FPMT News Around the World
By Steve Milton
Centro Nagarjuna Valencia in Valencia, Spain has just completed construction of a new altar. Center director Steve Milton recently shared with Mandala the inspiring story of the altar’s creation. The center has created a photo gallery documenting the construction process.
During the puja for His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s birthday in 2009, Dagri Rinpoche, who was visiting our center at the time, said that he was very pleased with the emphasis on in-depth study at the center and that we were very lucky to have such a learned resident lama as Geshe Lamsang. Dagri Rinpoche said that he would like to offer the center the complete collection of Buddha’s teachings and their commentaries (Kangyur and Tengyur) to have on the altar as this would be very beneficial.
We were all very moved by Dagri Rinpoche’s generosity and kindness. It became clear we would need to make a new altar in order to place all these sacred texts. We started fundraising right away. I researched advice on making altars from Lama Zopa Rinpoche [information on this is available in the FPMT Members Area]. Fernando Sanz, a member of our center who is a professional designer, drew up a plan for an altar that would fit along the wall of our gompa and be able to hold the hundreds of texts. Geshe Lamsang also gave us his advice and input. And as soon as we had a design we were happy with, local carpenters set to work.
As the altar is so large, it was made in modules that would all fit together in the center. When the day came to assemble the altar, the carpenters took pride in doing the best job possible as it was obvious to them that this was something that was of great importance to the center. While we were working, I mentioned to the main carpenter, Luis, that what he had built will hold many holy objects and will inspire the many people coming to the center and that for him it will create a lot of positive energy. He said he hoped so as business had been really bad and he had to lay off people. There had also been a break-in at his workshop and to top it off, he said, the other day someone had smashed his car side window and stolen his mobile phone.
The next day Luis came later than the other workers. Arriving by taxi, his glum mood had changed. “I think your right, Steve,” he said. “You won’t believe it, but last night I got the go-ahead on a big job that I’d put a quote in for a long time ago. And then this morning, on the way here chatting to the taxi driver, he asked me to give him a quote for a job. I think my luck is changing at last!”
“Luck” for a Buddhist practitioner is explained by merit and karma; how skillful the lamas are in encouraging us to have holy objects in order to create merit! Even someone who comes to the center for a yoga class and sees all those texts, statues and stupas, according to Lama Zopa Rinpoche, purifies “countless eons of negative karma!”
We have just received one of the life-size Maitreya statues offered by Lama Zopa Rinpoche, and we plan to put it in the reception area so it will be the first thing you see when you come into the center. Luis, the carpenter, is making Maitreya’s throne, and if you want a share of the good merit, you just need to rejoice!
With 158 centers, projects and services around the globe, there is always news on FPMT activities, teachers and events. Mandala hopes to share as many of these timely stories as possible. If you have news you would like to share, please let us know.