The Buddhist Festival of Light was celebrated at the Great Stupa of Universal Compassion over the last couple of days. I was there last night with my camera in hand. It was a very pleasant evening enjoyed by a good crowd. There was an excellent choice of vegetarian food available!
Kids were particularly thrilled with the illuminated creatures. The light show and the fireworks also hit the spot.
Festivities concluded with the Burning of the Bad. People had written their negative thoughts and problems on pieces of paper during the course of the two days. These were added to a great fire in the hope that all negativity would be dispelled by the flames. The Buddha was kind to those who’d written the names Tony Abbott and Bill Shorten.
It’s about a 20 minute drive from the bats of Bendigo to the Great Stupa of Universal Compassion. When it’s completed it will be the largest stupa outside of Asia and will provide a place of pilgrimage and comfort to Buddhists of all traditions. I’ve been dropping by to watch its development over the last few years.
It is the same design and size as the Gyantse Stupa (Kumbum) in Tibet, 50 metres square at its base and nearly 50 metres high.
The Dalai Lama visited and blessed the stupa in 2007.
The stupa is home to many gorgeous objects but perhaps the best of all is a statue of the Buddha carved from a single 18 tonne boulder of jade.
The boulder originated in Canada, the carving was undertaken in Thailand. It was completed in 2008 and then went on a world tour visiting 125 cities across 20 countries where nearly 12 million people have seen it. Many have waited for hours in queues sometimes several kilometres long. It came home last May and now has pride of place inside the stupa.
This is how it is today …
I was fortunate enough to be given permission to put the drone up.
The assemblies on the ground to the right of the building will be going on top. If you compare it with the Gyantse Stupa you can see that another square story has to be added first.
The plan is for a pair of cranes to lift the top into place sometime in August. I hope to be there.