Karma Choeling, page two

This was a very memorable day. Having got the formwork for the middle set of thrones ready, we were debating on pouring: about three hours work. The skies were overcast, the forecast gloomy. We had a doctor up from Wellington for a few days, a windy city some half New Zealand away (four hundred miles). He was keen, so we started.

The thunder came, the daylight went so badly Joseph had to nearly get inside the mixer to see how it was coming along. Lightening flashed, and the rain came in such torrents I remember vividly me and Dr. Dwayne standing motionless and silent with our arms bent at the elbow, forearms pointing straight up so the water wouldn't fill up our gloves whilst we waited for Jo to feel happy with the mix....when we finished, it stopped, so I took this photo of them, muddy but triumphant!

Getting the wheelbarrow up that plank in the mud and pouring rain was a mission: but as you might guess, the temperature was perfect, which definitely helps. We didn't drop one that day.

Vens Lama Samten and Lama Shedrup doing their practice over the Mahakala shrines in two of the thrones.

Inside the Mahakala shrine. If you are familiar with Tibetan Buddhism, you will recognise most of the items: offerings of flowers, incense, food etc surrounding a central mandala, with protective mantras in sealed jars in the cardinal directions. There are 24 tsa tsa in each corner. These are clay stupas, in each case consecrated with a mantra inserted in the base, painted, and decorated with an "umbrella" top. There is a minimum number of such items in a respectable stupa: around a thousand.

Now you can see the "four steps" section in full production. We used customwood.....can't remember what you call that in the states: it's much cheaper than ply, but hates to get wet, so we painted it, and mostly only used each bit two or three times. There's a fair amount of steel in the concrete, as we get a lot of
a) earthquakes
b) land movement here;
it's a young country :)

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