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Holy Objects at Tushita
Fulfilling Lama Zopa Rinpoche’s wishes for Tushita…
Lama Tsong Khapa
Lama Tsong Khapa is the founder of the Gelugpa school of Tibetan Buddhism. He was born in 1357 in the Tsong Kha region of Amdo in Tibet.
Lama Tsong Khapa is revered as one of the most significant Tibetan Buddhist teachers, appearing at a time when people did not understand how analytical study and yogic practice were to be united. He taught the correct way to practice both and is an example of how learning and meditative application are to be used as a unified path to achieve enlightenment.
Our statue of Lama Tsong Khapa is fifteen-feet in height, the largest one here at Tushita. When it was housed in the old meditation hall, Lama Tsong Khapa had to stick his head through a special hole cut for him in the low ceiling!
His importance in this lineage is demonstrated by his central position in the beautiful new gompa, which was completed in 2008.
Maitreya is the future Buddha coming after Shakyamuni Buddha. The Buddha Maitreya’s name is derived from the Sanskrit ‘maitri’.
The very name ‘maitri’ means ‘loving-kindness’…now, in today’s world, we really need maitri, Maitreya, loving-kindness.
His Holiness the Dalai Lama
It was Lama Yeshe’s wish to build a large Maitreya statue in order to inspire the qualities of loving-kindness and compassion in the world. The main Maitreya statue here at Tushita is a small scale version of the statue which will be built at Kushinagar.
The statue at Kushinagar is being built by Maitreya Project and will be 500ft (152m) in height and made of bronze. The vision of Maitreya Project is to effect peace at every level of society through the practice of loving-kindness: peace within the family, the community and the world, as well as inner peace for the individual.
Lama Zopa Rinpoche, the Spiritual Director of the Maitreya Project, says that construction of the statue is not the goal – it is the method for achieving the goal. “The goal is to benefit as many people as possible for as long as possible.”
Twenty-One Tara Statues
After a long period of fundraising, construction and delivery, towards the end of June 2010 the long awaited 21 Tara statues arrived from Nepal. We were incredibly fortunate that Lama Zopa Rinpoche was here with us at that time, remaining with us for 5 weeks from July 8th. During that time, Rinpoche guided every step of the process during the Tara preparation and all 21 Taras were filled with microfilm of the 4 Dharmakaya relic mantra.
The twenty 18″ Taras were taken to the local Gyudmed monastery to be filled while the main Tara remained at Tushita. The preparations culminated in a series of extraordinary events on August 12th, the last day that Kyabje Lama Zopa Rinpoche was at Tushita. Dagri Rinpoche and Khandro la were invited to fill the main Tara, then there was a Tara puja and consecration with Kyabje Lama Zopa Rinpoche, Dagri Rinpoche and Keutsang Rinpoche.
Kyabje Lama Zopa Rinpoche had kindly sponsored the divine dresses for all of the Taras, and peronally offered pearls to the Taras which were recently offered to him in Hong Kong. All in all making these Taras incredibly holy and auspicious, and a wonderful addition to Tushita’s Main Gompa.
For more information and pictures about the arrival, preparation, consecration etc. of the Taras please see our news section by clicking here.
Thanks to her tireless work, Thubten Detong from Taiwan’s Jinsiu Farlin Centre has practically guaranteed her rebirth as a beautiful golden Buddha in her next life. The reason? She spent her days applying gold leaf to the eight life-size Medicine Buddha statues housed in Tushita’s Medicine Buddha Gompa, and she applied gold-leaf to several hundred tsa tsas of Vajrasattva. A dedicated student of Lama Zopa Rinpoche for more than a decade, Detong leaves a trail of gold wherever she goes – she spent several months at Lama Zopa Rinpoche’s California residence doing gold-leaf there, too.
This work was completed in the late nineties. Detong made some comments about the work at this time: “It’s difficult doing gold-leaf work in this weather [in Dharamsala],” Detong said. “Because it’s so damp over the winter, the glue doesn’t dry properly, and then the gold dries at different rates on the faces.
When you apply gold leaf, you can’t do part of the face, then another part; you have to do the entire face at once. If you do it in sections, then you can see the marks, which isn’t so nice! The California environment was perfect for this kind of work, so it’s been harder here. I like this work to be as perfect as possible,” she continued.
A living room in Lama Zopa Rinpoche’s house at Tushita acted as her workshop, and a small stove helped warm the studio so the gold leaf could dry faster. “I thought I should stop and come back later, when the weather is better, but I try my best now, and I plan to finish by the end of March,” she said.
Despite what Detong thinks might be missed attempts at perfection, everyone else is delighted with her work, which will be appreciated for years to come. Since Tushita holds monthly Medicine Buddha pujas, Detong’s careful attention to detail makes the Medicine Buddhas statues’ presence that much more powerful.
