|The Stupas at Rumtek
In order to preserve as an object
of veneration for all beings the precious remains of the unequalled
protector of the teachings and all beings in the world, the Sixteenth
Gyalwang Karmapa, a thirteen-foot stupa in the style of that which
appeared when the Buddha descended from the realm of the gods, made
of gold and copper, has been created. A two-foot stupa in the style
of that which appeared upon the Buddha's awakening, made entirely
of gold, has been created to contain His Holiness's heart, tongue,
and eyes which he left for his followers out of great kindness.
Together with these are a five-foot image of Vajradhara; three-foot
images of Tilopa, Naropa, Marpa, Milarepa, Gampopa, the sixteen
Karmapas, and Tai Situ Pema Wangchok Gyalpo; and two-foot images
of Mahakala, Mahakali, and Vajrasadhu.
The consecration of these was begun on the twenty-second day of
the ninth month of the Iron Dog Year, 1982, the occasion of the
Buddha's descent from the realm of the gods, and was performed for
a week, accompanied by extensive offerings, by His Holiness's principal
disciples assisted by many tulkus, lamas, and the sangha.
Although all the actions of our teacher Buddha Shakyamuni were
pure and appropriate means of taming his various disciples, among
these four are considered supreme: his display of miracles; his
awakening; his first turning of the Dharmachakra; and his descent
from the realm of the gods which came about as follows.
Maya, the Buddha's mother, was reborn after her death in the realm
of the thirty-three gods. In order to repay her kindness the Buddha
spent the three summer months of that year teaching her in that
realm. Having ripened his mother and others, he returned to the
human realm on the twenty-second day of the ninth month. The gods
created a stairway made of beryl, gold, and silver which the Buddha
descended, attended by Brahma and Indra. He arrived in the town
of Kashi [the modern-day Benares], in the midst of many sravakas
and other people. Commemorating this occasion, this style of stupa,
decorated with steps, was first erected at Kashi.
Because it is taught throughout the Buddha's teachings and their
commentaries that the effects of virtue and wrongdoing are billions
of times more powerful on the four great occasions connected with
the Buddha's life, His Holiness performed most of his dharma activities
on these four occasions. Therefore, his final action, the placing
of his remains and his heart, tongue, and eyes in their stupas,
has been performed on the occasion of the Buddha's descent from
the realm of the gods.