The spiritual leader of FPMT, Kyabje Lama Zopa Rinpoche, saw long ago the role a major stupa could play on Kangaroo Island – a major national and international tourist destination. Although the core purpose of the Retreat Centre was to provide facilities for long-term retreat, he was clear that it should provide benefit as widely as possible, rather than just to long-term retreaters; especially as visitors to the stupa are able to be well away from retreaters. De-Tong Ling is a big property, around 1300 acres/430 hectares.
The foundations for the stupa were poured on 19 March 2003 – within half an hour of the time bombs and rockets began raining down on Baghdad to signal the start of the Second Gulf War. It was also World Harmony Day.
The stupa itself is nine metres high and rests on a platform five metres above the ground. Underneath the stupa is a ten-metre square room made of massive mud-brick walls. It is planned to fill the room with statues and 2-D and 3-D mandalas of Chenrezig as well as to paint the walls with the 12 Deeds of the Buddha.
The stupa has been built entirely with volunteer labour and donated funds. Every year since 2003, there have been two “work retreats” of one to two weeks’ duration, and in this way it has slowly but steadily arisen. Hundreds of people have physically worked on the stupa and hundreds more have made donations. Each one of the 8,000 mud bricks was probably handled by at least ten different volunteers before they went into the walls. It was a joyous and wonderful project with which to be involved.
The environment around the stupa is stunning. It is situated next to a large man-made lake surrounded by natural, untouched bushland with long views out to the islands of Investigator Strait and to the mainland beyond. We hope that it will become a restful and inspiring place for many thousands of visitors in the decades to come.
The land of De-Tong Ling (“Bliss-Emptiness Place”) has already been blessed by the lamas and the many retreaters who have come here. The Enlightenment Stupa will transform the environment even more.
Found in all Buddhist countries, stupas are the archetypal symbol of the enlightened mind. Even just seeing a stupa brings immense benefit — incredible purification, incredible merit, and incredible blessing. Stupas transcend the limitations of language to plant the seeds of enlightenment and peace in the minds of all who see them, human or animal, Buddhist or non-Buddhist.
“There is a need in the world to develop compassion and a warm heart. Building stupas helps develop so much peace and happiness for numberless sentient beings. As a result, wars, disease, and desire will all be pacified. Instead of feeling hopeless, people will gain courage. This is about peace – for the beings that see it, for the whole country, for the entire world, for all sentient beings” Lama Zopa Rinpoche
Benefits of Holy Objects such as Stupas
“We talk about good luck and success, and we use feng shui and many other methods to have them. Some people don’t believe in or use feng shui or those other methods but they have their own understanding of how to make their life successful. They may think, “If I study this, I will be successful in my job”.
However, if you don’t have good karma, if you don’t have merit, you can’t even find a good doctor that can cure your sickness. Or even if you find a good doctor, they won’t be able to cure your disease if you don’t have merit. Even if you use feng shui, it won’t work if you don’t have merit because feng shui is only an external arrangement. Feng shui alone won’t work. You first have to have the merit, the good karma.
It is the same with the spiritual path. If you don’t have merit, you can’t find the right virtuous friend to reveal Dharma to you, to show you the path to happiness, to liberation and enlightenment. The very first thing is to find someone who can show you the path to happiness and not the path to suffering. For this to happen you need merit, because without merit you can’t meet an unmistaken guru who can reveal the right path.
Having these holy objects such as Stupas makes life so easy; they make it easy to collect merit (positive energy/potential) and to create the cause of any happiness, any success. You can create all the good luck, all good fortune you want. By just seeing holy objects such as Stupas you collect unbelievable merit, purify your mind and plant seeds of enlightenment.”
Kyabje Lama Zopa Rinpoche.
For a more extensive explanation of the benefits of Holy Objects please see this teaching from Kyabje Lama Zopa Rinpoche.