‘When you study and have no results, when you meditate and have no results, when you pray and have no results, go for pilgrimage’.
– Old Buddhist proverb
There are three ways of blessing: one being can bless another being, a being can bless a place and a place can bless a being. By coming into contact with it, a holy place blesses our body and mind, helping to transform us.
After 12 years we finally received the permits to conclude the construction of the Centre and the first step is to finalise the temple of Heaven on Earth, our holy place. This will include a library, a wisdom planetary museum, a Protector gompa, a retreat centre for all practitioners and rooms for Lamas.
Together with the help of everyone, we can make it happen and complete the construction for Rinpoche’s 79th birthday in July 2019.
We ask the support of everyone to make this dream come true.
How it all started
When Lama Gangchen Rinpoche came from Tibet to India, he made a commitment to help others by sharing the Dharma in accordance to his own lineage and tradition. His intention was – and still is – to promote world peace through the development of inner peace.
Throughout the years that followed, in the 70s, he had visions that, in order to share the Dharma, he should establish in a place surrounded by five mountains in the back and a lake in the front. At that time there was no plan to go to the West so he looked for such a place in India and Nepal. In the beginning of the 80s, Rinpoche finally arrived in Europe and started adapting the teachings and the practice to our modern society. His intention was to share with us the tools to heal oneself and others as a path to enlightenment. He found in this modern society a fertile ground for planting and watering the seeds of enlightenment and keeping his own lineage alive for the benefit of all.
And so, since then he has dedicated his life to us. He constantly sought out that place with a lake in the front and mountains behind to establish his activities.
In 1999, after starting to rebuild his monastery in Tibet, in the very same month of January, one of his disciples and friend, Patrizia, found a place with five mountains and a lake in Italy, near Switzerland – exactly as Rinpoche had requested her. This place was called Albagnano. Patrizia called Rinpoche in Tibet to share the news. The land in Albagnano was seen as a twin of the Gangchen monastery and was therefore called Gangchen Choepel Ling. Once Rinpoche fulfilled his responsibility from his previous life towards his monastery in Tibet by rebuilding it, the doors to accomplish the mission of this life in the modern world opened up.
At the time, with the help of kind friends, he settled in Albagnano, where he has since been living. Here are also located the operational Headquarters of the Lama Gangchen World Peace Foundation, a United Nations affiliated NGO with ECOSOC consultative status. Rinpoche has been investing his energy to transform this place in nature not only into a pure environment, but also in a holy place for pilgrimage, healing, spiritual practice and study. A centre for learning, comprehending and meditating, where the Dharma can be taught, the practice can be done and by that, the lineage kept alive.
A lineage is kept alive when there are people that by following the teachings through an interrupted transmission put them into practice and gain the realisations. In order for that to happen, we must share the teachings, comprehend them and meditate.
Rinpoche has been giving us the greatest of all gifts: the pathway to liberate ourselves from the sufferings of samsara and to help others by reaching the ultimate state of buddhahood. In other words, he has taught us that developing inner peace is the only way to reach world peace. As Rinpoche himself says ‘inner peace is the most solid foundation for world peace’.
To achieve this, we need centres for study, comprehension, meditation and healing where we can have all the necessary conditions to cultivate our qualities and reach a deeper state of inner peace. Albagnano Healing Meditation Centre was founded with this intention and a master plan was created for the healing of body and mind in a pure environment.
In order to fulfil these aims, Rinpoche envisioned a temple with a buddhist library, a peace culture museum – the wisdom planetary museum – and a retreat centre. In addition, he planned to build housing for Lamas, a multipurpose conference hall and the necessary facilities to accommodate and welcome practitioners and guests from all over the world.
The centre was meant to be a hub for anyone interested in a spiritual path, regardless of cultural and religious background.
Obtaining the permits
Albagnano Healing Meditation Centre – Gangchen Choepel Ling – is located in a pure environment neighbouring the natural reserve of the Sacred Mountain of Ghiffa and is minutes away from Italy’s biggest wilderness area, the Val Grande National Park.
In order to fulfil the goals of the Centre, in 2004 a formal request was presented to the local Municipality of Bèe to change its Master Plan (Piano Regolatore Generale Comunale) and allow for the construction of the temple and all the necessary facilities.
To make a long story short, after 12 years of bureaucracy, architectural plans, proposals, meetings, negotiations and an environmental assessment, the Master Plan of Bèe was changed and integrated with a customised project (S.U.E. Lama Gangchen), recognising the area of the centre as being of social, cultural and religious purpose.
