Mahasiddha Sanctuary for Universal Peace
The Pure Vision of His Eminence Shyalpa Tenzin Rinpoche
The Mahasiddha Sanctuary for Universal Peace will honor the Buddha's fearless engagement and compassionate action in our world for the benefit and welfare of all sentient beings. It will serve as a radiant beacon, helping to inspire and guide individuals, communities, and nations toward peaceful coexistence and reconciliation.
The Mahasiddha Sanctuary for Universal Peace will grace the site of Lord Buddha’s birth. The outer structure of the Sanctuary Shrine Hall evokes images of a lotus flower (the innate purity of Buddha nature), a butter lamp (the five Buddha wisdoms), a stupa (the enlightened mind of Buddha), and a mandala offering (the field of enlightened activity). At the pinnacle is a golden finial representing the thirteen Dharmachakra (levels of accomplishment).
The vast space of the Sanctuary Shrine Hall conveys the timeless purity of Buddha’s enlightenment. A golden statue of Queen Mayadevi with the newborn Prince Siddhartha shines in sunlight from above.
The Universal Peace Library
The Universal Peace Library will house a vast, comprehensive collection of Lord Buddha’s canonical teachings, sutras and tantras, writings and commentaries by realized masters of all Buddhist traditions in print and digital formats, in native languages and in languages for which translations are available. In addition, the library will be a repository of texts on the topic of peace, passed down from masters of all spiritual traditions. These sacred texts will be the inner relics of Mahasiddha Sanctuary.
The Peace Museum
The Peace Museum will provide a spiritually and aesthetically enriching experience for visitors of the Mahasiddha Sanctuary. All around the world, there are great works of art pertaining to the Buddha’s birth, life, and activities, many of which date back to the early centuries of the Common Era. Many of these precious artifacts—thangka paintings, precious statues, sacred texts, and ritual objects—are unknown or rarely seen by the public. The Peace Museum will call upon collectors, philanthropists, monasteries, and institutions for donations. These precious artifacts will have a permanent home where they can be carefully preserved, displayed, and presented to the public.
The Grand Assembly Hall
The Grand Assembly Hall will accommodate up to 5,000 people for teachings, ceremonies, conferences, and seminars, with state-of-the-art video and audio facilities. It will host the International Buddhist Federation Peace Conference and other events.
Meditation Rooms and Halls
Meditation is central to Buddhist spiritual practice. Visitors to the peace sanctuary will have access to personal meditation instruction from resident teachers and may practice alone or with monks in quiet meditation rooms. Arrangements can be made for short-term or long-term retreats. Several meditation halls will accommodate larger gatherings for group practice, teachings, and ceremonies.
The Universal Peace Institute
The Universal Peace Institute for Buddhist Studies will offer a complete curriculum, including Buddhist philosophy, dialectics, and history; Himalayan culture; Sanskrit, Nepali, Tibetan, Chinese, and English languages. The institute will include a research center, where scholars collect, review, and amend ancient and contemporary Tibetan Buddhist texts. The center will create a database of digitalized texts and print these texts in the traditional Tibetan format.
Golden Vase Placement Ceremony, May 21, 2016
Actualizing the Vision
Since 2013, His Eminence has been traveling around the world to share his pure vision for the Mahasiddha Sanctuary for Universal Peace. His travels have taken him to Thailand, Hong Kong, Malaysia, China, Taiwan, Vietnam, England, and the United States. Rinpoche sees this as an opportunity to share the healing teachings of the Buddha and his message of peace.
In November 2013, over 2,500 devotees gathered near the Sacred Garden in Lumbini, Nepal, to recite prayers and attend the historical groundbreaking ceremony for the Mahasiddha Sanctuary for Universal Peace. On June 13, 2014, a formal launch ceremony took place in Hong Kong, where a model of the temple’s design was unveiled to the public for the first time. Shyalpa Tenzin Rinpoche spoke about his vision for the sanctuary and invited everyone to participate in this sublime and sacred undertaking.
On May 21, 2016, at the future site of the sanctuary, the Golden Vase Placement Ceremony was held for enrichment of the earth and purification of the environment.
On May 10, 2017, His Eminence Shyalpa Tenzin Rinpoche was joined by thousands of friends and devotees for the Foundation Stone Laying Ceremony.
