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October 28, 2023 @ 3:00 pm - 4:30 pm MST
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At the next Medicine Buddha/Nagarjuna Retreat (October 20-29, 2023, at Diamond Mountain Retreat Center in Bowie, Arizona), we are excited to announce that we will have the grand opening ceremony for the first of seven stupas planned for Diamond Mountain’s multi-year Marble Stupa Project! The stupa is named after the first Medicine Buddha, Good Name. Its planning, fundraising, and construction of native Arizona marble took several years and was recently completed. During the upcoming retreat, we will also open the Pilgrimage Path, another exciting feature of the Marble Stupa Project that will connect the seven stupas, planned to have vista-viewing benches and informational stations along the way once it is finished.

The Marble Stupa Project began in 2020, when one of Diamond Mountain’s major donors decided to make their long-time dream a reality. Fundraising started, marble was mined, architects and construction crews were hired. Stupa construction began in 2022.

The stupas will be named after each of the seven Medicine Buddhas: 1) Good Name; 2) Jewel Moon; 3) Finest Gold; 4) Beyond Sadness; 5) Ocean Song; 6) Dharma Sea; and 7) Medicine Buddha himself. We expect the next stupa to be completed by the end of 2023. It will be stupa #7, dedicated to Medicine Buddha. The third stupa is scheduled for 2024. Completion of the rest is dependent on successful fundraising.

The price tag for the project is $10.5 million. Each stupa costs about $1.5 million. Diamond Mountain has already raised $6.3 million, leaving $4.2 million to go. The project director, Venerable Sunam (who doubles as the Executive Director of Diamond Mountain Retreat Center), expects the remaining fundraising to take another three to four years. Stupa construction will proceed as fundraising continues. Four countries have each promised to build one (or more than one!) entire stupa: Taiwan has two, Singapore, Malaysia, and Japan each have one, and the remaining two are being funded by people all around the world.

It was Geshe Michael’s idea to use the beautiful marble that comes from the quarry right over the hill from where Good Name Stupa is located to build all the stupas. Marble, he says, has a good positive vibrational energy and is very suitable for meditation. So our neighbors at the Cochise Marble Company provided the stone.

And how do you design a stupa, anyhow? Ven. Sunam says nobody had any blueprints for such a thing! The architects, Line and Space (lineandspace.com), used an old Tibetan book to get the outline and the spatial dimensions from old descriptions. Line and Space then created the actual design based on these descriptions. Our contractors, Daniel Ward from D.O. Ward’s Custom Builders, Inc., went to work on building once the marble was delivered (after it was mined and sent to Portugal for carving and shaping).

The results of all this work are exciting! We strongly urge you to attend the Medicine Buddha Retreat (click here for more information about the retreat) in person so you can gain the great benefit of attending this important ceremony. Stupas are magical buildings. The Good Name Stupa will confer the proven benefit of timeless wisdom on all who witness its unveiling. It provides a path of hope and healing for many things–not only health, but relationships, communication, the environment, and ailments of all kinds. The Medicine Buddhas made beautiful pledges to heal the world in many ways, and this stupa embodies those promises.

If you can be present, you will be one of the first of many pilgrims, seekers who have likely been touched by trauma, who will come to the stupa seeking healing. The Good Name Stupa is about healing both the place where it is located–a part of America where long ago much pain and harm came to native Americans, the Apache people, who live in the area–and all the people who visit it, this October and for many years to come, from around the world. All these people are seeking healing for the human pain and suffering they are experiencing–physically, mentally, in relationships, from war, and in many other ways.

So there is a very broad scope to the amazing benefits the Good Name Stupa offers. And what better place to find hope and healing than in the silence and quietude of the Arizona desert?

During the Grand Opening Ceremony we will put a specially-made statue of Supari Kīrtita–that’s the Good Name Buddha in Sanskrit–in the stupa.

Here is where the statue of Supari Kīrtita will be placed during the Grand Opening

This will make the stupa complete. There will be a ribbon-cutting for the Pilgrimage Path, a beautiful winding walk that will eventually connect all seven stupas. We will reveal the donor wall, honoring individuals who gave more than $5,000 to the stupa project. We will joyously circumambulate our wonderful new stupa. And we will give attendees a piece of the marble from the stupa construction to take home. So you see there are many great reasons to make this trip!

This fall at Diamond Mountain, you get to see a dream made real. It’s always a blessing to see a stupa, which is the embodiment of emptiness, the Buddha’s holy body, and the teachings rolled into one. And to see the brand-new beginning of a stupa is extra special, as you can imagine. The Good Name Stupa is intimately tied to the teachings we will be receiving simultaneously at the Medicine Buddha Retreat in the temple in the valley below every day.

One amazing secret about the stupa is that it contains a lot of Geshe Michael Roach’s translations–all his Medicine Buddha translations, and the 36 Asian Classics Institute foundational and diamond way teachings, comprising everything you need to know about Buddhism. These works are printed on special paper designed to last 500 years. Our intention is that loading the stupa with Geshe Michael’s translations will preserve and transmit the teachings for the next generation. As our dear friend Ven. Jigme points out, many of the recent finds made by the Asian Legacy Library, for example, have been from desert stupas in Asia! So we hope the Diamond Mountain stupas will join a great ancient tradition and help carry the dharma far into the future. The Good Name Stupa also contains a special version of the Lotus Sutra and other books sent by friends and donors.

Future developments for the Diamond Mountain stupa site include historical markers and stations with information about the history of Diamond Mountain and its surrounding area; contemplation triggers to help meditation at the stupa and along the Pilgrimage Path; a guided walk; meditation places along with suggested meditations; and contemplation and vista-viewing benches. Please check Diamond Mountain’s stupa update site for a historical timeline: https://www.diamondmountain.org/stupa-updates/

Diamond Mountain has invited Geshe Michael Roach to lead the ceremony, the exact day and time of which is still to be determined.

Date: October 28, 2023
Time: 3:00 pm - 4:30 pm
Cost: Free
Event CategoryEvents
Venue Name: Diamond Mountain
Address: 3209 S Old Fort Bowie Rd.
Bowie, AZ, AZ 85605 United States

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Phone: (520) 775-1921