Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Deer Park

Deer Park
Artist Tenzin Choephel, one of whom worked on temple art for the new center at Deer Park, seen at right
Source: Madison.com Photo Gallery

As referenced in the last post, in the summer of 1981 a Kalachakra initiation was held at Deer Park, about ten miles south of Madison, Wisconsin. It was the first Kalachakra ceremony for world peace held in the West.

Deer Park was founded in 1975 by Ven. Geshe Lhundup Sopa, who began offering Buddhist teachings and hosting Tibetan cultural events in Wisconsin in 1975. Invited to the U.S.A. by the University of Wisconsin to teach Tibetan, Sopa later retired as Professor of Buddhist Studies and has been teaching and sharing his knowledge for over three decades in the heartland of the States. In addition to being the founder and contributing much to the heart and soul of Deer Park Buddhist Center and its community, Geshe Lhundub Sopa is also the Director and Abbot of Deer Park Buddhist Center and Monastery.

Ven. Geshe Sopa was also instrumental in what today is a vigorous and sizeable Tibetan community in the local area. A majority of the exiles in the growing Tibetan diaspora in the mid to late 20th century found refuge and new home in India, Nepal, Bhutan, Switzerland, France, Great Britain, Canada and the United States. In the United States, as elsewhere, efforts of numerous individuals merged to help create resettlement nodes where Tibetans and their families could gradually move, settle and create new homes. The Madison, Wisconsin area was one such node.

As with many other centers, Deer Park has a history of offering not only numerous Buddhist teachings, but also interreligious events, conferences and retreats. A monastery on the grounds is the home to resident monks and as with many other centers, the aspiration and efforts to establish a temple reflective of Tibetan Buddhist architectural principles has come to fruition at Deer Park.

As Sopa himself remarks-

“The Deer Park Buddhist Center is a mirror of a Tibetan Buddhist Temple specifically designed to embody Buddha’s teachings."
-Ven. Geshe Lhundub Sopa, Article: Deer Park Center- Just About Ready

In his Introduction to the Temple Project at Deer Park, Geshe Sopa also remarks on the usefulness of the visual form of a building and it's accompanying arts to present to visitors the Buddha's teachings in visual form. Not only was the temple envisioned to be heavily modeled off of Tibetan Buddhist principles, but also to embody strong elements of sustainable design. Modern concepts of sustainable design and building merge with a traditional approach towards layout with respect and regards of the surrounding landscape and incorporating Buddhist symbology and art throughout the physical form.

AEI Affiliated Engineer's Design for Deer Park's new center
Source: AEI website

No comments:

Post a Comment