Stone Stupa Built at Akashavana Retreat Centre, SpainOn Thu, 25 November, 2021 - 12:13
On a working retreat in November, a new stupa was built at Akashavana retreat centre, Spain, containing the ashes of Dhardo Rinpoche, one of Sangharakshita’s main teachers.
This stupa joins a number of other stupas dedicated to Dhardo Rinpoche across our community in retreat centres such as Tiratanaloka, Padmaloka and Vajrasana in the UK, Aryaloka (USA), Vimaladhatu (Germany), Guhyaloka (Spain), and Sudarshanaloka (New Zealand). Dhardo Rinpoche and Sangharakshita developed a strong friendship over the many years Sangharakshita lived in Kalimpong. Sangharakshita came to see Dhardo Rinpoche as a ‘living bodhisattva’ and received the bodhisattva ordination from him in 1962.
The stupa at Akashavana was built with the help of Tracey Blackwell, a talented dry stonewall builder with more than two decades’ experience.
Mumukshu from the Akashavana community writes:
Maitreyi led the practice and ritual side, which perfectly held all the hard work within a sense of the sacred and timeless. Dhardo’s ashes had been sitting on the shrine in the community for seven or eight years waiting for the right moment.
The design for it was inspired by the many ancient dry stone structures I had been noticing in this area of Spain (a corner of Aragón, called Matarraña), but it also evolved as we worked, led by Tracey’s expertise with stone construction and load-bearing. There were 14 of us on the retreat, including four of the newly ordained women from Mexico, and Siddhisvari cooking us wonderful meals.
A double vajra was buried at the base, with a metal pole connecting it up to the ‘flaming drop’, so the stones that make up the cone were threaded onto the pole, with holes drilled through them. The ashes were placed inside at the top of the ‘bell’ below the cone, in a special ritual, and earlier, offerings that had been sent or brought out were also placed inside.
It was physically demanding work, collecting the stones, mixing cement, dressing the stones and putting them in place, and we had very little free time, but the day was punctuated with practice and ritual so that the whole felt somehow outside of time and space.
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Listen to Nagabodhi talking about Dhardo Rinpoche, Stupa Building and Sangha