A long time ago we heard one quote from Buddha. It sounded like this:
"Just as a lotus is born out of mud, the most beautiful things often arise in the most awful times."
This is how our story began.
Outside was the typical smell of the coming spring. May began slowly and we had everything over our head in recent years. Literally exhaustion of from our demanding managerial work began to manifest itself in health. We have long been convinced and confirmed that it will be good. In May 2017, however, we realized that it could not go on like this and we said enough. Enough! We finished some of the necessary things, packed up 5 T-shirts, shorts and flip-flops, and set off with the backpack on our backs beyond our imagination. At the end of summer, we found ourselves in ancient Anuradhapura. Historic town almost 3000 years old, on an island nicknamed the "Emerald of the Indian Ocean".
Yes, we are in Sri Lanka.
After walking in this old town, in addition to wildlife and tropical fruits, we have discovered a few wonderful buildings. They were tens of meters high. As we came closer to them, we immediately felt something incredible, something indescribable. We found ourselves in a completely different world, we looked at everything as if with different eyes, and we were filled with a sense of peace, well-being and directly the child's joy of life. Feelings that we have long forgotten through our exhausting and stressful work. We could just sit here for hours.
We thought we had a lot to do at work.
However, this same feeling was repeated every day as we approached these huge constructions. We still had to think about it. That evening we started talking to the locals. We have a very friendly conversation with young Sagar, whose mom worked in the local museum of the historical park. Slowly we were getting clear. We found that these buildings are called stupas. To our surprise, we find that they are hollow and filled with various sacred relics that have an inexplicable effect on our body, mind and spirit. This is exactly what we felt.
We have therefore become more interested in these stupas.
After about two and a half months traveling around Southeast Asia, we toyed with the idea that we would like something similar at home. However, we found that it would not be easy at all. When we realized that nothing like that could be bought, we thought about how to do it. We inquired, asked the locals,… and we still couldn't find a solution. Occasionally we came across a shop where it was possible to buy small stupas, but they were more like decorations, could not be filled in any way and did not radiate anything. Nothing like what we experienced with the great stupas. We were disappointed and wanted to give up. But there came the thought - what about making a stupa yourself? All right, but how? That probably can't be just that. We sent an idea and she started to materialize quite quickly.
Meanwhile, we are in the north of Thailand.
It was about half past two at night and we were sitting on a night bus from Chiang Rai to Bangkok. It was 13 hours ahead of us on the bus and we didn't want to sleep at all. So we started to study various materials for stupas, what they should look like, what proportions, shapes, symbolism, meaning…
WOW. There was a lot.
And we started drawing.
The first drawing was made on the phone, in the middle of the night during a bus ride, and it looked like this:
In Thailand we met amazing people who enriched us incredibly and led us in the right direction. We were very grateful for that. Soon we had a precise procedure and instructions on how to make a stupa to be truly functional. To be alive. Most of the information was drawn from a script by Lama Zopa Rinpoche, where we found instructions for the construction of the stupa itself, along with the materials and items that the stupa must contain to be a living being.
After a few months in Asia we are home again.
Autumn is in full swing and the approaching winter is the perfect time to make something so big. At the same time, we chose the Tibetan type of stupa that appealed to us the most.
Each country we visited in Asia had a different architecture.
However, the Tibetan stupas captivated us so much that it was decided.
We went into it.
When we transferred our drawing from Thailand to the actual paper size and added symbolic ornaments, we thought… so we do not know how to make it.
Well judge for yourself :)
But we have started and that is important.
We stepped out, took the first step, and the road began to reveal itself. Soon a prototype was on our table.
It took a full 5 months for the stupa to look somehow.
After another month we finished the details, finished the technical functionality, finished the exterior decoration and it looked really great. We still don't had the most important thing. Filling the stupa. How to fill the stupa? As we mentioned, thanks to the texts written by Lama Zopa Rinpoche, we had a precise procedure. So the next month it took us to roll the sacred mantras on the Tibetan incense and prepare other objects, such as Buddha statues, precious stones, mandalas, we made the tree of life, sacred herbs, virgin sand, rice, yellow cloth…
and the holiest relic that enlivens spiritual objects.
