RIGPA'S STUPA PROJECT

A Dedication to all living beings, that they may awaken to their true inner nature and discover the lasting peace and happiness that is beyond all suffering.

– UPDATE 7 May 2024 –

Everyone in Lerab Ling is super excited to welcome the new Stupa. It will arrive in no less than 6 large trucks coming all the way from Portugal where the granite has been precision-cut, polished, and made ready. The delivery date has been set for 29 May.

In the following days, a huge crane will carefully position the segments of the first two layers of the Stupa—some of them weighing as much as 7 tons—so that they are perfectly aligned and stacked. This process will be guided by Lama Wangchen from lndia (the fully trained and trusted assistant of Tulku Rigdzin Pema), as well as a highly experienced construction expert who has built Stupas in France and across the world. You will also see many familiar faces of our past and current Site Team helping out.

In August, under the exacting guidance of Tulku Rigdzin Pema, our monastic community will start placing numerous precious vases and other sacred substances in the base of the Stupa, as prescribed in the texts. This will be immediately followed by assembling and filling the remaining levels of the Stupa, currently scheduled to take place during the Dzogchen retreat and Parinirvana celebrations.

Once the Stupa has been completed, Tulku Rigdzin Pema Rinpoche will conduct a brief rabné (blessing). A fuller inauguration will take place at a later date with guest lamas and gathered sangha.

Making a stupa is an exact science and the design, proportions, and contents are all described in great detail in the ancient texts. It is the rigorous application of this knowledge that imbues the Stupa with its tremendous sacred power.

The stupa in Lerab Ling is being sculptured in light-grey granite by a manufacturer in Portugal who has been tutored in the ancient art of stupa-making by expert Tibetan lamas. Their workshop has supplied stupas for Dharma centres all over the world and their precision and craftsmanship are exemplary. Granite, a natural stone formed from volcanic magma, is one of the hardest, most resistant as well as incredibly beautiful materials in the world. It is the main component of the most solid layer of our planet, the earth’s crust.

No wonder this material has been chosen—it will help guarantee the stupa will remain and fulfil its purpose to benefit beings with its power of ‘liberating upon seeing’ for centuries to come.

Meanwhile, at Lerab Ling, monastics, lay community and retreatants are working closely together making the zung and tsatsas that will fill the stupa, as well as gathering and sorting all the sacred relics that will also be included. This is no small task, and their dedication is deeply inspiring.

How you can help… Over the last year we have received many generous donations that have allowed us to order the carved stupa from Portugal, buy massive amounts of paper for zung, plaster and paint for tsatsas, print millions of mantras and to host many integration retreatants to help bring all this together. We still, however, need 230,000 euros to complete the project fully.

You can make an auspicious connection to this project and support us in all these exciting developments by making a donation. All gifts are deeply appreciated. If you want to talk about making a donation by bank transfer or otherwise, please send an email to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

MORE INFORMATION ON WHAT A STUPA IS

Following the advice of our masters, Lerab Ling, Dzogchen Beara and Berlin have started to prepare the building of a stupa that will contain countless relics of Guru Rinpoche, Jigme Lingpa, Longchenpa, Patrul Rinpoche, Do Khyentse, Dudjom Rinpoche as well as those of Sogyal Rinpoche and Mayum Tsering Wangmo.

A stupa is an architectural manifestation of the enlightened mind that symbolises the different qualities of Buddha-hood. A stupa is consecrated, not as a structure, but as a living enlightened presence, benefiting beings by creating the cause for good health, peace, prosperity and harmony in the environment.

Each stupa will have the qualities and power to liberate on sight, planting the seeds of liberation in the mind stream of all beings human or otherwise who encounter it so that they will gain higher states of rebirth and ultimately bringing them to enlightenment, regardless of their connection and motivation.  

It is said in the scriptures the benefits of building stupas, symbolising the enlightened mind of the Buddha, are truly incalculable and has the power to eliminate obscurations and accomplish the accumulations of merit and wisdom. TD Stupa LL WEB

When a great teacher dies, it is customary to build a stupa where he or she has been cremated. This is usually done soon after the cremation and not widely shared so as to not create any obstacles. As we know Sogyal Rinpoche was cremated in Tashiding (Sikkim) and we were so fortunate to be able to build his stupa right beside his beloved teacher Jamyang Khyentse Chökyi Lodrö. However, when Covid hit the world in 2020 and no one could travel for many years, it was only possible to actually build this beautiful stupa in the beginning of 2023.

