From the very beginning of the Buddhist Centre in Grabnik we harboured a genuine wish to build a temple (Tib. lhakhang) here. Kyabje Tenga Rinpoche has always encouraged us to do so. Unfortunately, circumstances were not favourable and it took a while before all conditions needed to launch the construction came together.
The final decision was made in the summer of 2011, during the second Kagyu Monlam in Poland. Then, Kyabje Tenga Rinpoche gave a speech which moved the hearts of all listeners. He foretold that the temple which would be built here through the combined effort of our entire sangha, would last for kalpas, bringing unsurpassable benefit and contributing to the development of the Dharma. Rinpoche also performed the ceremony of consecrating the site intended for construction (Tib. sa chok) and offered the first donation thus inspiring others to be generous.
Here are Rinpoche’s words:
"In the near future we are planning to build a temple at Benchen Karma Kamtsang Centre in Grabnik. This temple will remain here for many kalpas. During its existence many Dharma activities will be performed there by lamas, khenpos and Buddhist masters, bringing much benefit to a great number of beings.
All the disciples will be able to gather there to practice and share Dharma together, and because they will receive a lot of empowerments and teachings there, it will become a place where a great deal of merit will be accumulated. This lhakang, or temple, will remain here for a very long time, during which it will definitely help us to accumulate a great deal of merit. In other words, performing Dharma activities within the walls of this temple will bring much benefit and accumulation of merit.
As an example of the benefits brought about by building a monastery or a temple, we can take the case of the first Karmapa, Dusum Khyenpa. He came into this world 900 years ago. He was instructed by his master, Gampopa, to go to Kampo Gangra to practice there in retreat. Karmapa spent seventeen years there and established a small monastery. This monastery, known as the first seat of Karmapa, is considered the mandala of body. Then, according to Gampopa’s prophecy, Karmapa went to a place called Karma Gön where he spent six years and established another small monastery. This is the second seat of Karmapa and it is considered the mandala of speech. He finally went to Tsurphu, where he established the main seat of Karmapas, considered the mandala of mind. Even though 900 years have passed, all the monasteries that he established still remain. And although at times in the past some of these monasteries were destroyed, they were rebuilt and are still there performing activities that bring great benefit to all sentient beings.
In the same way, if we managed to build a temple here in Poland at the site of Benchen Karma Kamtsang Centre, this temple will not be destroyed. It will remain and will not be empty for many, many generations, for hundreds of years, and during this time many important and precious Dharma activities will be performed there. The merit accumulated by all those who will help build and maintain the temple will be great and will continuously multiply. Therefore, I request that all Dharma brothers and sisters contribute and help build the temple in whatever way they can. Please, keep that advice in your hearts."
Lhakhang, literally "House of Gods", is the Tibetan name for a shrine-hall, that is a room or building where religious ceremonies and practices are held. Its focal point is the altar. Sometimes within one monastery there are several different shrines halls. The entire monastic compound including the shrine halls and monks' quarters is called "a gompa". However, nowadays in Western Dharma centres, this term is often used for the shrine room itself.
The custom of giving separate names for lhakhangs, different from the names of the entire monasteries, has existed in Tibet since centuries. For example, the main shrine hall in Benchen Monastery in Tibet has its own name, independent from the name of the monastery, as does the lhakhang within the Benchen Shedra Institute in Pharping.
Following this tradition, during his stay in Nepal in October 2016 Lama Rinchen requested His Eminence Sangye Nyenpa Rinpoche to give a separate name to our lhakhang in Grabnik. Rinpoche enthusiastically agreed and decided to call the shrine Lhakhang Jinlab Trinpung - Clouds of Blessings Temple.
This is an exceptionally auspicious name. This is how one of the main temples of the Khadampa tradition was called, from which the Kagyu school draws many teachings and inspiration.
The Buddhist Centre in Grabnik is called Benchen Karma Kamtsang Ling Grabnik and within it separate names were given to:
the shrine: Lhakhang Jinlab Trinpung (Clouds of Blessings Temple)
the three-year retreat: Drubkhang Benchen Drubde Osal Ling (Clear Light Benchen Retreat Centre).
Meeting with Tenga Rinpoche - the construction design for the lhakhang is put forward for approval.
WHAT IS DONE
Already in autumn 2011 we were offered a structural design of the shrine hall which was subsequently approved by both Rinpoches: His Eminence Sangye Nyenpa Rinpoche and Kyabje Tenga Rinpoche.
We obtained the building permit on 27 September 2012 and the construction went underway in October. The foundations and walls grew quickly.
On 7 August 2013 we built in a brick which was much earlier consecrated for this purpose by His Holiness the Dalai Lama requested by Lama Rinchen during his visit to Warsaw in 2000. His Holiness personally wrote the three sacred syllables OM AH HUNG on the brick. It was placed in the wall which now is the background for the main Buddha statue; it is installed at the level of the statue's heart.
During the summer course in 2013 His Eminence Sangye Nyenpa Rinpoche offered to sponsor the main statue for the shrine, one of Sakyamuni Buddha with all surrounding ornaments. The statue ordered by Rinpoche was made in Nepal.
