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…
During this summer’s visit from Trinley Thaye Dorje, His Holiness the 17th Gyalwa Karmapa, Gerard Guinot—the artisan behind the eight copper stupas—delivered two of them: The Reconciliation Stupa and The Parinirvana Stupa. Here is some information ...
From April to October 2018; we began landscaping the area around the stupa with trees and flowers. Course participants and local volunteers of all ages made the most of the good weather, taking part in planting and get their hands dirty—all according to the precise indications given by Jigme Rinpoche, who took on the role of head gardener ...
Volunteers from Dhagpo and others who live close by met up in mid-March to dig and pour the foundations for the eight stupas. They dug four rectangles and then poured concrete into them. In the center of the concrete pad, they left a cube of empty space, which will become ...