The new main hall, Gompa (shrine room), will house a large Buddha statue in the middle surrounded by 1,000 statues of the Shakyamuni Buddha in 200 small altars. These Buddha statues have been painstakingly hand-molded by Buddhists in North Carolina and throughout the United States over the last 13 years as an expression of gratitude towards the Buddha and his teachings for the good and benefit of many, out of compassion for all beings.
These Shakyamuni Buddha statues are based on a very famous ancient statue in Nepal. Each Buddha wears a graceful robe imprinted with the Eight Auspicious Symbols (https://fpmt.org/mandala/archives/mandala-for-2014/july/eight-auspicious-signs/).
After hand-casting, the followings occurs.
- All Buddha statues are sanded and fine-tuned to ready them for painting. This process takes about 1 to 2 hours for each statue.
- Buddha statues are washed and then dried indoors for at least 3 months to obtain the perfect condition for painting.
- The statues then are hand painted with three layers of the same paint that is used to paint Buddha statues in Thailand.
- A Tibetan artist who graduated from an Art School in Dharamsala, India, then carefully paints the details on each Buddha statue.
- Before being placed in the main hall of the new temple, the Buddha statues will be filled with blessings of the Buddha’s enlightened body, speech, mind, qualities and activity; mantras and mandalas; earth and other sacred substances.
- After the Buddha statues are filled, a ceremony will be performed to purify the statues of defilements and to bless them with enlightened body, speech and mind through meditation, mantras, and prayers.
Mantras, meaning “mind protection,” are Sanskrit syllables that “embody the qualities of the deity which they represent. They bring benefit to all who see, touch, hear or speak them. In the case of statues, many mantras are individually cut out and then rolled up around a stick of incense, bundled and then placed inside the statue in a specific order, according to the deity being represented. Lama Yeshe says, “Mantra is energy. It is always pure, and cannot be contaminated by negative thought processes. As mantra is not gross energy, it cannot be corrupted the way sensory phenomena are corrupted by our own minds.”