“I'd like to update you on a wonderful project that has been happening at our retreat centre Vimaladhatu (in Germany) over the last 18 months. You might remember that we are building a Stupa that will contain a portion of Dhardo Rimpoche's relics. He was one of Sangharakshita's eight principle teachers and we're delighted to be able to remember him in this way. It's an ambitious project and has - as those things do in Triratna - continuously grown in size while evolving. It's happening simultaneously in three locations - England, Essen and Vimaladhatu itself...
“Rupadarshin - the creator of the Stupas in Padmaloka, Tiratanaloka and Windhorse - is our most wonderful stone-mason who has been working away in a Buddhafield-style tent-workshop in his garden in Devon/England. The stone he's working on comes from a quarry near Vimaladhatu - Bhante had recommended that we build the Stupa from local stone. This Anröchter Stone has proved very hard and tricky to work. It contains a lot of fossils that look beautiful but have caused Rupadarshin some stress as they make the stone pretty unpredictable.
“At present Rupadarshin is working on the very last stone, the conical top section representing the element fire. It's a labour of love and Rupadarshin is incredibly generous (he's working on a basic support level) and devoted to the project. It's been a joy remaining in contact with him throughout the year via email and following the developments in Devon through the photos he keeps posting on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/album.php?id=644543669&aid=67312 . I have only met him once but feel quite a connection can build up through sharing in a common project of devotion.
“Meanwhile in Vimaladhatu Bodhimitra has been working wonders. In order to create a dignified setting for the Stupa we embarked on a major landscaping venture. The wonderful Sanghadeva came over from Madhyamaloka twice to help us create a vision for this land in cooperation with Amritavacha who finalized the plans and the Essen centre-team who were invited to formulate their dreams in the first place. Vimaladhatu lies on a steep hillside in the woods and the lower part of our land had been unused, overgrown with a slightly sombre feel to it. Now the land has been terraced and partly cleared which creates wide views into the valley and a sense of space and openness. Two diggers spent a week moving great quantities of earth and solid rock last August. Since then Bodhimitra (who lives at Vimaladhatu) and helpers from the Sangha have transformed the hillside into something stunningly different - a sacred space.
“In Essen (2 hours drive from Vimaladhatu) the Sangha has been following the creation of the Stupa and its sacred space attentively. Vimaladhatu belongs to the Essen Sangha and it looks like almost the full costs of the Stupa will be covered by donations from the Sangha. It's inspiring to let energies and funds (crystallized energy) flow freely towards an object of devotion - creating a symbol of Awakening that will last for generations after us...
“Claudia Krüger, a Mitra, created a beautiful full-size Light Stupa for Essen to keep the project present in everybody's minds. Rupadarshin commented that he had seen such things made from bamboo/willow and rice paper before - but never one welded in metal and covered with fabric. We celebrated full-moon Pujas around this Light Stupa in the Centre courtyard in Essen under the starlit sky when it was still warm enough which I found very moving indeed.
“Meanwhile most of the Stupa-stones have arrived in Vimaladhatu and the Stupa has been built up to the water-element-section. This is how it will remain until the inauguration ceremony on 22. May, when Dhardo’s relics will be placed in the relic chamber and then the last stone topped by Chintamani’s beautiful finial will be put in place.
"Take a look at our photos of the project at vimaladhatu.de or visit our Vimaladhatu group on Facebook!