In December 2017, an agreement was eventually signed between the Fondazione Lama Gangchen per una Cultura di Pace (Lama Gangchen Peace Culture Foundation) and the Municipality, granting us the permission to renovate and rebuild the existing structures.
The complete project contemplates 2300 sq meters of new construction, which is divided among the temple, new rooms for guests, and a multipurpose conference hall.
In addition, as with the completion of the project the local government foresees a considerable increase in visitors, they have ordered the construction of a secure and accessible road connecting the village of Albagnano to the Centre.
Making it happen
Rinpoche is extremely happy to have received this long-awaited permit.
So with this wonderful news, and for His health and long life, it is time to act and make it happen.
My wish is to complete the whole project for the occasion of His 81st birthday, in July 2021. We have only four years ahead and we should now give priority to the temple.
By March 2018, a detailed executive plan for the building of the temple will be finished, providing us the exact costs and construction deadlines.
I plan to start the construction of the temple – including the library, museum, retreat centre, Protector gompa and rooms for Lamas – by September 2018. The enlarged building would then be inaugurated for Rinpoche’s birthday in July 2019.
I commit myself to taking care of the realisation of this dream together with a team of architects, engineers and construction experts. But it will only be possible with the help of all of us together.
With that objective in mind, we are now starting the fundraising campaign.
January 1st, 2018 – Lama Michel Rinpoche
The Temple of Heaven on Earth
The temple supports us on our path to enlightenment by providing the conditions to listen, comprehend and meditate.
The ground floor is dedicated to the transmission of the lineage and the process of listening. All the teachings, initiations and transmissions are given in the main meditation and prayer hall.
On the first floor, a Buddhist library will be a space for reflexion and study, to further understand the teachings.
On the same floor will also be the wisdom planetary museum, to share knowledge through multimedia platforms.
The second floor is fully reserved for retreat, supporting the teachings and practices received.
- Ground floor: 500 sq meters main meditation and prayer hall for teachings, initiations, transmissions and retreats. A holy place open to the public. It will be extended by a new entrance area with a reception area, toilets and shoe racks.
- First floor:
- A 160 sq meters Buddhist library in memory of the kindness of H.H. the Great 10th Panchen Lama
- The Wisdom Planetary Museum. 155 sq meters of interactive museum as envisioned by Lama Gangchen.
- Peace Protector’s temple. 40 sq meters solely dedicated to the Dharmapalas, like every temple in Tibet.
- 3 suites for Lamas, 28 sq meters each.
- Second floor: Retreat House of Kechara. 500 sq meters divided as follows:
- 155 sq meters retreat meditation hall
- 18 beds in 7 double rooms with private bathroom and 3 single rooms with shared bathroom
- Tea and relaxation room for session breaks
The Executive Plan and the coordination of works are managed by a professional company that operates with BIM (Building Information Modelling), a 3D model-based process that allows to efficiently plan, design, construct, and manage buildings and infrastructure. Any change on the BIM automatically updates the final costs according to offers from third parties.
TEMPLE OF HEAVEN ON EARTH: FACTS AND FIGURES
- 1200 sq meters additional space to listen, comprehend and meditate
- Buddhist library
- interactive museum
- dedicated Peace Protector gompa
- entire retreat floor for 120 people
- rooms for Lamas inside the temple
Support the project
How to contribute:
The 2000 Buddhas of Enlightenment
The fundraising campaign ‘the 2000 Buddhas of Enlightenment’ is dedicated to the long life and good health of Lama Gangchen Rinpoche and all other Masters of the lineage.
On the second floor of the temple, the name and dedication of each donor will be associated to one (or more) image(s) of the Buddha. Each Buddha of Enlightenment represents the achievement of inner, world and environment peace. Any donation can either be named after a person or a purpose.
The preliminary estimated cost of the Temple of Heaven on Earth project is Euro 2.200.000, which has been divided in 2000 parts.
Each part equals a donation of Euro 1100 and corresponds to the image of one of the 2000 Buddhas of Enlightenment.
It is possible to sponsor more Buddhas or to divide the amount of Euro 1100 into monthly instalments. This will help everyone to be able to participate.
To sum up, you can:
- make a single donation. It is also possible to offer multiple Buddha images at once
- divide the payment in monthly instalments
- donate at the reception of Albagnano Healing Meditation Centre, in cash or with debit/credit card
- donate via Bank transfer
Fondazione Lama Gangchen per una Cultura di Pace
Ag. di Milano filiale 05000
Piazza Paolo Ferrari, 10 – 20121 Milano – Italy
IBAN – IT29P0335901600100000157185
Abi/Bank code 03359 – Cab/Branch number 01600
BIC/SWIFT – BCITITMX