Thanks to the generosity of the benefactors from our sangha, the roofed shell of the building was ready by autumn 2013. In the beginning of April 2014 we purchased and fit in all the windows.
In spring 2015 the lhakhang was plastered on the outside and covered with the first layer of paint. The entire surface of the floor was insulated and covered with a layer of concrete. The structure supporting the Buddha statue was built and covered with granite.
In the last week of February 2015 the boxes containing the parts of the Buddha statue arrived from Kathmandu to Poland. Assembling and filling the statue began in mid-May. Lama Gelek Paljor from Benchen monastery in Kathmandu - the assistant of Kyabje Tenga Rinpoche for many years, supervised them. Owing to the contribution of many people we prepared all the necessary materials and substances needed to fill the statue in a relatively short time. We placed the ornaments, filled and set the Buddha statue in place just before the arrival of Sangye Nyenpa Rinpoche.
We were also offered a huge thangka depicting the Refuge Tree. It stands out not only due to its size, but also because of the precision of the details.
On Sunday, 27 September 2015, His Eminence Sangye Nyenpa Rinpoche performed the ceremony of consecrating the Buddha statue (Tib. rab-ne). Rinpoche, who sponsored not only the production but also the transport of the statue to Poland, in his immense kindness, ordered in Nepal and promised to send to Grabnik, two additional statues which should accompany the Buddha statue (these are statues depicting the two main disciples of the Buddha: Shariputra and Maudgalyayana) as well as traditional ornaments for Buddha's throne made of granite. Rinpoche also offered a canopy to be placed over the Buddha's head and brocade ornaments for the pillars. The brocades are already arranged in the shrine.
In the beginning of 2016 the heating system was installed. The last layer of thermal insulation and OSB boards were placed on the floor. In the future, we plan to finish the floor with a layer of quality wood, however at the moment there are much more urgent things requiring expenditure.
The sidewalls of the altar we also covered with granite. We plan to add traditionally ornamented wooden niches flanking the Buddha statue. There will be more statues (including 21 Taras), as well as holy texts containing the entire Buddhist canon - Kangyur and Tengyur.
In Autumn 2016, two additional statues offered by Sangye Nyenpa Rinpoche, came to Poland.
They have been gilded, assembled and thoroughly filled with mantras, life trees and other substances. In December, specially educated monk, Yeshe Chophel, painted the faces of the three statues with gold which was also offered by Rinpoche. In Spring 2017, metal ornaments on the Buddha throne were painted and applied.
Meanwhile, we continued with the works around the building. Cloakrooms by the side entries to the temple as well as the room where tormas are made have been finished. In Summer 2017 in June, we managed to paint the elevation of the building claret and to cover the roof with yellow sheet metal. Works connected with gutters and draining were also included. At the same time, we also finished adorning the Buddha throne with gemstones.
In autumn 2017, the square in front of the main entrance and around the whole building was hardened. Before winter we had managed to lay around 90 % of that ground with cobblestones. The remaining works, which are the rest of the access road, the path to the building ‘A’, as well as splitting and sandblasting, was completed in 2018. In 2019, after the cobblestones had grounded, we started to correct those places where the cobbles needed to be levelled.
In summer 2019 we purchased and set the main, large entrance to the temple. It gives the possibility to open only small door for everyday use and full door for big seminars, when we will extend the shrine hall using additional tent.
In spring 2020 the supply and exhaust air handling unit was installed in the temple.
All of the above work was carried out only through the great effort and generosity of our Lamas and Benchen community - not only in Poland. We express our heartfelt gratitude to everyone who contributed to this unique enterprise.
We are especially grateful to Venerable Kyabje Tenga Rinpoche, without whom we would never have started to develop the temple; and His Eminence Sangye Nyenpa Rinpoche - the initiator and main sponsor of the statue in Grabnik, as well as Sangter Rinpoche, whose presence here inspires our efforts.
We would also like to thank Sherab Tenzin who, following Rinpoche's request, supervised the work on the statue in Nepal, as well as Lama Gelek Paljor and Lama Sherab Wangchuk - it would not have been possible to assemble and fill the Buddha statue without their knowledge, experience and great involvement.
Our thanks also go to those who tirelessly worked day in day out, often giving up their night's rest. We also thank those whose financial support made it possible to bring the construction thus far. Great donations as well as small amounts offered were very helpful and appreciated. Multiplied by the number of benefactors they fruition in tangible results. Without you, we would not have been able to progress at this pace!
This shrine hall is the creation of all of you, those who offer from the bottoms of their hearts what they can: money, labour, kind words and good wishes.
WHAT STILL NEEDS TO BE DONE?
- finishing two guest rooms and a bathroom as well as a storage room (approx. 20 000 PLN);
- finishing the floor with a layer of good quality wood (depending on the wood quality: approximately 15.000-40.000 PLN);
- manufacturing the side parts of the shrine (approximately 15.000 PLN) and transporting from Nepal statues of the 21 Taras and others;
- adorning the interior walls and ceiling with traditional frescos.