECTS OF FPMT
By Francesca Sala
In May 1996, in a small town in the Sahara, Morocco, famous American director Martin Scorsese and his Italian crew began to make a film – Kundun – about the life of His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama.
With shooting in India and Tibet out of question, Scorsese and his production team decided that Morocco would be where they recreated the landscapes of the Tibetan plateau. When they arrived in the town of Ouarzazate, there were only two small hotels, a main street and plenty of dusty, unfinished houses. With this raw material, they created movie sets to represent where His Holiness was born and grew up.
In 1999, the large statue of Chenrezig that had been created by Dante Ferretti, the film’s Italian production designer, to help recreate the Potala Palace was brought to Italy to be part of an installation in Milan at Rotonda della Besana named “Tibet: Art and Spirituality.” The installation occurred during His Holiness’ visit to the country as part of the celebration of the 10th anniversary of his winning the Nobel Peace Prize.
By 2012, the statue had made its way to Istituto Lama Tzong Khapa (ILTK) in Pomaia, Italy, and was displayed in the main square to awestruck residents. The giant sculpture, almost eight meters (26 feet) high, had lost some of its initial splendor as its last months in the Atlas Studio in Morocco had damaged its brittle polystyrene body. However, the extraordinary potential of the statue was clear from the beginning.
Last summer, we began a restoration project to prepare the statue for permanent display as a holy object. The ILTK restoration team decided to cover the statue with resins and fiberglass, an experimental technique not usually employed in sculpture, but rather for building boat hulls. In this way, the hope is that it will withstand the sun, wind and rain for many years. As a part of the work on this sacred symbol of perfect compassion, the polystyrene hands and steel core are being reshaped; damage is being repaired; clothing, jewelry and the iconic deer skin are being cast anew.
ILTK’s hope is that in June His Holiness will have the opportunity to bless the statue during his visit to the center.
You can find more information on the Chenrezig statue project on Facebook.
Participate in the restoration: http://www.iltk.org/it/progetto-cenresig-partecipa-al-restauro
Subscribe to our Feed
1632 SE 11th Avenue
Portland, OR 97214-4702
Office Telephone: (503) 808-1588
Toll free [US only]: (866) 808-3302
Fax: (503) 232-0557
About Mandala Publications
Mandala Publications is the official publication of the Foundation for the Preservation of the Mahayana Tradition (FPMT), an international charitable organization founded by two Tibetan Buddhist masters, Lama Thubten Yeshe (1935-1984) and Lama Thubten Zopa Rinpoche. FPMT is a vibrant international community, with a network of 160 affiliate centers, projects and services, and members in more than 30 countries.
Mandala print magazine is published in January, April, July and October. Mandala is available via the Friends of FPMT program.