Gold Rings
Gold Rings
Natural Bridge, VA, USA:

Follow progress of the 8 Stupas—

In 2023, the Bodhi Path network began a project to install eight stupas at its Natural Bridge, Virginia retreat center, around the center’s original Stupa of Enlightenment. The conditions have come together for the project’s progress, with a planned completion date in June of 2024, a notable year during which Bodhi Path is commemorating the 10th year since the parinirvana of the 14th Shamar Rinpoche.

Each stupa will be about 7.5 feet tall (about 2.3 meters) including a pedestal base and will be designed to represent the eight distinct important events in the life of Buddha Shakyamuni. Seven of them will have an artistically created tsa tsa depicting a life event, visible to the public (all except the parinirvana stupa with its own design). Read more about the art illustrations and the stories that they tell of significant events in the life of the Buddha.

Karma Trinlay Rinpoche gave a talk on stupas for more background information on stupas.

Many Bodhi Path centers are involved in rolling mantras and making tsa tsas.

If inspired, you can make offerings to this wonderful and rare project.

Check back soon and often for our progress and how you can participate! The latest news with photos show things coming together. Also take a peak at the metal and stone elements in their early stages.

More Things Coming Together

Stone is on the water. Metal parts are on their way. Foundations have been put in. Pumbas, tsa tsas, and life trees are being made. Local Natural Bridge Retreat Center site photos from resident Dharma Teacher Tsony.

Traveling Lamas

Lamas traveled some from overseas, to Virginia for two weeks up to eight weeks to support this project and perform ceremonies, including:

  • Blessing the fillings for the stupas: tsa tsas, mantra rolls and so on.
  • Placing the fillings inside stupas.
  • Assisting in assembling the stupa elements.
  • Leading inauguration ceremonies.

Mantra Rolling and Tsa Tsa Making

Stupas are filled with precious objects including mantra rolls and tsa tsas, which are blessed by lamas before they are placed inside the stupas. Many Bodhi Path students from various centers are involved in making the rolls and tsa tsas, some of whom are pictured below.

Artwork for Bas Relief Tsa Tsas

The artwork below was created for custom-made bas relief tsa tsas that will be placed in seven of the eight stupas (all except the parinirvana stupa with its own unique design). Each illustration, about a major event in the Buddha’s life, was researched by our teacher Karma Trinlay Rinpoche, who also provided seed funding to initiate this $25,000 bas relief tsa tsa undertaking. Subsequently, students have completed the funding for the production of this part of the project.

Metal Elements and Stone Building Blocks

This project is truly global in scope. The granite stone pieces are from a stone quarry and are being carved in Poland. Metal elements are being fabricated in Germany and gilded there by an expert in gold application for stupas. Arrangements have been made to deliver the elements to the Natural Bridge Retreat Center, where the parts will be assembled and the stupas will be filled by lamas. The stupa architect worked closely with Karma Trinlay Rinpoche on the stupas’ designs, and then with the artisans to execute their parts of the process.

Photo Credits

  • Stone elements: Piramida
  • Metal elements: Heino Santo
  • Gold elements: Barbara Walther