U N D E R T H E D I R E C T I O N O F H I S E M I N E N C E S H Y A L P A T E N Z I N R I N P O C H E
Actualizing the Vision
In November 2013, over 2,500 devotees gathered near the Sacred Garden in Lumbini, Nepal to recite prayers and attend the historical ground breaking 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 April 29, 2018, His Holiness The IXth Kyabgon Jedrungpa; His Eminence Shyalpa Tenzin Rinpoche; and His Excellency Rabindra Adhikari, the Minister of Culture, Aviation and Tourism, Govt. of Nepal, presided over the ceremony that marks the commencement of construction for the Mahasiddha Sanctuary for Universal Peace in Lumbini, Nepal, the birthplace of Lord Buddha (below).
Sharing the Vision
Since 2013, His Eminence has been traveling around the world, sharing his vision for the Mahasiddha Sanctuary for Universal Peace. To date, Rinpoche's has traveled to Hong Kong, Malaysia, China, Taiwan, Thailand, Vietnam, Bhutan, England, and the United States. Rinpoche sees this as an opportunity to inform the world about the Mahasiddha Peace Project and inspire others with the healing teachings of the Buddha and power of loving kindness and compassion.
During Rinpoche's travels, many are inspired and they 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. People from business, entertainment, government, philanthropy, and the arts 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 merit and positive karma.
Building the Mahasiddha Sanctuary in Lumbini will require much funding; however, Rinpoche 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 generous heart.
Lord Buddha taught us the healing power of love, compassion and equanimity. Rinpoche envisions a sanctuary and place of spiritual refuge for all beings, beyond the limiting boundaries of religion, culture, race, and nationality. As all beings seek happiness and relief from suffering, we are all equal partners in our quest for enduring peace and fulfillment.
The Eternal Peace Flame, Lumbini, Nepal
A Brief History of Lumbini
In the 6th century BCE, Queen Mayadevi was journeying to her homeland to give birth to her son. She stopped to rest at Lumbini, a cool, peaceful, and lush garden filled with beautiful flowers and sal trees. It was here that Mayadevi gave birth to Siddhartha Gautama. This holy child was destined from birth to become the Buddha, the Enlightened One. Lumbini is sacred ground where Lord Buddha came into the world
to lead beings to the state of enlightenment.
A series of fortuitous events brought Rinpoche together with the renowned German Architect, Professor Stephan Braunfels. At their first meeting, the professor generously offered to help design and work with Rinpoche on a monastery project. As Rinpoche was applying for a permit to lease the land, His Eminence received a message from Professor Braunfels inquiring about plans for the monastery project that they had previously discussed. When the lease on the land was nearly secured, Rinpoche and the professor traveled to Lumbini to survey the site. They were both enthused about the project and began collaborating on a design for the Sanctuary.
His Eminence envisions the Mahasiddha Sanctuary for Universal Peace as the ideal spiritual destination and pilgrimage site for people of every race, color, and creed. The sanctuary’s modern design resembles traditional Buddhist symbols: a lotus flower, symbolizing purity and the blossoming of enlightened qualities; a butter lamp, symbolizing the five wisdoms; an offering mandala, symbolizing accumulation of merit; and a stupa, symbolizing the mind of enlightenment.
The Birth of a Vision
For many years, His Eminence Shaylpa Tenzin Rinpoche had been seeking for an opportunity to build a monastery at one of the sacred pilgrimage sites of Shakyamuni Buddha. In 2013, a series of auspicious coincidences lead to the realization of Rinpoche’s wish.
For over 2,500 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. The first monastery was established in 1992, and many have been built since then.
In 2012, the Lumbini Development Trust was searching for a custodian to develop a tract of land and build a monastery adjacent to the Sacred Garden where Lord Buddha was born. Around this time, His Eminence launched a Nepali translation of his first book, Living Fully: Finding Joy in Every Breath in Kathmandu, Nepal. This event served to enhance awareness of Rinpoche’s teachings and activities in Nepal. Prominent business and community leaders suggested that Rinpoche’s non-profit organization, Rangrig Yeshe, apply for stewardship of the land. They felt that Rinpoche would be an excellent representative for Buddhism in the 21st century. Rinpoche graciously responded to their requests. Rangrig Yeshe was awarded a lease on the land for 99 years. His Eminence was entrusted with the task of constructing a magnificent temple to honor the Buddha and his healing message of compassion, non-violence, and peace.
“It is great to build temples, especially in pilgrimage sites such as Lumbini. However, everyone needs to build a temple of tolerance and peace within their own hearts. Then, wherever they go and whatever they do, they will always find refuge in the true sanctuary within.” - Shyalpa Tenzin Rinpoche
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, one single dollar, yuan, or euro. His Eminence speaks about the true meaning of this endeavor: “The Mahasiddha Sanctuary is about nourishing seeds of universal harmony and peace. Everyone can participate with a pure and generous heart—free of personal agenda. According to the teaching of the Buddha, this is the spirit that will engender peace, harmony, tolerance, and understanding.”
In 2014, Rinpoche’s book, Living Fully: Finding Joy in Every Breath, was published in China in simplified Chinese. His Eminence visited eight cities in China within a month’s time, sharing his book and the Mahasiddha Sanctuary Project. Rinpoche was warmly and enthusiastically received.
