Merigar West, the first Gar of the International Dzogchen Community, has built a new stupa. Built in the “Complete Victory” style, its name is Palbar Chorten, meaning the Stupa of Blazing Splendor or the Stupa of Rising Glory. This marvelous achievement took a lot of effort from many members of our Community: sponsors, organizers, and workers, collaborating under the guidance of Migmar Tsering. Merigar already has two other stupas, both built in the “Enlightenment” style. The smaller one was constructed in 1983 and the much larger one in 1998. The Palbar Chorten was built on the occasion of the Fire Monkey year, the same as the year of birth of Guru Padmasambhava. It is dedicated to the long life of our precious Master Chögyal Namkhai Norbu.
Located on a small hill near the Temple of the Great Contemplation, near the statue of Adzom Drugpa, the Palbar Chorten is surrounded by open space on all four sides, so you can enjoy both the sunrise and the sunset throughout the year, with a view of both Monte Amiata and Monte Labbro. It is a perfect spot for practice and relaxation.
What makes this stupa unique, aside from the precious relics used to bless it, is that it is made of Carrara marble, renowned for its quality as a building material because it has the capacity to remain intact for centuries. Sculptors and builders have used Carrara marble since antiquity because of its softness and resistance to shattering. It took about 18 tons of this precious material to create the sixteen jigsaw-like pieces that make up the stupa, some of them weighing over two tons.
Construction started in the early morning of the first day of Tibetan New Year (February 9, 2016), when a boy born in the year of the Dog dug the first spade of earth to mark the beginning of work. In keeping with traditional practice, many objects symbolizing war, obstacles, and negativities were placed under the foundation. These objects are symbolically controlled by the stupa itself, as it is filled with sacred materials and symbols. Once the heavily armed concrete was poured, we had to wait for several months for the concrete to dry well enough to support several tons of marble. At that point, the vase, filled with four layers of sacred substances and objects, including precious materials and objects such as rolled mantra scrolls and tsatsas prepared by practitioners, was inserted inside the base. Then the first block of marble was put in place and the construction of the visible part of the Stupa commenced.
On the auspicious anniversary of Guru Padmasambhava, the 10th day of the 6th month (August 13, 2016), our precious Master Chögyal Namkhai Norbu led the ritual of Sang and Serkyem to bless and inaugurate the stupa. At that point the height of the assembled marble blocks reached about one and a half meters. A collection of teachings of our precious Master, recorded on different supports, was carefully placed inside the stupa, followed by another vase with precious substances and relics, and on top of that the tree of life, the wooden pole forming the center of the stupa. The pole is made of a special kind of wood, filled with relics and mantra scrolls, carved into an obelisk-like shape with the tip of a gold-plated vajra at its base, and inscribed with important mantras written with golden paint. Many additional sacred and precious materials were then placed inside the stupa, around the central pole, not leaving a single empty space.
Once the stupa was fully assembled, the central part was sealed and a statue of a nirmanakaya manifestation of Guru Padmasambhava was set in the ornamented opening facing the east.
The work, however, is not quite done. In the spring the marble needs to be puttied with a special stucco, a path for circumambulating the stupa needs to be created, lights for illuminating it at night need to be installed, a path to the stupa needs to be made, and finally a beautiful flower garden needs to be grown around it. Though the project is nearly complete, we are facing a lack of funds. Not all of the total project cost of € 57,500 has been covered yet. Contributing to a project as beneficial as a stupa is a wonderful source of merit, and the Palbar Chorten is especially important for members of the Dzogchen Community all over the world. All are most welcome to participate.
Auspiciously, the work went perfectly without anything going wrong, which is close to miraculous as marble is very fragile and building blocks so large and heavy. The last day of work, January 25, 2017, ended with the top ornament of the stupa being put in place while the sun was setting behind it. The sky was illuminated in amazing colors and remained perfectly limpid, clear, and blue sky for three days. How wonderful! A la la ho!
To make an offering for the Merigar Palbar Chorten, please send your contribution to:
Banca Etruria CC 92203 Comunità Dzogchen Merigar
IBAN code IT28D0539072190000000092203
SWIFT/BIC code ARBAIT33126