The first Diamond Way stupa built in the West stands in
the courtyard here at Lolland Buddhist Retreat Center.
Inaugurated in 1982 by Tenga Rinpoche, it has been exposed to quite a lot of wild Danish weather over the last 32 years. A stupa of enlightenment built in a very traditional style – especially compared to other Diamond Way stupas such as the sangha stupa at Schwarzenberg in southern Germany, or the Kalachakra stupa in Karma Berchen Ling in Greece – the thin layer of gold on the peak and the “gau” (the frame around the window at the front where the Buddha statue sits), and the paint on the main structure were in need of renovation.
The project began in late 2013, when our expert friend Barbara came for a week and reapplied gold to the top of the stupa; the 13 rings representing the levels of development of a Bodhisattva, and the crescent moon, sun and drop which represent compassion, wisdom and the ultimate goal, enlightenment.
In spring this year, the old clay Karmapa statue was removed at Lama Ole and Sherab Gyaltsen Rinpoche’s request, and was sent to Tenovice where it brought its blessing to their stupa as part of the filling. Then two talented friends, Peter and Uwe, completely rebuilt the wooden frame of the gau and the concrete support behind it. In early summer the new frame was driven down to Barbara for its own coat of gold leaf, painstaking and time-consuming work with a beautiful result.
Suddenly, everything moved very fast. Just in time for the 30th Annual Summer Course, the whole stupa was painted by friends from Copenhagen. Two friends sacrificed a day of the course to drive down to Düsseldorf to pick the frame up and bring it back. Each person at the summer course put a handful of precious material in the stupa’s stunning new Buddha Shakyamuni statue before it was sealed. And everything came together like magic on the last day of the course, when the frame was hung, the freshly dried paint gleamed in the sunlight, and Lama Ole Nydahl joined us in typically unconventional fashion: via Skype while recovering from his spinal surgery. He watched the placement of the statue, gave a short talk, and held his gau up to the camera to bless everyone present. A truly inspiring afternoon!
Now our stupa shines once more. May it inspire many people for many, many years to come!