Dorje Chang Institute Stupa

For those of you who are not familiar with the Foundation for the Preservation of the Mahayana Tradition, the best thing to do is to cut across to their home page. But since you're here *now*, their top man is Ven Lama Thubten Zopa Rinpoche, and he suggested to this centre they build this stupa, which is a "multiple door", or teaching one (the third in the traditional series of eight). This Rinpoche was my very first teacher, and you may as well know that I think he is Buddha. So there wasn't much hesitation when he asked me to help. The main builders were two (Western) monks living at the city centre. I even managed to persuade my root guru of the last 18 years, a karma kagyu monk (Ven Lama Karma Samten), who has much experience in stupa building, and who has taught me a bit; to come for the really big pour and help. He's a "hands on" lama, although, in this case, it was his prayers I wanted, as I was quite paranoid about all the formwork holding up!

Here you can see mortar being poured into polystyrene molds. We set wirenetting in the mortar, sticking out, and then tied all the floor steel (seen in the photo below). So when the concrete was eventually poured on top, it grabbed the mortar, and so on stripping away the formwork, all this intricate carving was revealed on the ceiling of the room below.

The beam bottoms (already hidden in this photo by the beam steel) are the most beautiful. Lifelike dragons adorn them. In this case the molds were clay. The principle was the same: when setting up the formwork, we lowered it enough to allow for the placement of the molds and a bit of mortar poured into them, (with wirenetting) then the engineered concrete began on top of that

This photo was taken just before the one above. It shows the steel for the beams being tied. You can also see the room below is quite tall, and the floor cantilevers out on all four sides one meter.

This was taken just before the "big pour" That's a *lot* of steel, all high tensile too! This is because the stupa to sit on top is quite heavy, and we get a few earthquakes in this part of the world.

Maybe now you can see why I was a bit paranoid about it sagging under the weight of the concrete.

The start of the "real" stupa, on top of that big cantilevered floor. The throne starts at about head level.

From the other side, still at the rough stage
Came up nice!

Dorje Chang Institute now have their own web page

Interested in the scan of the plans for this stupa? Scan

Visit The Foundation for the Preservation of the Mahayana Tradition

Go straight to a nice page about Lama Thubten Zopa Rinpoche

Go on to the next page in this tour, Mahamudra Centre, hopefully the images will have already loaded :)

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