Lumbini, Nepal — On April 4, 2011 The Lumbini Udyama Mahachaitya, World Center for Peace and Unity opened in a grand ceremony attended by people from across Nepal and around the world. Ambassadors and high lamas joined local government officials and disciples to celebrate the achievement. Teh largest temple in Lumbini, the Center is unique in being open to masters of all Buddhist traditions and their students. It is also unique in its ‘green’ design. This eco-design caught the attention of publications around the world. Here are three of the most interesting articles.
Construction of the World Center began in 2006 and was completed in 2011. Throughout the construction period, Rinpoche himself paid close attention to every detail, instituting some novel structural features.
- A skylight is the major light source for the main hall.
- Solar panels on the roof provide the electricity for daily use.
- For the outer walls, a double-layer system was adopted to suit the local weather conditions and to save costs; this was the first time such a structure was built in the area.
- As a precaution against earthquakes, Rinpoche required the structural strength of the building be increased.
- The structural beams are concealed within the floor system, helping to reduce heat in Nepal’s summer season, as well as to provide a better view of the inner portion of the dome.
Asked why he chose to highlight ecology at the World Center, Rinpoche responded, “This idea came to me when I thought about the Buddha; all the important events of his life story have something to do with a tree. At his birth it is said his mother rested her hand on a branch, so there must have been a tree. At his enlightenment, he was under the Bodhi tree. He gave teachings in the forest of Varanasi. He passed away between two big trees. So there is a clear connection between Buddhism and the environment. Then, the more you know about global warming, the more you understand how important it is for monasteries to set an example by doing green projects.”