Visitors to the Auckland Buddhist Vihara may have noticed that near the Bodhi Tree there is now a beautiful stone stupa. This stupa was carved in Indonesia in the same style and material as the famous stupas of Borobudur. A stupa is similar to a Buddha statue in that it represents and reminds us of the path to Awakening. Building a stupa is a way of honouring the Buddha and his Teachings. It is an expression of respect that generates the causes for enlightenment. Whenever we show sincere devotion towards images that represent our noble aspirations, that intentional act is right effort. It is the effort that brings up wholesome states of mind into consciousness and encourages them to grow.
Physical representations of the Buddha, Dhamma or Sangha are designed as tools for us to reflect on what these three gems mean to us, both internally and externally. Reflecting on the profound meaning of the Triple Gem and how they manifest in our lives can give rise to innumerable wholesome mental states that begin to guide us towards that which is of utmost benefit. Bowing down to a stupa is an opportunity to place our head and ego at the feet of our highest aspirations.
Many people, in addition to Ajahn Chandako, offered their time and effort to make the Vihara Stupa possible. Irene Mardiono liaised with the carver and mediated the complicated logistics of shipping the stupa to New Zealand. Harsha Devendra also helped with the shipping and managed the complicated task of lifting the very heavy monument into place. Edward Dawson, Chandra Ananda, John Hibbs, Mike Hew and Freddie Abeysekara did an excellent job of hand-building the rock wall at the base.
These people who worked so hard to create this stupa have a request. Please do not place any oil lamps or candles on or next to it, as the oil and soot will permanently stain the stupa. Devotion must be tempered with wisdom.