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L i g h t w o r k s

    golden stupa

    Growing up in the 1970’s, I spent a lot of time in Eskdalemuir in Dumfries & Galloway, and was particularly drawn to the clarity of the pebbled waters of the White Esk which runs through the valley ~ so different from the muddy ponds and rivers I’d paddled in down South.

    One day I found a treasure in the water opposite Samye Ling Tibetan Buddhist Centre: a little stupa. I took it back there and was told I could keep it; that when they made statues and sacred objects there, the unwanted ones were thrown in the river.
    I’ve had it ever since, and wanted to make a piece of art around it. So last year I cast another little antique stupa in glass and on New Year’s day set both into a jewelled box shrine.

    Close up of the river stupa sitting in the box frame.

    Backlit at night...

    ...and sunlit in the day.

    A bird's eye view...

    The stupa which was used to make the mold which the glass panel was cast from.

    Golden stupa is 17.5cm high, 16.5cm wide & 7.5cm deep.

    You can buy it here :)

    A bit about stupas:

    Burial mounds in pre-Buddhist India, stupas now represent the seated Buddha at his moment of enlightenment ~ every aspect of them rich in psychological and cosmic meaning.

    The Sanskrit root of the word ‘stupa’ is thought to be ‘stu’, meaning to worship or praise. They are treasuries of votive offerings ~ sacred texts, jewels, and precious objects charged with ceremonial prayer and positive wishes, and can also be reliquaries housing the remains and possessions of the Buddha or revered disciples.

    A consecrated stupa is seen as an enlightened, animate presence; Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche said about them:

    “Within the stupa, the blessings of the teacher remain unchanging. The Buddha said whoever sees a stupa will be liberated by the sight of it, feels the breeze near it will be liberated by its touch, and hears the tinkling of the small bells around it, will be liberated by the sound. Having seen a stupa, by reflecting on one’s experience of it, one is liberated by recollection. May these stupas become a supreme object of offering, liberating whoever sees them, touches them, hears of them, or remembers them.”

    Though the little river-found stupa wasn’t consecrated, the one used to create the cast glass panel was.

    May this tiny stupa shrine embody this essence of peace and liberation.

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    © shenpen chökyi 2013