Lama Yeshe in the aspect of Heruka Vajrasattva with Consort
The Vajrasattva Gompa, which is situated beside Lama Yeshe’s Stupa, is home to a statue of Lama Yeshe in Heruka Vajrasattva aspect with consort.
This very beautiful statue arrived at Tushita the winter of 1998. Since then it gave the many 3-month Vajrasattva retreatants and other practitioners much joy and inspiration.
Lama Yeshe once expressed the hope that all of his students would make the time to do the Vajrasattva retreat at least once before they died.
The Heruka Vajrasattva sadhana used during the retreat was composed by him.
Stupas at Tushita
When a great teacher passes away, his body is no more, but to indicate that his mind is dwelling forever in an unchanging way in the Dharmakaya, one will erect a stupa as a symbol of the mind of the Buddhas
H.H. Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche
For a teaching about this, read “The Benefits of Circumambulating Holy Stupas” by Lama Zopa Rinpoche.
Stupa of Lama Yeshe
Lama Thubten Yeshe was born in Tibet in 1935.
In 1984, after an intense decade of imparting a wide variety of incredible teachings and establishing one FPMT activity after another, at the age of forty-nine, Lama Yeshe passed away. Lama Yeshe’s stupa at Tushita contains many of his relics.
Lama had a very close connection to Tushita and we hope that eventually the room he lived in will be preserved as a museum in our new main building.
In 1972 Lama Yeshe and his heart disciple Lama Zopa Rinpoche purchased land in Dharamsala, the North Indian hill station that for many years has been the headquarters of His Holiness the Dalai Lama, and since 1971 the site of the Library of Tibetan Works and Archives. In a house formerly belonging to Kyabje Trijang Rinpoche, they established Tushita Retreat Center. Here many serious students from the Kopan meditation courses, the Dharamsala Library classes and other centers have come to use the ever-expanding retreat facilities to advance their spiritual practice.
During these early years, students stayed for months, some even for years! These retreatants were very fortunate to have Lama Yeshe & Lama Zopa Rinpoche often around for personal advice. For more stories please visit: Tushita – Place of Joy.
Stupa of Geshe Rabten
Geshe Rabten (1920-1986) was born in Dhargye in Eastern Tibet in 1920. He spent twenty years first studying and then teaching at Sera Monastic University in Lhasa, where he gained renown as a great scholar, debator and meditation master.
After the Chinese occupation of Tibet, he escaped to India in 1959, where he completed his training and was appointed as a religious assistant to the Dalai Lama in the mid 1960’s.
Upon His Holiness’ request, Geshe Rabten began giving instruction on Tibetan Buddhism to Westerners in Dharmasala in 1969. He was one of the first Tibetan Buddhist masters to give teachings in the West, and was one of the principle gurus of Lama Thubten Yeshe and Lama Zopa Rinpoche, the founders of Tushita Meditation Centre. He also spent many years in solitary retreat, and wrote the book Song of the Profound View about his meditation experiences.
He went to live and teach in Switzerland in 1974, and founded Tharpa Choeling Center for Higher Buddhist Studies in 1979. He resided there as a full-time spiritual director before he passed away in 1986.
This Stupa contains relics from Geshe Rabten’s cremation.
Stupa of Geshe Wangdu
Geshe Wangdu’s stupa is built on the cremation site of a great meditator that lived in the mountains around Tushita Meditation Centre.
Geshe-la was a serious practitioner who did practices such as not eating for months on end.
Geshe Wangdu was a close friend of Lama Yeshe and one of Lama Zopa Rinpoche’s gurus. The stupa was built the same time as Lama Yeshe’s Stupa.
When Lama Yeshe died, Geshe Wangdu said “Lama Yeshe was my friend, he goes, so I go”. He died in meditative posture – his body staying upright for three days.
When his body was carried to the cremation site, the pall bearers report that it smelt sweet, like candy. After cremation, pure white ash remained of the body. These relics are in the stupa.
- Guided Meditation on February 20, 2017 9:30 am
- Movie Day on February 20, 2017 2:00 pm
- Losar on February 27, 2017
- Sutra of Golden Light Reading on February 27, 2017
- Introduction to Buddhism on March 2, 2017
- Guru Puja on March 7, 2017 6:30 pm
- Chotrul Duchen on March 12, 2017
- Medicine Buddha Puja on March 12, 2017
- Introduction to Buddhism on March 20, 2017
- Introduction to Buddhism on April 6, 2017
Tushita is a centre for the study and practice of Buddhism from the Tibetan Mahayana tradition. We're located in Northern India, in the forested hills above the town of McLeod Ganj, Dharamsala - the seat in exile of His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama.
Tushita aims to provide a friendly and conducive environment for people of all nationalities and backgrounds to learn about and put into practice the teachings of the Buddha. With this in mind we offer regular drop-in events and courses on introductory Buddhist philosophy and meditation, as well as intermediate level courses and group retreats for more experienced students.
February to November
Monday - Saturday
9:30 - 11:30am
a break for lunch and then...
12:30 - 4:00pm