A monumental sculpture for the Deden Tsuglagkhang Temple - the colossal 14ft tall statue of Buddha Shakyamuni, begun in July 1994 and completed in late 1995. This statue is symbolic of the huge influence the Buddha’s teachings have had on Tibetan culture, and because the statue was actually made in the temple where it was to be housed, the various stages of its creation were witnessed by members of the community. Everyone was able to participate in the required preparatory rituals. For example, there was an opportunity to contribute pieces of jewelry, part of an offering symbolic of prosperity. The community observed the assembly of the gilded parts of the statue, its being filled with scriptures, mantras and other sacred objects, and its final consecration.
The first project that our late statue-making master Pemba Dorje and his team worked on here at Norbulingka was the creation of the Buddha statue, which now graces the Deden Tsuglakhang temple, where it exerts a pacifying and stabilizing influence. It is said that the traditional image of the seated, meditating Buddha provokes neither anger nor desire but has an active, calming influence. Visitors at Norbulingka Institute are often charmed by the gardens and the architecture and are impressed by the industry and enthusiasm they find in the studios. Then, when they reach the head of the compound, the tremendous image of the Buddha in the temple has a profound impact.
The Buddha Shakyamuni statue is the principal object of reverence in the Norbulingka’s Deden Tsuglakhang, the “seat of happiness” Temple, which the members of the community circumambulate and where they assemble to pray on special occasions.