A Garden for MeditationThe Calm at the Heart of Change
The Meditation Garden is a project to develop the natural area behind the Institute. This space offers a calm outside space that lends itself to meditation practice.
In addition to the great stupa of Shamar Rinpoche that has now been completed, the garden welcomes various new spaces: eight stupas, a large prayer wheel, and a circumambulation path connecting all of Dhagpo’s stupas.
The Eight Stupas
In the tradition of Tibetan Buddhism, there are eight specific forms that commemorate important moments in the life of Buddha Shakyamuni. One finds a specific form of stupa for each event marking the Buddha’s life, from his birth to his death, including his attainment of enlightenment. The amount of elements involved and the manner of assembly vary from one type to another.
- The Lotus Blossom Stupa celebrates the Buddha’s birth in Lumbini park.
- The Conquest of Mara or Enlightenment Stupa commemorates his enlightenment in Bodhgaya.
- The Stupa of Turning the Wheel of Dharma recalls his first teaching following enlightenment in Sarnath’s Deer Park.
- The Stupa of Descent from Tushita Heaven celebrates his return among humans on Mount Sankashya following a stay in the divine realms where the Buddha went to give teachings to his mother.
- The Reconciliation Stupa recalls the end of the schism at Rajgir.
- 6. The Great Miracle Stupa commemorates how the Buddha overcame mistaken masters of philosophy in Shravasti.
- The All-Victorious Stupa celebrates victory over death at Vaishali.
- The Parinirvana Stupa recalls the Buddha’s death in Kushinagar.
The eight stupas are fabricated in copper finished with gold leaf, according to tradition. They were created by Gérard Guinot, an artisan in connection with Dhagpo who is also responsible for the statues of the Institute and the small temple. Each stupa will be roughly 1.7 meters (5 ft., 7 in.) high. They will be placed on granite blocks in pairs. A pavilion-style roof will protect them from the elements.
The Prayer Wheels
In an open pavilion overhanging Shamar Rinpoche’s stupa and the eight stupas, there will be a manual prayer wheel engraved with Kalachakra’s mantra. There will be a sitting area available for meditation, turning the prayer wheel, or contemplation close by Lama Purtsela’s house.
A Path for Circumambulation
There will be a path connecting all of Dhagpo’s stupas. It will begin with the enlightenment stupa, in front of the Institute, and move toward Shamar Rinpoche’s stupa and the eight stupas; then it will pass by the Prayer Wheel pavilion and continue alongside the prayer flags to return toward the Institute’s esplanade.
Notes from the Road
Follow the progress of the project…
Just before Dhagpo, like the rest of France, entered into a new lockdown, we were fortunate to receive the large prayer wheel that will stand in the pavilion of the meditation garden. Here is its story that stretches across Europe and two communities striving to...
Planting for the Meditation Garden began in mid-September. Close to one thousand plants of over forty different varieties will adorn the natural area behind the Institute. In some zones of the garden, newly seeded grass is already beginning to sprout. Albizia...
In Astamahasthanacaitya-stotras, the Indian master Nagarjuna associates the eight stupas with the four principle pilgrimage sites—the Buddha’s birth in Lumbini, his enlightenment in Bodh Gaya, his first teaching in Sarnath, and his death in Kushinagar—and four...