We are happy to report that the stupa is now finished. It is an extremely beautiful and powerfully inspiring sight.
Heartfelt thanks to all those who have helped build the stupa, whether through financial or hands-on support during our many work sessions. The first session was in 2002, making the thousands of mud bricks for the shrine room underneath the stupa.
It’s truly amazing what has been accomplished: a building fourteen metres high overall, with a nine metre-high stupa adorned with superb traditional art work – and built entirely through volunteer work and public donation.
- Addition to the stupa of the eight Auspicious Symbols and the Kalachakra symbols
- Final painting and plastering of the walls and ceiling of the room underneath the stupa and placement there of a large Maitreya Buddha statue, sponsored by Kyabje Thubten Zopa Rinpoche
- Beginning of the art work in the room under the stupa
- Installation of 35 prayer wheels in alcoves of the outer walls of the stupa building and in the stone-built entrance way
- Installation of a beautiful timber handrail on the walkway and stupa safety railings (a hundred metres in length)
- Building of a Padmasambhava (or Guru Rinpoche) statue in the pond in front of the stupa
- Laying of prayer wheel house foundations/footings
- Construction of the decking between the lake and the stupa
- Setting out of the public car and coach parks
- Completion the public ablutions block
- A major clean-up of the stupa site
Again, a million thanks to all who have supported this work financially, or have been part of the work crews.
It has always been the intention to make the Enlightenment Stupa available to the general public when completed – this was one of Lama Zopa Rinpoche’s first instructions. Now the stupa and site are almost ready to be opened to the general public.
Later, further work will be undertaken to fulfil other elements of Lama Zopa Rinpoche’s vision for the stupa, and improving even more the amenities for the public. This includes:
- Completion of a prayer wheel house for a VERY LARGE prayer wheel
- A visitors’ centre, for shelter, lunches and coffees/teas including a bookshop and interpretive display
- Many seats and benches for rest and contemplation
- Stories from the Jataka tales (of the Buddha’s earlier lives) laid out along a winding bush trail near the stupa
- Further landscaping (including a Zen garden by the western wall of the stupa)
- Completion of artwork
- Planting of a Bodhi tree (ficus religiosa)
If you are able to support this work in any way, your assistance will be deeply appreciated – not just by the many De-Tong Ling supporters and management, but by all the sentient beings that will make a connection with the stupa in the hundreds of years to come.
Stupa Update – September 2011
De-Tong Ling Retreat Centre had to cancel the scheduled consecration of the stupa in May 2011 by Kyabje Lama Zopa Rinpoche due to his sudden illness a month earlier.
De-Tong Ling volunteers had, of course, been working very hard since September 2010 to prepare the stupa for Rinpoche to consecrate. It was a powerful motivator and a huge amount of work was done during the six months before May.
Highlights of what has been achieved since September last year…
- The entire stupa was rendered and painted before the scaffold came down
- All the ornamentation – including the flower garland, snow lions (eight of these were cast in special concrete), lotuses (hundreds were cast, painted and fixed), kurtimukhas on the vase, all the jewels, the double vajras, and much, much more was installed (each of the ornaments has a complex story attached to them)
- Lightning conduction was finalised (another complex story)
- The verandah was completed – a major undertaking, requiring much funding and well over a thousand hours of skilled labour during several work sessions
- All the electrics were installed – panels, batteries, regulator, inverters, switchboards, light fittings (inside the room below, flood lights for the stupa, and the light on the Buddha in the recess at the front of the stupa) – a huge job, and completed over several work sessions
- The proper safety railing was installed – many hours of pre-fabrication, then many days’ solid effort to install
- Over 200 glass blocks were laid – these create the light well for the room below
- All the windows and the front door were built, installed and painted
- The inside walls of the room were rendered twice and painted
- The ceiling in the room was suspended, gyprocked and plastered
- Storm water pipe from the verandah roof was laid and buried
- A major clean-up of the site was carried out
What now needs to be done
It has always been the intention to make the stupa available to the general public when completed – indeed, this was one Lama Zopa Rinpoche’s first instructions. To enable this, the following tasks will need to be completed.
- Final completion of the room underneath (initially to a clean shell)
- Build a toilet block
- Car parking – marking out car spaces etc.
- Safety railing banisters
- Upgrading of access paths to wheelchair standards
- Prayer house foundations (see landscape plan)
- Decking (see landscape plan)
Later, further work will be undertaken to fulfil Lama Zopa Rinpoche’s vision for the stupa and improve amenities for the public. Some of these tasks are listed below:
- Prayer wheel house for LARGE prayer wheel
- Prayer wheels in the recesses provided on the outside of the room underneath the Stupa
- Padmasambhava statue in the pond in front of the Stupa
- Artwork, statues, mandalas inside the room underneath the Stupa
- A visitors’ shelter/lunch area/interpretive space
- Many seats, benches
- Further landscaping (including a Zen garden)
- Planting a Bodhi tree
Stupa Update – July 2010
The April work session on the stupa saw us further advanced than we had imagined. The vase was completed and all the contents for filling the vase were consecrated. The vase was then filled. We then continued, under the guidance of Geshe Pema Tsering from Buddha House, to build the harmika (the square shape on top of the vase which signifies entering the Path of Seeing – ie the meditation practitioner’s first, direct, unmistaken perception of the nature of reality); then erect the thirteen rings (symbolising the ten bhumis of a Bodhisattva and the three close mindfulnesses of a Buddha); then the umbrella (the protection of compassion); the moon and sun (the union of conventional and ultimate Bodhicitta) and the jewel on top (the final achievement, Buddhahood). The entire site was cleaned up, the stupa now being an object worthy of veneration; and later the final render coat of the vase was completed.
With the core structure of the stupa built, the focus will switch to completing its external aspects. A statue is to be installed in the recess in the vase facing east, and the ghorkim (the ornamental surround of the recess) fitted. Snow lions are to be placed around the throne; the vase, throne and steps studded with “gems” and lotuses, and all of this painted. Lightning protection and ways of lighting the stupa at night are being devised. Other aspects such as safety railings, public toilets, access, parking and so on will be put into place.
The room under the stupa is yet another story. The next tasks here are to put in the windows and the large front doors, and the four panels of glass blocks above the room which create the light well for the room below. Other tasks include completing the ceiling, laying the floor, and building the outside verandah. The walls inside will depict the twelve deeds of the Buddha, and two-dimensional and three-dimensional mandalas of Chenrezig (or Avolokiteshvara) will also be installed.
Further plans encompass a large prayer wheel house, and other, smaller prayer wheels; further, extensive landscaping, providing many opportunities to rest, view, and contemplate; a Visitor’s Centre; and a larger than life-size statue of Padmasambhava.
Our aim is to offer visitors the blessings and inspiration that such a powerful symbol of peace and enlightenment will bring; and offer them too, the opportunity to rest and reflect, experiencing the potentials for peace they carry within their own minds.