Last night, Kunzang Palyul Chöling, the temple at which the Sôgmô is a member of its sangha, launched a webathon in order to raise money for the Amitabha Stupa in Sedona, Arizona. Overlooking Sedona, Arizona, the Amitabha Stupa is a spiritual refuge for many locals and is a cause of pilgrimage for Buddhists from the East Coast as well. The webathon took place at the main Chöling in Poolesville, Maryland, in which donations were received the world round — from Genève, to Sedona itself.
A Stupa is the physical manifestation and representation of the enlightened mind, often dedicated to spiritual leaders or Buddhas. The Stupa in Sedona, Arizona, is dedicated to the Buddha Amitabha, whose name means “Infinite Light”, who reached nirvana “many aeons ago” in order to create a pureland for less rigorous practitioners of the Dharma. Another, smaller Stupa graces the landscape in Sedona: the six-foot White Tara Stupa, a stupa to the female Buddha who embodies long life and compassion.
OM AMI DEWA HRI — OM TARE TUTTARE TURE MAMA AYUH PUNYA JNANA PUSHTIM KURU SOHA
The two-hour-long webathon was a host of what is to be expect for the Stupa and its surrounding lands in the future. Artist David Carroll is currently creating a statue in bronze of Padmasambhava, Guru Rinpoche, that is to be placed on the Stupa grounds, should the grounds be saved from the risk of foreclosure. A celebratory concert is currently being planned for the Stupa grounds for later this month and shall host six bands. The stupa has also been host to multiple Buddhist events, such as the Tibetan New Year Losar, and has hosted Native American religious ceremonies with the Hopi Nation.
Later in the evening’s webathon, Ani Dawa, who oversaw construction of the Amitabha Stupa under the guidance of Jetsunma Akhön Lhamo, described in detail the work in creating the Stupa. “Many people are amazed when they learn that the Stupa is not hollow, but filled with prayers and other religious substances.” Ani Dawa described the red appearance of the Stupa, regulated both by the City of Sedona’s building codes and with the fact that the Stupa is dedicated to the Buddha Amitabha who, as Ani Rinchen described wonderfully, is red in colour to express the compassion he had in creating a pureland that less rigorous practitioners could attain upon death: Dewachen. Ani Dawa then described the ‘suppression chamber’, a chamber at the bottom of the Stupa filled with items to be suppressed: weapons, addictive substances, and so on. Above them are placed bags of cedar, rolls of mantras carefully stored in linen and placed right-side-up, and then loose cedar in the space between these rolls. This process is gone over again until the chamber is full, ending with the placement of tsa-tsas, small clay representations of the Stupa. A some six meter long tree was then shipped from Poolesville, in Maryland, to Sedona to be contructed as the tree of life and the spine of the Stupa, upon which were placed mantras and relics from past Rinpoches (Precious Lamas) and a stupa and dorje were carved into both ends of the ‘spine’. Ani Dawa then explained how the throne was placed upon the Stupa to create an image as beautiful as this:
Another Stupa, the White Tara Stupa, which is dedicated to the long life of the Venerable Gyaltrul Rinpoche, is also at risk of being lost to foreclosure.
In the evening’s webathon, the Sôgmô — acting through his Office and his duties as Sacra Flameno of the Collegio Sacerdae — sent messages to raise awareness of the potential loss of the Stupa sitting above Sedona, Arizona. The Sôgmô donated $50 to the Stupa in order to save it from foreclosure, an amount that was doubled to $100 due to a kind program last night. The total financial cost of the Stupa grounds, $100,000 USD, is expected to be paid by the end of June. Through earlier events, such as an art sale in Sedona, $60,000 has already been raised for the benefit of the Stupa. “I would like to thank all those who donated last night, their donations represent compassionate activity that will leave this Stupa intact for many generations to come,” the Sôgmô began. “Last night we witnessed much effort, from all around the country and the world — from Geneva, Switzerland, to Seattle, to save this Stupa from the ravages of a system that does not care for compassion or peace, as exemplified by the fact that this Stupa has this risk of being foreclosed upon. The Office of the Sôgmô and the entire Central People’s Government shall continue to work towards saving the Amitabha Stupa in Sedona, Arizona.”
$16,510 was raised last night for the Amitabha Stupa and another webathon is expected to raise even more money later this month. “This State shall continue to work with the rest of our Sangha members in Poolesville and Sedona towards the saving of the Amitabha Stupa.” The Office of the Sôgmô is considering becoming a friend of the Amitabha Stupa to work towards resolving the total cost of the loan for the Stupa project, totalling some $698,000. The Sôgmô has stated that at the Quintila PoliNations Summit in London, the State may present the Amitabha Stupa and explain the reasoning for its involvement and the purpose of saving the Stupa in Sedona, Arizona, as a part of the State presentation. “It is our duty, as both a Compassionate and Socialist State, to make sure that this symbol of peace and compassion remains. We shall work towards keeping this Stupa overlooking Sedona, as well as towards repairing the Migyur Dorje Stupa in Poolesville.”
— Sôgmô Sörgel.