Green Buddhist Monastery Rises in Nepal

Trungram Gyaltrul Rinpoche is both a Tibetan Buddhist master and a Harvard Ph.D. The non-profit organization he founded–United Trungram Buddhist Fellowship (UTBF)–is applying the Rimpoche’s combination of spiritual and intellectual smarts to its latest green building project, the Lumbini Udyana Mahachaitya (World Center for Peace and Unity), part of the international Lumbini Development Project in Nepal.

The Mahachaitya center, set to open to the public on April 4th, is 48,600-square-foot structure designed with a 20 kilowatt-capacity solar power system (covering 100% of its lighting needs), along with cavity walls for natural insulation and natural daylighting/ventilation systems. It is the latest and largest addition to a master-planned community in Nepal currently under development by UTBF that envisions more than 40 Buddhist temples in different national styles where monks and spiritual seekers from around the world can gather for ceremonies, retreats and meditation.

Buddhist Center above

image via the United Trungram Buddhist Fellowship

The community is being developed at the United Nations’ World Heritage Site at Lumbini, Nepal, birthplace of Buddha Shakyamuni, the founder of the Buddhist faith, under the auspices and protection of the United Nations, and with support of the Nepalese government.

Currently, the project features monasteries dedicated to monks from France, Vietnam, Germany, India, and the People’s Republic of China. The Lumbini Udyana Mahachaitya World Center for Peace and Unity will provide a home within the complex for friends and devotees of Buddhism whose communities or countries are not represented on the land by any particular monastery, and will feature more than 1000 custom-made copper statues depicting the Buddha, his close disciples, and various figures in the style of the 7th to 13th centuries (considered the height of Buddhist classical art).

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Susan DeFreitas has covered all manner of green technology for EarthTechling since 2009. She is a graduate of Prescott College for the Liberal Arts and the Environment, and has a background in marketing green businesses. Her work on green living has been featured in Yes! Magazine, the Utne Reader and Natural Home.

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