During that time we even learned to write mantras in Tibetan :)
Ohhh, that was the way..
But friends, we can say it was worth it..
Originally we planned to make the stupa only for ourselves, to home. But the interest was getting bigger than we expected. Noticed first by the family, then acquaintances, other acquaintances, then acquaintances of acquaintances ... and so on. It sincerely pleased us. We were extremely pleased that we and our loved ones could at least partially experience the feelings we experienced for the first time in Anuradhapura.
It wasn't long before we thought that there would certainly be more people to do the same thing we did. They would like to have a stupa and its energy at home, looking for a stupa, but they can't get it anywhere. So the idea of producing a stupa for potential customers was born. That is why the website www.stupy.cz was created so that we can let others know that we are doing something like this.
As we mentioned, we chose the Tibetan Enlightenment Stupa for our home.
In our search for information, we learned about the projects of the non-profit organization MOST ProTibet, which were very appealing to us and we decided to meet people from MOST and talk about the possibilities of mutual support.
And so the idea of exposing our stupa at the Festival ProTibet was born.
That excited us.
But, exhibiting only one stupa when there are eight types of Tibetan stupas?
It started shaking our heads.
A dream was born from an idea.
Dream, expose all eight types of Tibetan stupas, in gilded design. Eight stupas with deep symbolism and reference to the story of Prince Siddhartha, who became Buddha Shakyamuni. It would be great, we thought. Help spread to west to us through an exhibition of Buddhist philosophy of compassion and nonviolence that is systematically liquidated in Tibet.
There were 11 months left till the exhibition and we had only one stupa. In addition, we have been home for almost a year from our last work, the money ran out and one of us had to work so that at least the other could continue on the stupas. We also wanted to complete the filling and blessing of the stupa on our altar, for which everything was created. However, we were unclear about some of the performance issues. However, we sent an idea, and soon afterwards, as if by chance, we were contacted by a man who offered us help with the filling, with whom he had rich experience and who learned to filling from the Tibetan lamas.
So we found that it was necessary to change not only the filling, but also the entire construction of the stupa. Ohhh :). And then it was fast, in a few months we were done and we filled our stupa a year after the idea of making a stupa. In the meantime, however, we ran out of last savings and we both had to work.
Our dream about the exhibition ended in a drawer.
The ritual of the filling was also attended by our friends, who were so enthusiastic about the stupa that they asked us to make the stupa for them and help us pull our dream out of the drawer. We bought the material and started the production of seven other types. It was 8 months till the exhibition and our work duties took most of the time we spent on make a stupas before.
It was difficult and we admit that we often wanted to give up.
In these difficult times, we kept on to our dream, also because of the two Tibetan children that we adopted through MOST ProTibet immediately after taking up work. The desire to help them preserve their culture and education did not allow us to give up. We invested all the free time and a few days of vacation in the production of the exhibition.
So in March 2019 we unveiled an exhibition of eight Tibetan stupas.
You won't believe us, but we finished the last stupa just minutes before the show.
After the Olomouc exhibition we moved the stupas to the Tibet Open House in Prague, where they were seen for more than a month.
During the installation of the exhibition, our stupa was blessed by the great lama Chamtrul Rinpoche, and this completed the whole process from the idea to the realization of the stupa on our altar.
After both exhibitions we needed to rest. Two years of intensive work and learning new things were behind us. We didn't have to think for a long time and decided to fly to Sri Lanka, where the story of the stupas began. At that time we had no idea what to expect in Sri Lanka. We had a lot of experiences, but the strongest one was building a large, almost 90-meter-high stupa.
It was something incredible and very symbolic for us.
After two years, we returned exactly to the place where the idea of our stupas originated to continue building the great stupa in ancient Anuradhapura.
Until now, we are shivering on our backs.
In the autumn of 2019, the entire stupas exhibition was moved to the Tibet Center Institute in Hüttenberg, Austria, for important visits.