Items Enshrined Within the Vimutti As part of the process of creating the stupa at Vimutti Buddhist

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Transcript of Items Enshrined Within the Vimutti As part of the process of creating the stupa at Vimutti Buddhist

  • Items Enshrined Within the Vimutti Stupa

    The items enshrined within the stupa are carefully and reverently ordered in a hierarchy based on height and level of significance. The relics themselves are placed in the square section, known as the harmika, near the top of the stupa. Directly below them, the bell-shaped section, known as the anda, contains the Pali Canon (Tipitaka). This area also includes four large Buddha statues, thousands of smaller ones, and numerous sacred objects of psychic potency. All these are at the head-level of people circumambulating. In the square base below, directly underneath the stupa, is a large box containing personal items in a time capsule.

    Buddha Relics, Pali and English versions of the Tipitaka and granite plaques await enshrining within the stupa.

    The Pali Canon (Tipitaka)

    The Suttas, the collection of the Buddha’s teachings, and the Vinaya, the monastic

    code of training, are (together with the earliest Chinese translations) historically

    considered to be the most accurate record of what the Buddha actually taught. Two

    and a half thousand years after these Dhamma talks were given, the Suttas

    continue to provide a profound and relevant guide to liberation of consciousness.

    The Vinaya provides the framework for these teachings to become manifest in daily

    life. The third group of teachings, the Abhidhamma (along with a few of the more

    obscure books included the Suttas) are considered to postdate the Buddha by a

  • hundred years or more. They, however, were also included in the Tipitaka due to

    their edifying value. The total comprises a sizable collection of hefty books.

    As part of the Vimutti Stupa project, we printed a one-off Vimutti Edition of the Pali

    Canon on special durable paper designed to last for hundreds of years. The English

    version was comprised of the most current translations available. Both the Pali and

    English collections are encased in airtight, heavy-duty polyethylene boxes, welded

    shut for maximum longevity. This should do an excellent job of preserving the

    written legacy of the Buddha Dhamma. When and if a future society discovers,

    opens, reads and puts the words into practice, our efforts to carry on the teachings

    of the Buddha will have been successful. In the meantime, their presence within the

    stupa makes this shrine all the more meaningful.

    Placing the Tipitaka into the Vimuti Stupa is a sign of respect, but please remember

    that the Suttas and Vinaya are meant to be read, contemplated, discussed and put

    into practice by people such as ourselves, so that we too may taste the liberating

    flavor of the Dhamma. This is how we can truly honour the Buddha and preserve his

    teachings.

  • The Buddhas

    Over 2600 Buddhas were enshrined in the Vimutti Stupa, one for every year since

    the Buddha’s birth. Four one-metre tall stone Buddhas, sitting back to back facing

    the cardinal directions, on a large, round, polished stone table, form the main

    structure of the inner shrine. In addition to these large statues, people offered

    thousands of smaller Buddhas to include within the stupa. Most of these were

    carefully packed in watertight boxes, but some joined the large Buddhas on the

    shrine table.

    The Vimutti Stupa is modeled somewhat on the stupas of Borobudur, the vast three-

    dimensional mandala in Indonesia. Appropriately, the four large Buddha statues

    were carved near Borobudur, in the same style and from the same stone as the

    originals. These constitute the internal guardians of the stupa.

  • The Granite Tablets

    Included within the inner shrine of the Vimutti Stupa are numerous black granite

    tablets and plaques inscribed with core teachings of the Buddha. One tablet

    contains quotes from the Dhammacakkappavattana, Anattalakkhana, Adittapariyaya

    and Girimananda Suttas, both in Pali and English. Another tablet contains a detailed

    summary of the Buddha’s teachings. Other plaques are carved with the photos and

    biographies of Venerable Ajahn Mun and Venerable Ajahn Chah, leading masters of

    the contemporary Thai Forest Tradition. Other plaques offer explanations of the

    stupa and its contents.

