My trip to central Victoria this weekend was not complete without visiting The Great Stupa of Universal Compassion, the largest Buddhist monument in the western world. The Stupa is 50m high and has been built to last 1,000 years. When it’s completed it will be worth $20M, and it’s still receiving donations from people in Asia and internationally to help with the construction. There is still a lot of work to be done on the building, which is a bit of a draughty egg shell but has the feeling of a masterpiece in progress. When it’s complete next year, it will be painted ornately on the inside and outside by Tibetan artists, and it will have a mandala on the ceiling. There are four vases buried beneath the foundations of the building, holding mantras, treasure and herbs as offerings to the local spirits.
The land in Bendigo is owned by Ian Green, a practicing Buddhist who has travelled in India. He inherited 20 hectares of land from his father and decided to use it for this purpose.
A large Jade Buddha is on it’s way around the world with a message for each country. The jade is from Canada and was carved in Thailand, and it’s being exhibited as a reflection of peace, before it reaches it’s final home in Bendigo. There is a large collection of relics and artwork at the Stupa, including a large brass statue of Padmasambhava, donated from Thailand and seated inside the Stupa. It displays a rather menacing expression, which is very apt as he is there to ward off evil spirits.
There will be a hotel and restaurant built at the site, a monastery, a museum and a hospice.
The main aim of this building has nothing to do with religion, it is:
- To inspire people to seek a peaceful and spiritual path.
- To be a pilgrimage place for Buddhists from around the world.
- To provide a refuge of peace and serenity
- To help explain Buddhism to anyone interested (my sons asked lots of questions and learnt all about how Buddah was a sheltered prince who never left his palace, but decided to venture out into the poverty stricken areas of India and live like the people there, so he could learn from them and become enlightened).
- To provide a Gompa for use by monks from Thubten Shedrup Ling Monastery and members of the Atisha Buddhist Centre.
- To be of service to as many beings as possible.
I’m looking forward to paying it another visit when it’s complete, and to seeing all the fine details. I’m sure it will be enjoyed by many.