At the end of May this year Lama Thubten Kunsal arrived from Tashi
Gonsar Monastery in Dege, East Tibet. He has trained from the age
of fifteen with the most famous monastic artists in Tibet, first at
Palpung Monastery where he learned drawing and painting, then the
art of sculpture at his monastery in Dege, studying altogether for
20 years. He has completed a most beautiful statue of Amitabha, and
one of Vajrapani, and by the winter will have also completed a Four
Armed Chenrezig. These three statues are in the inner shrine of the
Stupa and are all more than life-size. Outside a magnificent statue
of Guru Rinpoche seated on a lotus in the middle of the Fountain of
Blessings has already been finished and will be painted before the
end of the autumn. It is almost unbelievable to see the effortless
speed and accuracy of the Lama's work. Karma Lamzang, a senior western
monk, has been acting as his assistant throughout. Having completed
the carved decoration of the stupa, Pema and Karpu Yolmo joined Lama
Thubten and Gyamtso the Umze (chant leader) who is a senior Tibetan
monk and also an artist, for the work on the Guru Rinpoche Statue.
the life stick, and blessed spinal armature of the statue was fixed
in place with precious relics and prayers wrapped around it by Akong
Rinpoche before he left for Tibet, in the presence of the wife and
daughter of the late Panchen Lama of Tibet. This took place on the
tenth day sacred to Guru Rinpoche and was also the anniversary of
his emanation on the human plane. This makes the statue exceptionally
blessed and powerful.
the statue Karpu and Pema began the outer decorative design of the
fountain and we hope to have enough funds to complete this and the
tiling of the basin of the fountain before the winter sets in. This
will depend on incoming donations.
The other work
of art nearly completed is the beautiful wooden bridge designed
by Chenden. He decided to stay on until he had finished the bridge,
the entrance canopy and the Stupa and has since changed his plans
to move to London, having found a cottage nearby as a base for freelance
work for which he is already available.
The errors in
construction of the copper spire were rectified in the late summer
and further remedial work to protect the bumpa has now been completed.
of Inner Shrine & Ashes by Minjyur Dorje Rinpoche in December
From Saturday December 7th until Sunday December 15th Tulku Minjyur
Dorje, who has completed three 3-year retreats in Sherabling, and
was the Retreat Master for the latter two, will visit Samye Ling
to give teachings and empowerments. He will lead a five-day Drubcho
to clear obstacles. This will include prayers for the dead and the
preparation of ashes for placing in the new Stupa. It had been hoped
that the wooden panelling and decoration of the inner Shrine would
be completed by the winter, but due to lack of funds this has not
been possible. One person's donation of £5,000 has made it
possible for the cabinet maker to begin work on the shrine. We still
need £100,000 to complete the project of which £60,000
will pay for the wood panelling and cabinets that will line the
walls of the Stupa Shrine Room.
for the Stupa Project
Donations - Always welcome! The brick fund, which we can now call
the tile, panel and brick fund is still an option and for a £10
pound donation to the stupa the name of the sponsor and also the
names of those the gift is dedicated to are entered in the Book
You can sponsor a brick or a part of the Fountain of Blessings for
£10, statues in the shrine room for £100 each, or the
future prayer wheels that will surround the Stupa for £200.
The cost of the Tiles that line the Fountain will be about £800.
Treks - have a new and more varied programme for 2003 and are
now all being organised by Doug Scott's new company, Community Action
Treks Ltd. This is the trading arm of his charity supporting the
traditions and lives of the Himalayan people by helping to build
and rebuild monasteries, schools, clinics and health posts, also
providing water and advice on diversifying agricultural and craft
production in remote areas. We hope with his help and experience
of exploration and Tibetan climbs to be able to expand this kind
of support into Tibet. Our brochure is available for next year and
each journey includes expert guidance and background teaching. The
pilgrimages will go to Sikkim, to Ladakh, Tibet and Nepal. The Kailash
Pilgrimage in May was a great success, led by Bradley Rowe once
again. He will also lead next years' pilgrimage to Kailash that
will begin on April 28th. On October 2nd a small group of pilgrim
trekkers set out on a ground breaking guided journey to East Tibet,
visiting on the way Akong Rinpoche's monastery in Chamdo, Drolma
Lhakang, and it is hoped they will also meet up with Rinpoche who
is in Tibet on the way. Each person that goes on one of these journeys
raises a minimum of £500 towards the Stupa Project.
None of this would be possible without the faithful voluntary work
of a one or two who work without payment or holidays answering the
phone and emails and doing all the humdrum daily tasks that ensure
steady progress. Thanks go particularly to Karma Sherab who has
appeared every morning and stayed until lunchtime for the last two
years to bring sanity and calm to the world of visa payments and
financial records. Thanks also to Brian who came to Samye Ling this
summer from a high powered Advertising Company and volunteered to
design our web site, new advertisements and leaflets.
A very happy,
peaceful and prosperous Water Horse year to everyone, and may all
your good wishes come true from the Stupa Team at Samye Ling.