Ground was broken this week for the creation of the World Peace Stupa at Crystal Castle. A stupa is a sacred monument built by Tibetan Buddhists to represent universal divinity. Intricate and beautiful, every part of the design is endowed with special significance. Inside is a treasury filled with sacred objects and at the heart of the structure is the Tree of Life, a wooden pole covered with thousands of mantras written in gold.
The World Peace Stupa is a Kalachakra stupa, a rare type with an unusual spherical body. Created to protect against negative energies using symbolism from the Kalachakra Tantra it restores balance to the Earth in times of war, conflict and environmental destruction. It will be the first of its kind to be
constructed in the southern hemisphere and only the 7th in the world.
“This Stupa is very important for Byron Bay, the whole of Australia and for world peace.” says Gen Lama Thupten Phuntsok, the Gyuto Monk Elder who is guiding its construction. Blessed by His Holiness the Dalai Lama (as well as the Byron Shire Council who have approved its DA), the structure has been engineered to last a thousand years. The project is being managed by local Alok Eggenberger of ExpanDesign and built by local Chris Brown of Domeshells Australia.
Since May last year, Nepalese craftsmen have been hand beating the 54 brass prayer wheels that will surround the stupa. Over the past six months, at the Gyuto Monastery in India, monks have been chanting mantras and hand rolling an incredible half a ton of prayers destined for the monument.
Involvement of the local community is an essential part of creating a stupa as this is one of the sources of its power. The whole project is now estimated to cost around $200,000. The Crystal Castle has already committed substantial support to the project as has the local community. The next $30,000 raised will be matched by both locals Christopher and Lynda Dean and also the Crystal Castle thus growing it to $90,000.
Four Byron Shire residents, Robert Dhiraj, Sarvo, Gagan Smith and Melonie Zyla, have just returned from a grueling 21 day expedition to Tibet. They crossed a 5,000 metre pass before trekking around Mount Kailash to collect sacred water for inclusion in the stupa’s treasury. Mt Kailash is the most
revered mountain for a number of faiths including Tibetan Buddhism and it is considered highly auspicious to have water from its snows.
The Gyuto Monks will be returning to Crystal Castle from 13th – 21st August to continue preparations and there will be more opportunities for people to be involved. The emphasis will be on painting and writing mantras on the Tree of Life. The tree to be used for the Tree of Life was found, blessed and felled in a dawn ceremony in May during the monks’ previous visit. The much maligned camphor laurel was chosen for its durability, strength and long lasting protective scent qualities ideal for its purpose in the stupa. The monks will also be accepting relevant items to be placed in the stupa treasury.
“What an incredible community effort so far. After nearly two years of planning the World Peace Stupa project is now really underway” said Crystal Castle’s Managing Dreamer Naren King.
For details of how you can be involved visit www.crystalcastle.com.au/peace-project/