In March 2014, Rinpoche visited Bangkok, Thailand. Rinpoche was graciously welcomed by the abbots at two Theravadin temples, Wat Phra Dhammakaya, north of Bangkok, and Wat Bowon (below) in Bangkok city. His Eminence expressed his wish that Buddhists from all schools and traditions embrace this sacred project that honors Lord Buddha at his birthplace.
The sacred garden encompasses the site where the Buddha was born. The garden is 8 square km and includes remains of ancient temples that shelter the actual birthplace of the Buddha and the Maya Devi Temple (above). The famous pillar constructed by the great Indian King, Ashoka, marks the site. There are over 40 temples around the sacred garden, representing various countries and Buddhist traditions. One undeveloped plot of land adjacent to the Sacred Garden has been leased to Shyalpa Tenzin Rinpoche to construct the Mahasiddha Sanctuary for Universal Peace.
The former Secretary-General of the United Nations, Ban Ki-Moon, has spoke eloquently about the pilgrimage site of Lumbini: “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. And I am moved by his example of voluntarily leaving behind comfortable circumstances to confront the painful realities of life and to help others overcome them. Above all, as Secretary-General of the United Nations, I am all the more inspired to work for peace throughout the world. 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.”
Meditation Rooms and Meditation Hall
The heart of Buddhist spiritual practice is meditation. Visitors to the Peace Sanctuary can receive personal meditation instruction from resident teachers and practice in private meditation rooms. Arrangements can be made for short 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 will be an in-depth learning center, offering a complete curriculum, including Buddhist philosophy, dialectics, and history; Himalayan culture; Sanskrit, Nepali, Tibetan and English languages.
The Universal Peace Institute will also include a Research Center, where scholars will collect, review, and amend ancient and contemporary Tibetan Buddhist texts. The center will create a database of digitalized texts and also print these texts in traditional Tibetan format.
The Mahasiddha Sanctuary for Universal Peace will seek to serve the communities of Lumbini and surrounding districts materially and spiritually. It will work with local, regional, and international organizations to provide free eye, ear, and cleft lip surgeries, arrange mobile medical units, offer aide to the elderly, and support local hospitals and education centers.
The Mahasiddha Sanctuary will offer meals at no cost to visitors and organize teachings, empowerments, and pujas. It will host the Annual Buddha Jayanti (Buddha’s Birthday Celebration) and the 100 Million Mantra Prayer Event on the day of Buddha Descending from Heaven.
Envisioning the Universal Peace Sanctuary
The Sanctuary Shrine Hall
A majestic statue of the Buddha taking birth under a Sal tree with Queen Maya Devi will be the centerpiece of the Sanctuary Shrine Hall. Entering the Hall from one of four gateways, one enters an immense and immaculate space bathed in natural light from above. The Shrine Hall conveys the vast expanse and timeless purity of the Buddha’s enlightenment.
Within this grand and majestic space, a golden statue of Queen Mother Maya Devi will appear with the newborn Prince Siddhartha. The selfless care that a mother shows for her children embodies the virtues of unconditional love and compassion. The Buddha taught us to care for every being with loving kindness and compassion, just as a mother would care for her only child.
On the outer platform of the hall, from the lofty height of ten meters, one will gaze out upon the Maya Devi Temple and the Sacred Garden where Lord Buddha took birth.
The Golden Pinnacle
The golden pinnacle is the crowning jewel of the Mahasiddha Sanctuary. Made of pure gold, the pinnacle represents supreme liberation and enlightenment. The layers of the conical portion symbolize the thirteen bhumis or levels on the path to awakening. The spire above symbolizes the sun and moon, the five elements, and the five wisdoms. The golden pinnacle will be filled mantras, scriptures, sacred relics and statues, enveloped in pure silk. The pinnacle’s surface will be inscribed with auspicious symbols and prayers for world peace and enlightenment.
B U D D H A F I E L D
Mahasiddha Sanctuary for Universal Peace
The Peace Museum
The Peace Museum will provide a spiritually and aesthetically enriching experience for visitors to the Mahasiddha Sanctuary. Around the world, there are works of art pertaining to the Buddha’s birth, life, and activities dating 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 of 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.
The Grand Assembly Hall
The Grand Assembly Hall will accommodate up to 5,000 people for teachings and empowerments, as well as conferences and seminars. It will host the International Buddhist Federation Peace Conference and other related events.
The Universal Peace Library
The Universal Peace Library will store a vast collection of Buddha’s teachings and commentaries by realized masters, in their native languages and all languages in which translations are available. In addition, the library will be a repository of writings on the topic of peace, past down from masters from all spiritual traditions. These sacred texts will be the sanctuary’s inner relics.
Shyalpa Tenzin Rinpoche speaks of the significance of Buddha’s birthplace:
“Due to the miraculous birth of Shakyamuni Buddha, Lumbini will forever remain as a sacred site of immense power and blessings. There is no place on earth that is better suited to serve all of humanity as a world center for universal peace.”
Since this time, Rinpoche has made numerous visits to cities throughout Asia, meeting with spiritual and business leaders, government dignitaries, celebrities in the arts and entertainment, and anyone who expresses an interest in supporting the Buddha’s message of peace.
Everywhere Rinpoche has traveled, the response has been positive and encouraging. Rinpoche attributes this to the Buddha’s blessing. The Buddha teaches us that when we engage in wholesome activities with a positive mind, the results will always be positive.