On April 29, 2018, the Honorable Tourism Minister of Nepal joined H.H. the IXth Kyabgon Jedrungpa and H.E. Shyalpa Tenzin Rinpoche to celebrate the commencement of construction of the Mahasiddha Sanctuary for Universal Peace.
Since 2013, charity dinner celebrations have been organized throughout Asia and in Europe by Rinpoche’s nonprofit organization, Wencheng Gongzhu International Foundation. With His Eminence as the Chairman, a Board of Directors has been assembled to oversee all activities of the sanctuary project; and Deloitte, Hong Kong, has been designated as its auditing and accounting firm.
Eternal Peace Flame • Lumbini, Nepal
A Treasure for All Humanity
In the 623 BCE, Queen Mayadevi was journeying to her homeland to give birth to her only son. She stopped to rest in Lumbini, a cool and peaceful garden filled with beautiful flowers and sal trees. It was here that she gave birth to the luminous Siddhartha Gautama. The holy prince was destined from birth to become the Buddha, the Enlightened One.
Lumbini is sacred ground where Lord Buddha came into the world to manifest awakening and lead beings to the state of enlightenment. For over 2,600 years Lumbini has been an important pilgrimage place; however, for hundreds of years the site was largely neglected. In 1967 His Excellency U Thant, the Secretary-General of the United Nations, visited Lumbini and was moved by its profound significance. He went on to propose the development of Lumbini as a major center for pilgrimage. The United Nations commissioned the renowned Japanese architect Kenzo Tange to develop a master plan for the site, and it was finalized and approved in 1978. In 1985 the Lumbini Development Trust was established to implement the master plan. This plan includes two zones reserved for monasteries.
In 1997 Lumbini was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site due to its great spiritual and historical importance as the actual birthplace of the Buddha. The first monastery was constructed in 1992, and many have been built since then. Today it is considered one of the most holy destinations for spiritual seekers around the world.
Upon visiting Lumbini, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said, “I am awestruck by the beauty and profound significance of this site, the birthplace of the Lord Buddha. Being here, I am reminded of his amazing life journey from sheltered prince to founder of one of the world’s great religions. I sincerely hope that we can learn from his lessons, from his teachings and his philosophy to bring peace, stability, harmony, reconciliation, and friendship among people of different beliefs, different religions, and cultures. This is exactly what human beings should promote and pursue for a better world, a more peaceful, more prosperous world.”
Excavated remains of Buddhist monasteries in the Sacred Garden, Lumbini, Nepal
Outstanding Universal Value
The World Heritage Committee, at its 36th session at Saint Petersburg in 2012, adopted the retrospective Statement of Outstanding Universal Value of Lumbini, the birthplace of Lord Buddha:
The complex of structures within the archaeological conservation area include the Sakya Pond (Pushkarani), the remains within the Mayadevi Temple consisting of brick structures in a cross-wall system dating from the 3rd century BCE to the present century, and the sandstone Ashoka Pillar with its Pali inscriptions in Brahmi script. Additionally, there are the excavated remains of Buddhist viharas (monasteries) of the 3rd century BCE to the 5th century CE and the remains of Buddhist stupas (memorial shrines) from the 3rd century BCE to the 15th century CE. The site is now being developed as a Buddhist pilgrimage center in which the archaeological remains associated with the birth of Lord Buddha form a central feature.
The archaeological remains of Buddhist viharas and stupas provide important evidence about the nature of Buddhist pilgrimage centers from a very early period.
The integrity of Lumbini has been achieved by means of preserving the archaeological remains that give the property its Outstanding Universal Value. The significant attributes and elements of the property have been preserved.
The holy site of Lumbini has ruins of ancient monasteries, a sacred Bodhi tree, an ancient bathing pond, the Ashoka Pillar, and the Mayadevi Temple at the site of the Buddha’s birth. From early morning to early evening, pilgrims from fromall around the world chant and meditate in the Sacred Garden.
Lumbini is not only a pilgrimage site for Buddhists, but it is also a symbolic place for people who wish to promote peace throughout the world. The site is ideal for practitioners of meditation; fascinating for researchers and journalists; a challenge for architects and conservationists; and a source of livelihood for the local people. Lumbini is an open school, where every visitor, pilgrim, meditation practitioner, tourist, or researcher can find satisfaction through realizing and experiencing peace.
The Mahasiddha Sanctuary for Universal Peace will serve the communities in and around Lumbini. It will coordinate with charitable organizations that provide free eye, ear, cleft lip, and palate surgeries; arrange mobile medical units; aid the elderly; and support local hospitals and educational centers.