THE BENEFITS OF PARTICIPATING IN BUILDING A STUPA

Tulku Rigdzin Pema Rinpoche, who, in the Nyingma tradition, is regarded as a highly accomplished master in stupa building, will oversee all the preparations of each of the stupas. Tulku Rigdzin Pema is a very special lama, a hidden yogi, who spent decades alongside His Holiness Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche. He is also the one who oversaw the construction of Khandro Tsering Chödrön's Stupa and the inner stupa that is being built in the Nirmanakaya in the Lerab Ling temple.

On 16 December 2022 in Lerab Ling, Tulku Rigdzin Pema performed the consecration of the ground where the stupa will be built, followed by consecrating the ground in Dharma Mati on 29 December. These are the first steps of these incredible projects…

Participating in the construction of the stupas by helping as a volunteer, integration retreatant or by making donations or attending one of the ritual activities with an altruistic resolve to benefit all beings, is said to bring boundless benefits for one’s self and others for many lives to come.

SYMBOLISM OF THE SHAPE OF THE STUPA AND ITS CONTENT

SR STUPA 3DThe shape of the stupa represents the Buddha, crowned and sitting in meditation posture on a lion throne. His crown is the top of the spire; his head is the square at the spire’s base; his body is the vase shape; his legs are the four steps of the lower terrace; and the base is his throne.

The construction of the stupas is a spiritual task dedicated to peace in the world. Tulku Rigzin Pema, our monastic and lay-sangha as well as many volunteers have already started with preparing the many spiritual materials that are needed to fill them. 

Millions of mantras, thousands of tsa-tsas, the Kangyur and Tengyur (sacred texts that have the intrinsic power and invoke peace), specially prepared mandalas that liberate upon site, collected writings and works of the Nyingma lineage masters, precious jewels and semi-precious stones, precious herbs and substances are being prepared in Lerab Ling.

Every stupa will become a place of pilgrimage and provide support for the practice of prostrations, offerings and circumambulations. All stupas will be consecrated, not as a structure, but as a living enlightened presence, and therefore brings blessings not only to its location, but also to the world.

There are eight shapes of stupas representing the eight great events of the life of Buddha Shakyamuni. The Great Enlightenment stupa will be built in Lerab Ling while Dzogchen Beara will build the stupa of the Descent from Tushita Heaven and Dharma Mati will build the All Victorious Stupa. All main Rigpa centres will be able to have a replica of Lerab Ling’s Great Enlightenment stupa in the future. 

TIMELINE AND COSTS 

The stupa in Lerab Ling will be almost 10 metres high and made in granite by a company in Portugal specialised in carving detailed stupas of which many have already been produced throughout the world. Earlier in June we were able to order the stupa which will take about 10 to 12 months to complete.  

The total costs of production, as we are aware of at this moment, will be around 550,000€. We do not have a complete overview of the costs of transport to Lerab Ling and assembling yet but we will update this page as soon as we know more.

When all the parts of the stupa arrive in Lerab Ling in, hopefully in May or June this year, a big crane will put the parts together on the north lawn along with all the accompanying rituals associated with each phase. Meanwhile in Lerab Ling we were able to pour the concrete of the base of the stupa which will take a few months to thoroughly dry. 

THE PRACTICE OF MAKING TSA-TSAS AND ZUNG

Zung prep STUPA 2022Meanwhile in Lerab Ling the Monastic and lay-community, integration retreatants as well as volunteers are working on the zung (sacred mantras), tsa-tsas, gathering of relics, scriptures and carving the chokshying (central pillar or axis of the stupa) etc. that will go into the different stupas.

To guarantee the high quality and keep the costs as low as possible, the Stupa project team decided that all tsa-tsas and zung would be made centrally in Lerab Ling and sent it to all countries who will have a stupa.

The plan is to hold retreats in Lerab Ling focusing on the practice of making tsa-tsas and its many benefits. It is said that making tsa-tsas purifies obstacles, accidents, and sudden diseases. By making tsa-tsas we pacify inauspicious circumstances, accumulate merit, purify obscurations, and achieve the resultant three kayas in a future life.

To be continued…

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Lerab Ling, L'Engayresque, 34650 Roqueredonde, France
Telephone: +33 (0)4 67 88 46 00
GPS: 43.800248,3.237998



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Lerab Ling, L’Engayresque
34650 Roqueredonde, France

Email – lerab.ling@rigpa.org
Telephone  +33 (0) 467 88 46 00

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Lerab Ling, under the patronage of His Holiness the Dalai Lama, is one of the main centres preserving the authentic study and practice of Tibetan Buddhism. Founded in 1991...

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