Pagoda project

Pagoda elevation

Pagoda elevation

Background

Pagoda cells allow each meditator to work separately, with little or no outside disturbance, and to practise more deeply.

The original core of the pagoda was built in 1990, in time for Goenkaji’s visit that year; a simple brick structure with 36 cells on one level, and a concrete roof.

Architect Bal Saini said the 2006 design was intended to be: simple yet austere, noble and impressive. It was approved by Council in 2008.   Since then half of the outer ring and eight cells on the upper floor have been completed, a total of 62 cells.

The design includes a traditional Burmese stupa – like those at Dhammagiri in India, or at Sayagyi U Ba Khin’s centre in Yangon, Burma. These were inspired by the Shwedagon pagoda, whose vast and graceful structure dominates the skyline of Yangon.

Side view of the inner structure of the pagoda

Side view of the pagoda’s inner structure

Debt of gratitude

Emperor Ashoka of Maghada (India) sent two arahants, Sona and Uttara, in about 228 BC to Burma to spread Dhamma. In Burma both the words and the practice of Dhamma survived. The Burmese express their gratitude by building stupas as a reminder of their debt to India.

The Dhamma Bhūmi pagoda will reference this link with India and Burma, evoking the memory of our debt of gratitude to the lineage of teachers and saints going back to the Buddha, and to the country which preserved the pure practice of Vipassana meditation for so long.

Practical inspiration

This inspiration has a very practical effect on a meditator. Goenkaji has explained that the sight of the stupa generates a feeling of transcending joy, which then gives rise to tranquillity. Tranquillity helps the meditator achieve strong concentration. This in turn leads to deeper insight and a profounder understanding of anicca, dukkha and anatta.

Completing the pagoda

A meditator has set up facilities in Burma to manufacture stupas in kit form and ship them to the other countries. The materials are lightweight, fire-resistant fibreglass with steel reinforcement. The kits can be easily assembled by a team of builders and a crane.

The estimated cost of the main stupa is $55,000, of the small stupas $4000 each. More cells are also needed and it is also hoped to complete the upper floor in the next twelve months.

Floor plan

Floor plan of the pagoda extension

Donations to the pagoda project

If you wish to contribute towards this meritorious project, you can make a direct deposit to:

Vipassana Meditation Centre Building Fund
Commonwealth Bank of Australia
BSB 062-507
Account number 0080-0145
Payee Description: ‘Pagoda’

Please advise the Centre so a receipt can be sent to you – vmc.accounts@gmail.com. Donations to the Building Fund are tax deductible in Australia.