The most important items to be placed in the stupa will be three small containers (tsa-tsas) holding ashes of the late Dhardo Rinpoche, who died in 1990. It will also contain two relics – a bone of Tsongkhapa, founder of the Gelugpa order of Tibetan Buddhism, and the hair of a dakini. These two items were some of the late Dhardo’s most treasured personal belongings and were a gift of the current tulku (reincarnation) of Dhardo Rinpoche. Dhardo Tulku visited Aryaloka in June 2013, blessed the site of the future stupa and presented these possessions of his predecessor to the stupa kula. These special contents will help make the stupa a symbol of the continuity of teaching from the late Dhardo, through his friend and disciple Sangharakshita, and now through the current lineage holder, to our Triratna community in the West.
Serendipitously, the stonemason who will build the stupa, Sonam Lama, learned his craft as a novice monk at Ganden Monastery, near Lhasa, Tibet. (Tsongkhapa was the abbot of Ganden Monastery.) Sonam now lives and works in Deerfield, Massachusetts, a half-day drive from Aryaloka. He is guiding the stupa kula in determining what other items should go inside the stupa.
As the foundation is laid, we will bury old tools, a toy or real gun, and other weapons, as a symbol of burying anger. We will also bury special offerings against other negative emotions. All these will be enclosed and sealed in the cement of the stupa’s foundation.
Inside the stupa itself, there will be a cedar tree cut from the woods close to the stupa site. Before cutting the tree down, Viduma will mark it so it can be situated inside the stupa in the same orientation to north, south, east and west as it was when growing. Sonam will place written mantras of the Buddha on the tree at the appropriate height then wrap the whole tree in silk that has the eight auspicious signs on it. Inside the drum of the stupa we will place dry cedar needles and chips; dried sage; furs of animals such as sheep, goat, yak (buffalo) and horse; soil and stones from the property of wealthy persons; a metal or clay vase with bits of gold, silver, and jewels inside; as well as dharma books and prayer books.
Contribute your mantras to the stupa!
In addition, we will need thousands of mantras written on paper and rolled up, to fill the inside of the drum portion of the stupa. These can be all kinds of mantras, to Buddhas, Bodhisattvas, dakinis or gurus. They can be hand written or typed and printed.
We invite sangha members across the worldwide Triratna community to join us in creating these mantras to place in the stupa. Scan and send them electronically toinfo [at] ayraloka.org with the subject line For the Stupa. Or send them by snail mail to Aryaloka Buddhist Center, 14 Heartwood Circle, Newmarket NH 03857 USA.