An extremely important element in every stupa is the Tree of Life, a special wooden pole that forms the central core of the stupa’s structure.
The tree to be used for the Tree of Life must be found, blessed and felled, then planed and sealed before it is painted and covered with thousands of mantras in gold paint. It is then consecrated by the monks together with other items to be placed in the stupa in an elaborate tantric ritual ceremony. Only then is it ready to be positioned within the stupa structure at its very centre.
The search for the tree takes place in the immediate local area. It must be straight, at least 6.5m high, about 16cms in diameter, non-toxic and long lasting. Traditionally the tree might be sandalwood, juniper, olive or camphor.
The camphor laurel, prolific in the Byron Shire, is often regarded as undesirable as it tends to overtake native rainforest species. However the camphor tree is not bad in and of itself. Camphor has been used for cooking, in incense and in religious ceremonies for centuries. Camphor chests have been used for storing precious fabrics especially in Asia and are common in many households around the globe. And for the Tree of Life at the centre of our Kalachakra World Peace Stupa, the much-maligned camphor can come into its own. Its long lasting protective scent makes it a tree with ideal properties to bring positive results for its community and the world. What a wonderful lesson in terms of understanding duality and turning a negative into a positive!
And now there is a unique opportunity to join the monks for the first steps in the Tree of Life creation. At dawn on Saturday 21 May as the first rays of the sun strike the tree, the monks will offer a chant for world peace and for the life of the tree as the tree is felled. All are welcome to stay on after the ceremony to enjoy the gardens in the early morning air after a nice hot cup of tea.
The ceremony will be held in the camphor forest approximately 50 metres to the west of Lakshmi the goddess statue. Walk down the café stairs, follow the path left past Ganesh, and go around the right side of Lakshmi.
The Gyuto Monks have offered a preparatory blessing chant above the forest on Sunday May 15.
When: Saturday 21 May 2011
Where: Crystal Castle grounds
In India it is said that the mere sight of a Gyuto Monk is a blessing, but to hear the sound of their chanting is to be transformed. Don’t miss an amazing opportunity for both of these at a very special harmonic chanting performance at Crystal Castle on Saturday 28 May at 7.30pm.
This very special performance will be a glorious opportunity to experience this unique musical art form. The Gyuto Monks' pure voices combined with their ancient Tibetan instruments and the visual delight of their rich brocade costumes will make for an unforgettable evening.
The Gyuto Monks of Tibet are the masters of a unique tradition of harmonic overtone chanting. Trained over many years, each monk has developed the extraordinary capacity to chant in three octaves at the same time. The deep, stirring sounds produced have been called the 'sound of heaven' and are the subject of fascination by ethnomusicologists the world over.
The monks are able to reach incredibly low notes, way beyond the range of a Western operatic bass, and the resonance produced has an interesting similarity to the sound of a didgeridoo. In fact both sounds are considered to be audible embodiments of the human relationship to the principles that order the universe, that which the Buddhists call Dharma and the indigenous Australians simply call the Law.
All proceeds from the harmonic chanting performance will go to the ‘World Peace Stupa Project’ blessed by his holiness the Dalai Lama. The stupa will be the very first of its kind in Australia and will represent world peace.
Stupa’s are intricate, spiritual structures built under the guidance of a Tibetan Lama and every part of the design is endowed with special significance. Inside each stupa is a treasury filled with sacred objects and at the heart of the structure is the Tree of Life, a wooden pole covered with thousands of mantras written in gold.
The Kalachakra Stupa is a rare type of stupa with an unusual spherical body. It is created to protect against negative energies using symbolism from the Kalachakra Tantra. Kalachakra means ‘Wheel of Time’ and a Kalachakra Stupa is known as the stupa for world peace. It is specifically for restoring balance to the earth in times of war, conflict and environmental destruction. Tibetans believe that contributing to the building of a stupa is one of the most auspicious things one can do.
Whether it is their mastery of the human voice or the recitation of the Buddha's teachings that forms the content of the chanting, this unique musical phenomenon is simply not to be missed. Not only does it move the heart and stir the soul it is reputed to have a transformative effect on the physical as well as emotional body.
When: Saturday 28 May 2011
Where: Crystal Castle
Cost: $30 at the door (all proceeds to the development of the stupa)
The spirit of Kunzite appears as a winged heart revealing a strong and beautiful feminine face. The soft pinks and lilacs represent a surprising strength and depth of feeling within the heart. It takes courage and humility to truly open to the wisdom of the heart.
Kunzite teaches us that self-love is the foundation to open to all other love. When one’s heart is open, there is a wonderful recognition of being interconnected with all life. This is divine love.
Allow the energy of Kunzite to take you into the silence of your heart, the home of your divine love and the place where your true wisdom resides.
Crystal Spirit Cards have been created here in the Byron Shire by Gitama Day, a close friend to the Crystal Castle owners. Gitama has used the Crystal Castle crystals as the basis and inspiration to the incredible art work for each of the cards. $34.95 per deck/book set.
Crystal Spirit Cards are available for purchase at our online shop $34.95 per deck/book set.
“There is a tide in the affairs of men / Which, taken at the flood, leads on to fortune / Omitted, all the voyages of their life / Are bound in shallows and in miseries” - Shakespeare
“We are born at a given moment in a given place, and like vintage years of wine, we have the qualities of the year and of the season in which we are born” – Carl Jung
Quite so, says Astrology. And, going with the metaphor, recently there has been a veritable king tide of dynamic Aries energy, which, based on anecdotal evidence, has bestowed on many who have taken it at the flood the confidence and courage to have changed their lives for the better. This month however, the tide slows as the seasonal quality of zodiac energy takes on the earthy sensual tones of Taurus, as first Mars, then Mercury and Venus move into that sign on the 11th and 16th of May respectively, followed by Jupiter on the 4th of June. Note that Jupiter, the planet of higher mind and prosperity consciousness, will stay in Taurus for a full year, leaving only revolutionary Uranus to fly the Arien flag for the next 7 years.
Let’s compare and contrast Aries and Taurus now to see what we’re in for. Taurus consolidates and grounds what Aries starts or initiates. Aries is from Mars, Taurus is from Venus. Aries is the direct action warrior / hero, Taurus is the pleasure loving, beauty worshipping artist / lover. Marlon Brando, a Sun sign Aries with Venus in Taurus combines the two. Shakespeare, a Sun sign Taurus, gives the pure taste of the sign with this gem: “If music be the food of love, play on, give me excess of it”
More generally as a fixed earth sign, Taurus provides the resources and solid foundation on which to build something of lasting value, something that embodies and reflects a strong sense of self-worth. Taurus season is the right time to ask questions such as: What am I worth? Am I being paid, or giving to myself what I am worth? What is my life worth to me? Do my relationships reflect my own sense of self-worth and self-value? Am I being valued for my own sake or for what I have? And finally this one, so relevant for acquisitive Taurus, and so pertinent more generally for our modern materialistic age,: “If I am what I have, and I lose what I have, who then am I”? [Originally posed by psycho-analytic sage Erich Fromm]
Varij is a former tutor in Philosophy at Melbourne University and a writer for Wellbeing Astrology Magazine. A professional reader of over 25 years experience, he combines compassion and wisdom with a gifted intuition to deliver clear, positive and accurate guidance.
Varij has been with the Crystal Castle for seven years and is available for readings on Tuesdays and Wednesdays. Phone ahead to make your booking. 0266 84 3111