Adding a little harmony

By SASKIA KONYNENBURG, Northern Advocate, Feb 25, 2008

Whangarei, New Zealand -- A BUDDHIST Stupa which aims to emit special energy bringing peace and harmony to the surrounding community was opened on top of a hill overlooking Whangarei yesterday.

<< From left, Professor Patu Hohepa and Venerable Geshe Sangey Thinely. Picture/John Stone

As dark clouds blackened the city, sun shone on the Tibetan Buddhist Centre in Parakiore Rd where the Stupa has been completed after eight years of hard work.

Tibetan Buddhists believe Stupas promote harmony, prosperity, longevity, good health, peace and freedom from ignorance. They also subdue fear, corruption, and pollution to bring blessings to the environment in which they are built.

Whangarei Mayor Stan Semenoff officially opened the Stupa, watched by the Venerable Geshe Sangey Thinley from the centre, Tai Tokerau kaumatua Professor Patu Hohepa and Thuten Kesang from Friends of Tibet New Zealand.

Addressing the audience first in Te Reo then English, Professor Hohepa said the community needed the monks' patience, foresight and long history of knowledge to bring out Maori inner peace.

"What you have bought here is a promise, a feeling of dedication that peace will prevail," he said.

Thuten Kesang said Tibetans come from the land of the long white mountains and here they were being welcomed into the land of the long white cloud.

Dire weather had hampered efforts to fully complete the Stupa, but he said: "If you think positive thoughts then you will always get positive results."

The director of the centre, Paul Currie, thanked everyone for their hard work, including local contractors who had voluntarily given their expert help to the project.

He said there was still improvements to be made, including installing a kitchenette.

"The help we've had from sponsors and volunteers has been amazing. The effort from everyone has been phenomenal. Trust in the process and allow it to come," Mr Currie said.

Each Stupa in the Tibetan tradition sits upon a square base called the Lions Seat. The four sides refer to four qualities of mind - love, compassion, joy and equanimity - basic to the attainment of enlightenment.