The Foundation’s Early Vision

The Foundation's Early Vision

by founder Andrew Fitts

The notion of a Dharma Sanctuary came to me when I moved to Kauai in 2000 and purchased land on the island’s north shore in a rural area called Moloa’a. The rolling landscape near the ocean called out to me.  It already was a natural sanctuary, and it meshed with my desire to create a form of Buddhist community, something I’d wanted to do all my life.

The goal was to create an outdoor temple-like setting, a type of park or meditation garden.  I wanted to create a sacred place of harmony and beauty that people could step into and instantly feel relaxed.  In the sub-tropics this is aided by the bodily experience of perfect temperatures, soothing trade winds, rustling palm leaves, sweet flower smells, and the endless movement of the ocean. These tropical environments unlock a mental door for us. When our senses are satiated, we can open up to our good fortune and calm our minds.

Within this park I wanted to have stupas, a prayer wheel wall, deity shrines, and whatever else would be conducive to a Buddhist sacred space.  From my travels to Tibet, Nepal, and India, stupas have always held a fascination for me, as have prayer wheel walls.  The urge was strong to replicate both the spirit and physical manifestation of these temple experiences.

Through my good fortune, and my connection to my teacher, Lama Karma Rinchen, I was able to fulfill this vision on Kauai.  Collaborating with many kind and knowledgeable people along the way made it possible.

The foundation now holds title to the Peace Park property, and access is preserved for all.  It is a joy to see so many people come and visit on a daily basis.

In reflecting on this accomplishment, I am made much more aware how special such sacred public spaces are for Westerners.  From this awareness has grown the urge to build another Peace Park, the next one hopefully in an urban area where many more people could experience it.  I have coined the name ‘Tibetan Peace Park’ as a way of promoting this vision to a wider audience.

I have initially funded the development of The Dharma Sanctuary and the Kauai Peace Park. The continuation of the vision lies in bringing others into the fold and creating these sacred spaces wherever the donor community wishes it. It would be extremely beneficial for many, many people to be introduced to Dharma in this way.

For further thoughts and conversation, I encourage you to contact me or other board members.  If you are so inspired, we welcome you to make a tax deductible donation and help this vision become a reality.

3 Comments to The Foundation’s Early Vision

  1. Kate Cavacini

    Dear Dharma Stupa,

    Please tell me what the specific statues/deities are in the several places where they are, and also about the prayer that is imprinted there at the shrine. What is the central bodhisattva’s name? If this information is posted on your website, please direct me to where it is so that I can read about these symbols.

    Warm regards, Namaste,
    Katel’len Cavacini

    • Hi Kate,
      Hi Kate,

      The female deity in the main shrine behind the central marble stupa is Green Tara. There is a sitting Buddha statue in the upper part of the stupa, in the posture of the earth-witnessing gesture. This represents the moment of the Buddha’s enlightenement. There are two sandstone carvings on either side of the Tara shrine that were made in Thailand, which depict the Buddha teaching his sangha. There is a white marble standing bodhisattva with begging bowl near a large palm tree. There is also a separate granite shrine with a standing deity – the 1,000 armed, 11 headed Avalokitesvara, also known as Chenrezig in his 4 armed manifestation. This is the deity that is associated with the OM MANI PADME HUNG mantra.

      The metal prayer wheels have the mantra OM MANI PADME HUNG stamped on the outside of the drum, in Tibetan and Newar script. That’s it in a nutshell. This info is not spelled out in the web site, but perhaps it should be.

  2. Kathleen

    Aloha Andrew,
    I live on the north shore and just found your website. Are you still on island? We are grateful for the stupa and park, and all it contributes to Kauai and our world. I’ll watch for news of work days and other events to support it.
    Mahalo nui .

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