New Altar and Teaching Seat At Namgyal

The following article is from the Winter, 1994 issue of the Snow Lion Newsletter and is for historical reference only. You can see this in context of the original newsletter here.

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After 18 months of makeshift arrangements, Namgyal Monastery's new altar is nearing completion for installation in early 1994. The altar was designed by Ven. Pema Losang Chogyen.

Built of solid oak, the altar will cover most of the front wall of the meditation hall. The center of the altar holds a large thangka in front of which will be a large statue of the Buddha, as well as three statues representing long life and auspiciousness. A small stupa is also part of the arrangement. Three more larger statues for the altar are also expected from India.

On either side of the statues will be shelves for the cloth covered sutras and tantras along with their commentaries. Namgyal Monastery's textbooks will be stored here.

Creation of the altar got underway last spring when Marcus Shaffer, an Ithaca cabinet-maker, volunteered his time. In the end, he expects to have spent about 200 hours constructing the altar.

Teaching Seat for His Holiness the Dalai Lama

Mr. Henry Robertson, a master woodworker in Eureka, California, has volunteered his time and know-how to build a beautiful traditional teaching seat for His Holiness to use at Namgyal. In the Buddhist tradition, the offering of a Dharma Seat is in essence requesting the Lama to stay in the world and transmit the wisdom of the Buddha for the benefit of all beings.

The majority of the wood used for the seat will be northeastern cherry. The panels of the front, sides, and seat back will be of satinwood. Cherry ages to a beautiful deep red-russet color and satinwood Ω a warm golden yellow. The decorative carvings will be a combination of a light brown wood, satinwood and a bright red or reddish-orange wood.

The monastery is requesting donations to cover Henry's cost of materials (his time is donated). For donations of $25 or more the name of the donor will be inscribed on a brass plaque to be mounted on or near the Dharma Seat. Checks can be made out to Namgyal Monastery and sent to the Monastery in Ithaca. Write Dharma Seat at the bottom of your check.

One might make a donation on the behalf of another person, such as a friend or loved one. Please limit one name per $25 donation. And be sure to enclose that name as you would like it printed, first and last name. Any donations beyond the cost of materials and shipping of the seat to Ithaca will go to the Monastery for other improvements to the meditation and teaching hall.

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