During Chenrezig Institutes 20th Anniversary in 1994 Lama Zopa Rinpoche, the spiritual director of the FPMT, initiated the idea of a garden of stupas. Stupas are structures that represent Buddha’s enlightened mind, and each part of the Stupa shows the path to Enlightenment. Stupas are filled with prayers, holy objects and ashes or relics of the deceased. It is said that building a Stupa is a very powerful way to purify negative karma and obscurations, and to accumulate extensive merit. The Garden of Enlightenment at Chenrezig Institute was envisaged as a place where people can sponsor stupas for themselves or for those who have passed away.
Garrey Faulkes undertook the project which commenced in 1996 and took 14 years of dedicated work including hundreds of volunteers: builders, landscapers, sculptors and artists.
The Garden was completed in June 2011 – just in time for it to be blessed by His Holiness the Dalai Lama, who visited Chenrezig Institute and gave teachings to 4000 people assembled on the lawns above the Garden.
The main building of The Garden of Enlightenment has 13 separate shrine rooms containing stupas, paintings, a mandala and hundreds of sponsored gold tiles.
On the roof of this building are the Eight Great Stupas commemorating the deeds of the Buddha. These stupas are dedicated to His Holiness the Dalai Lama, Lama Zopa Rinpoche and the many kind residents and teachers who have helped Chenrezig Institute become the vibrant centre it is today.
Around the main building is a veranda for circumambulation and many prayer wheels. The building inside and out is decorated in traditional Tibetan style. Surrounding the main building are beautiful flower gardens with several water features and shaded seating. Within these gardens are many smaller memorial stupas. The surrounding area is natural bushland with many native birds and animals.