Lord Buddha was born in 623 BCE in the sacred area of Lumbini located in the Terai plains of southern Nepal, according to the inscription on the pillar erected by the Mauryan Emperor Ashoka in 249 BCE. Lumbini is one of the holiest places of one of the world’s great religions, and its remains contain important evidence about the nature of Buddhist pilgrimage centers from as early as the 3rd century BCE.
Although the Mahasiddha Sanctuary for Universal Peace is located at one of four major Buddhist pilgrimage sites, its mission is not strictly religious in nature. All pure spiritual paths aim to transcend sectarian beliefs, recognize the basic goodness in all sentient beings, and embrace our shared humanity. In this spirit, the Mahasiddha Sanctuary will be a place for peaceful negotiation to address potential or real conflicts around the world. Lumbini will be the ideal venue for resolving seemingly intractable conflicts. The sanctuary will feature a Grand Assembly Hall for conferences and discussions as well as the Shrine Hall for quiet introspection.
An Invitation to Participate
As His Eminence Shyalpa Tenzin Rinpoche travels around the world sharing his vision for the Mahasiddha Sanctuary, many are inspired and ask Rinpoche how they can contribute. Rinpoche responds by saying: “I would like you to think of this as your project, not as Rinpoche’s project. This is everyone’s project! If you see something worthy here, if you feel inspired and would like to contribute to a more peaceful and compassionate world, feel free to use your creativity and see what you can do to support this project and inspire others.”
All around the world, much assistance is needed to help organize and spread the message of the Mahasiddha peace project and its spiritual and historical significance. All people can use their ingenuity and talents to inform and inspire others. This is a great opportunity for people to come together and share in the good karma and merit.
Building the Mahasiddha Sanctuary in Lumbini will require much funding; however, His Eminence does not wish to limit donations to a few wealthy patrons. The Buddha taught us that the size of a gift is not important; rather, it is the purity of intention that makes a gift meritorious. If one gives a gift with good intentions and expects nothing in return, this is pure generosity. Rinpoche says that the Mahasiddha Sanctuary project is really about giving everyone the opportunity to participate with a good heart.
His Eminence has stated that we are doing much more than building a physical temple in Lumbini. Rinpoche wishes to inspire everyone by sharing the healing message of the Buddha all around the world. Rinpoche states: “It is great to build temples, especially in pilgrimage sites such as Lumbini. However, we all need to build temples of tolerance and peace within our own hearts. Then, wherever we go and whatever we do, we will always find refuge in the true sanctuary within.”
The merit and good karma generated from participating in this charitable activity will be immeasurable. Rinpoche invites everyone to support this sacred project with one positive thought, one prayer for peace, or one single dollar, yuan, or rupee. His Eminence speaks about the true meaning of this endeavor: “The Mahasiddha Sanctuary is about nourishing seeds of universal harmony and peace. Everyone is welcome to participate with a pure and generous heart. This is the spirit that will engender patience, tolerance, and understanding.”
His Eminence Shyalpa Tenzin Rinpoche
In 2013, the Nepalese government entrusted His Eminence with the task of developing a precious tract of land in Lumbini, the birthplace of the Buddha. Rinpoche’s vision is to build a sanctuary that will honor the sacred birthplace of Shakyamuni Buddha and serve as a pilgrimage site for visitors of every race, color, and creed—a fountain of universal peace and understanding.
After Kyabje Sangay Tsering Rinpoche proclaimed unmistaken recognition of Rinpoche’s son, the latter was enthroned as His Holiness the IXth Kyabgon Jedrungpa at Shyalpa Monastery & Nunnery in Kopan, Kathmandu, Nepal, in 2015.
In April 2018 construction for the Mahasiddha Sanctuary for Universal Peace commenced. His Eminence Shyalpa Tenzin Rinpoche would like to invite all of humanity to participate and support this most sacred project and pay sincere respect to Lord Buddha. In this way, everyone will have the opportunity to share in the meritorious karma.
His Holiness the IXth Kyabgon Jedrungpa & His Eminence Shyalpa Tenzin Rinpoche
It is great to build temples, especially in pilgrimage sites such as Lumbini. However,
we all need to build temples of tolerance and peace within our own hearts. Then, wherever we go and whatever we do, we will always find refuge in the true sanctuary within.
SHYALPA TENZIN RINPOCHE