The Mahasiddha Sanctuary for Universal Peace
at Lumbini, the Birthplace of the Buddha
For many years, His Eminence Shyalpa Tenzin Rinpoche has searched for an opportunity to build a monastery on one of the sacred pilgrimage sites of the Buddha. A series of auspicious coincidences and Rinpoche’s clear vision have finally made this aspiration a reality. Planning for a magnificent monastery, The Mahasiddha Sanctuary for Universal Peace, at Lumbini, Nepal is now underway. Fundraising for this project and several related projects has begun. The Mahasidda Sanctuary will be the centerpiece of Rinpoche’s compassionate activities around the world.
In the 6th century BCE, Queen Mayadevi was journeying to her homeland to give birth to her first son. She stopped to rest at Lumbini, a cool and peaceful garden filled with beautiful flowers and sal trees. It was here that she gave birth to the luminous Siddhartha Gautama. This holy child was destined from birth to become the Buddha, the Enlightened One. Lumbini is sacred ground where Lord Buddha came into the world to manifest awakening and lead beings to the state of complete enlightenment.
Since the birth of Siddhartha, Lumbini has been an important pilgrimage place; however, in the past few hundred years the site was largely neglected. In 1967, His Excellency U Thant, the Secretary General of the United Nations, himself a Buddhist, visited Lumbini and was moved by its profound significance. He went on to propose the development of Lumbini as a major center for pilgrimage for peace lovers around the world. Subsequently, the United Nations commissioned the renowned Japanese architect Kenzo Tange to develop a master plan for the site, which is larger in area than Central Park in New York City. The master plan was approved in 1978.
In 1985, the Lumbini Development Trust was established to carry out the implementation of the master plan. This plan includes two zones reserved for monasteries. The first monastery was established in 1992, and many have been built since then; however, the land directly adjacent to the Sacred Garden where the Buddha was born has remained undeveloped. This most perfect parcel of land has been entrusted to His Eminence for the Mahasiddha Sanctuary Project.
In November 2013, over 2,500 devotees gathered near the Sacred Garden to collectively recite 100 million mantras invoking the Buddha’s wisdom, and viewed the ground-breaking ceremony for the Mahasiddha Sanctuary for Universal Peace. Now construction will soon be underway. It is expected that this sacred undertaking will be completed within 4 to 5 years.
This most brilliant modern design was envisioned by His Eminence and based on the traditional Buddhist symbols of a lotus (purity), a butter lamp (clarity), an offering mandala (generosity), and a stupa (spiritual wisdom). The world-renowned German architect Professor Stephan Braunfels (who is known especially for the architectural beauty of the German Parliament Building in Berlin) has rendered a design that is commensurate with Rinpoche’s vision. At the request of the Lumbini Development committee, the structure will be engineered to last for over a thousand years.
The sanctuary will consist of a magnificent main hall honoring the birth of the Buddha, a museum, a print and digital library (containing a complete collection of Buddhist literature to date in all languages), a retreat center, conference facilities, and accommodation for monks and nuns. The sanctuary’s design transcends religion, culture, race, and nationality. It will serve as a focal point for everyone to channel their energies towards the great purpose of universal harmony and happiness.
Due to its sublime nature, the merit and good karma generated from participating in this project will be immeasurable. Rinpoche’s compassionate wish is that everyone has an equal opportunity to share in the benefit of the positive energy and blessings that emanate from this sacred endeavor. To this end, Rinpoche invites everyone to contribute even a single dollar, as it is not the amount that is important, but rather the spirit of generosity and good will with which it is offered. If one gives with pure motivation, just one dollar will be like a single drop of water in the vast ocean, and as the ocean always remains, this meritorious act will never be exhausted. In this way, all of humankind has an opportunity to share in the profound merit!
In Rinpoche’s own words: “It is relatively easy to build a temple, to raise funds and complete the construction. However, this project is really about germinating seeds of universal harmony and peace by asking everyone to participate with pure love, a compassionate heart, and a mind totally free of personal agenda. According to the message of the Buddha, this standard of generosity is what will engender peace, harmony, tolerance, and understanding in the hearts and minds of people throughout the world.” For a project of this scope and magnitude, your generous monetary support is needed. However, what is far more important is the spirit of giving with a pure and loving heart, and a sincere interest in promoting peace, tolerance, and understanding. As Rinpoche often says, “We are all simply breathing human beings who wish to be happy and to avoid suffering.”
His Eminence Shyalpa Tenzin Rinpoche feels that your participation will make a meaningful contribution towards genuine understanding and harmony in our troubled world. Over 2,600 years ago the Buddha showed us that a loving and benevolent mind engaged in wholesome activities has the power to change the world. Please sincerely consider supporting this very worthy project from the core of your heart, and may you embrace this as a most meaningful endeavor in establishing genuine love and peace in the world.
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon on his visit to Lumbini:
“I am awestruck by the beauty and profound significance of this site, the birthplace of the Lord Buddha. Being here, I am reminded of his amazing life journey from sheltered prince to founder of one of the world’s great religions. And I am moved by his example of voluntarily leaving behind comfortable circumstances to confront the painful realities of life and to help others overcome them. Above all, as Secretary-General of the United Nations, I am all the more inspired to work for peace throughout the world. I sincerely hope that we can learn from his lessons, from his teachings and his philosophy to bring peace, stability, harmony, reconciliation and friendship among people of different beliefs, different religions and cultures. This is exactly what human beings should promote and pursue for a better world, a more peaceful, more prosperous world.”