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Jul 13
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Maha Bodhivastu:The Great Mandala for World Peace

3D rendering of the stupa

Reflections on Living Lineage and Building an International Mandala

by Lama Rangbar Nyima Ozer
President of The Bodhivastu Foundation for Enlightened Activity

Imagine a simple technology built by all of humanity that establishes anyone who gazes at it into a non-dual frame of mind, even if just for a moment. A monument where nobody will feel alienated and all feel accepted as human.

If we are at all worth our salt as Buddhists, we have to ask ourselves regularly, are we really practicing Buddhism? Are we really taking it in hand, growing with it, keeping it fresh and holding the lineage? How do we keep the teachings paced with our fast changing society without watering down the richness of the traditional forms, which in fact hold critical enlightening content? I truly feel that this discussion is one in which Guru Rinpoche’s prophesies come into play. After having spent over twenty years living, working and practicing abroad in Nepal, the reflection that perhaps I had run away from my own country’s insanity only to replace it with a more mysterious and romantic version of insanity, raised its head. I packed up my home and family and returned to the USA to face the facts of my origin. At fifty years of age I would start life afresh. Rather than isolating myself in the Himalayan hill-station gone polluted metropolis, I would face the world stage and see what it had transformed into over the past 20 years, and ultimately wind up supporting the plans for construction of one of the world’s largest stupas (monument to enlightenment).

Gesar Lingdro dancers

Most Buddhists hold the view that tomorrow’s situation or experience of it, is based on what views, meditation and actions we engage in today. This indicates that the shape of the future depends on us. Surely this is true for our own individual karmic ripening, but also as an interdependent collective. Therefore, if we take our short life span as precious, then we need to recognize that the stage we modern individuals face is not only what’s in front of our face, but what is on Facebook. Our connectivity allows us to know what is going on almost anywhere on the planet and for many people their entire business depends on knowing world trends. This is both a curse and a great opportunity for evolution on a mass scale, not just for Buddhists. We are in a period of unprecedented global communication and we have arrived at the only time in our small planet’s history that humankind has the capacity to destroy our entire planet in a single day. The conclusion I have drawn personally is that I don’t feel that my own Buddhist path is about remaining aloof from the relative world or hoping that absolute bodhichitta (awakened heart) will excuse me from the fact that humanity still suffers. The epic story of King Gesar of Ling can show us the way through this challenging path.

Due to the great compassion of the Vidyadhara Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche, I think that when the Shambala community considers the King Gesar of Ling, we likely think of our aspirations for the development of an enlightened society filled with recognized responsibility for our planet, dignity for all, and a dose of bliss and splendor. We may also think of His Eminence, Terton Namkha Drimed Rinpoche, Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche and all of the practitioners in the mandala. Truly, the Gesar lineages deeply connect H.E. Namkha Rinpoche and the Vidyadhara Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche. The marriage of Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche to Khandro Tseyang forms a special and joyous opportunity for the strengthening and propagation of these blessing streams in our modern world.

But the path of Gesar should not be confused with an attempt to re-create feudalistic Tibet in America so that we can, by isolation, escape the failings of our collectively best laid plans to mechanize the world. The path of Gesar means seeing clearly what is in front of us and working closely with the situation at hand, to work the system we are part of from within and inoculate it with the tonics of courage, self-respect, magnanimity, wisdom and compassion. The practices of Gesar can reveal for us the requisite self understanding and stability in this vision and action, so that our goals are free from the insidious poverty of miserly self-interest.

cross-section of the stupa

Connected with the rousing of these tonics, on two recent occasions, His Eminence Namkha Rinpoche visited a site of land that has been provisionally chosen for the project we call the Great Mandala for World Peace, otherwise known as Maha Bodhivastu. We have not yet obtained the land and are in the final fundraising process to accomplish that. This stupa mandala is proposed for New York state not far from Rinpoche’s family home in Purchase, NY. The motivation for building this stupa is that it offers an opportunity for a major cure for our planet’s ills.

The scale of this project is to construct a stupa the same size or larger than Boudhanath Stupa in Nepal. Although H.E. Namkha Rinpoche and other high Lamas may be the spiritual guides for this activity, the project must also reflect our highest American values of equanimity, magnanimity, compassion, wisdom and a wish for peace for all. In our utterly interdependent world, there is no such thing as world peace only for Buddhists. There is either world peace for all or there is no peace at all. So what is the significance of this project for our modern times? What will be accomplished by the construction of a second Boudhanath stupa in the USA and how might this effect our country or our planet’s future? According to prophesy, if such a stupa as Boudhanath is properly constructed and consecrated in the USA, a world war could be averted, along with great reduction of plagues, famine, elemental and man-made disturbances.

When Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche spoke of living lineage, he was helping us see our own actual ongoing and unfolding roles on lineage and historic stages. The deities charged with the transmission of prophesies are still functioning today through the termas, treasure revealers, oracles and perhaps most importantly, through us… the practitioners of the sangha. Why most importantly? Because it is the collective karma that either drives these blessings into manifestation or drives them far away.

In short, in order to be truly effective, I feel this stupa should transcend all barriers of religion, ethnicity, gender and belief systems. The main point is the mandala’s ability to unify all of humanity in the singular goal of world peace. This starts with coming together and recognizing what the Vidyadhara called “our common basic goodness”. The clean and simple act of coming together to build the stupa is both the cause and the effect in one sweep. When we say “liberation upon sight”, we are talking about the stupa’s ability to overawe with architectural splendor. If the stupa is created with the correct altruistic intention of true bodhisattvas, the entire gismo will radiate this truth to all, Buddhist and accidental tourist alike.


Boudanath Stupa, Nepal

Those interested to join in, help out of find out more can contact: [email protected]

To read an article about HE Terton Namkha Drimed Rinpoche’s involvement in the Maha Bodhivastu Project,
click here: Trident Newsletter Volume VI see page 2

See Maha Bodhivastu project work highlights on YouTube by clicking here.

Read HE Namkha Drimed Rabjam Rinpoche’s letter encouraging support of the Maha Bodhivastu Great Mandala for World peace by clicking here.

View pictures of Gesar Dances performed for Rigon Tashi Choling Monastery Grande opening in Dollu Nepal by clicking here.

Read an article by Lama Ramgbar on Prophecy by clicking here.

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