  • Examples of inscribed granite plaques within the Vimutti Stupa

    These stone tablets should adequately withstand the decays of time for many

    thousands of years, ensuring that the Dhamma will be available in some form for

    distant generations. A couple hundred years after the Buddha passed away, the

    great Buddhist monarch, King Asoka, had large stone pillars erected throughout

    India inscribed with the basic tenets of the Dhamma. His wish was that the peaceful

    and liberating words of the Buddha would be known far and wide—and far into the

    future. With a similar aspiration, we have engraved these words in granite.

  • The Central Pillar

    A wooden pole fashioned from a tree planted at the stupa site many years prior was

    enshrined as the central pillar within the inner shrine. This trunk was carved into a

    four-sided tapering pole, painted and subsequently blessed by monks and nuns

    from all major Buddhist traditions. Covered with their written aspirations for future

    generations, the pole is filled with Dhamma sayings, chants and blessings in

    English, Thai, Sinhalese, Burmese, Tibetan, and Chinese. The pole was then

    wrapped in a colorful exuberance of Buddhist flags and scarves before being sealed

    into a large airtight polyethylene enclosure.

    The Vimutti Stupa time capsule being transported to the building site

  • The Time Capsule

    As part of the process of creating the stupa at Vimutti Buddhist Monastery, the local

    community was given the opportunity to include personal items in a time capsule

    that would be buried in the foundations directly below the stupa. Within a year, we

    had received items not only from New Zealand but from around the globe.

    On the full moon of February 2011, the Buddhist holiday of Magha Puja, we held a

    celebration to enshrine the items collected for the time capsule. These were later

    packed into watertight boxes, which were then packed inside one large, sturdy and

    airtight polyethylene box. This was then welded shut before being hoisted into a

    larger concrete box at the stupa site. With this extremely thorough protection, it can

    be expected that the majority of the items will withstand the test of time for hundreds

    or (in the case of the stone, glass, ceramic and metal items) thousands of years.

    What form of society will exist in such a distant future is a question of much

    speculation. However, it is hoped that the discovery of these items will offer future

    generations a portal of understanding into the year 2011, representing the people,

    lands and cultures from across the planet.

    It was a touching process for the Sangha to gradually sort and pack the plethora of

    objects and packages so carefully prepared by the hundreds of people who offered

    items for the time capsule. Each item symbolised the people and activities that held

    meaning for them. For many, their offerings were an act of renunciation, giving up

    possessions that they’d had for decades, items of great sentimental or material

    value, or laying to rest memories of the past. The amount of love, care and devotion

    with which these items were given was deeply moving. People put much thought

    into making up small representative packages that reflected their lives.

    Finally, we included an engraved metal sign with the following message:

    On Magha Puja, the full moon of February 2011, these personal articles were placed

    in the base of Vimutti Stupa by the local Buddhist community. The items represent

    the lives, hopes, memories, love and aspirations of hundreds of our Dhamma

    friends.

    May they all soon attain the supreme happiness of Nibbana.

    Vimutti Buddhist Monastery

    Bombay, New Zealand

    List of Items in the Inner Shrine of the Vimutti Stupa

    Internal Guardian Buddhas

    Four 100cm tall Borobudur Buddhas, sitting on a two-metre diameter stone table,

    facing the four cardinal directions

  • Large Polyethylene Box #1

    Tipitaka in Pali, printed by Vimutti Buddhist Monastery as a special Vimutti edition

    Sunil’s Buddha wrapped in Ajahn Chandako’s civara and sabong

    Large Polyethylene Box #2

    Tipitaka in English

    Monk’s bowl and cover

    Triple set of bhikkhu robes

    A marble stupa that contains a Buddha image (Pra Kreuang) made by Somdet Dto

    A marble monk’s bowl filled with hundreds of small Buddhas

    Bronze Sarnath Buddha statue with the Dhammacakkha sutta inscribed on the back

    Tipitaka volumes in Thai and Sinhalese

    Digital Dhamma:

    Tipitaka in Pali and English

    1080 copies of the Dhammacakka pavanthana sutta

    A large collection of audio chants

    Photos of:

    The Relics, close ups in high resolution

    Masters (Krooba Ajahns) of the Thai Forest Tradition

    The history of Vimutti Buddhist Monastery

    The Vimutti website