The Universal Peace Sanctuary: a collaborative space designed to foster compassion and kindness across the globe
Esteemed spiritual teacher, His Eminence Shyalpa Tenzin Rinpoche, is spearheading the creation of the Universal Peace Sanctuary in Lumbini, Nepal, a UNESCO world heritage site. The ancient Himalayan ideals of altruism and compassion will be at the heart of all the sanctuary's educational, diplomatic, and rehabilitative functions. However, this will also be a place for people from all religions, nations, and ethnicities to congregate and champion the pursuit of universal peace.
The sanctuary's contemporary design is inspired by the lotus flower, a common spiritual image. A lotus flower grows in the mud, symbolizing that beautiful things can grow in the mire of a suffering world. For example, amid the anguish of the Covid pandemic, many communities joined together in mutual support. As the world contends with conflicts in Ukraine, Yemen, Ethiopia, and others, His Eminence envisions the sanctuary as a beacon of light that can heal the suffering that currently seems so pervasive.
Integral to achieving this purpose will be the Peace Sanctuary's Assembly Hall, which will provide a space for up to fifteen hundred people to partake in conferences, seminars, and speaking events geared toward the mission of peace. The sanctuary will provide a variety of functions. Its Peace Museum and Peace Library will house a unique collection of artifacts, teachings, and texts, all of which explore the topic of peace. These facilities will be the cornerstone of the Peace Institute, which will offer a course in ancient wisdom, yoga, and meditation and will equip students with the tools they need to be able better to handle the stresses and strains of their day-to-day lives. Research carried out in this institute will draw together global scholars to explore powerful ways of encouraging international peace exploration.
His Eminence is keen to underline that the beating heart of the sanctuary - peace - is not a one-dimensional concept, as many might assume, "We are not only talking about the peace that comes from ending wars. Although this is, of course, a key element, we must also pay attention to internal peace, as well as external peace. What conflicts do we have within ourselves? When we wake up, do we start our day with a sense of calm and tranquility, or do we feel anxiety and turbulence? We cannot solve one without the other - global peace is impossible without first finding personal inner peace."
This is the inspiration behind the sanctuary's Meditation Rooms, where visitors will be able to benefit from resident instructors and develop their practice. This will make the Universal Peace Sanctuary a hub for wellness retreats.
His Eminence plans for this sanctuary to benefit the local community by bringing tourists and visitors. Prior to Covid-19, tourism to Lumbini had been increasing steadily from just under 800,000 in 2014 to almost 1,200,000 in 2018. The Universal Peace Sanctuary will add a significant boost to this effort.
This epitomizes His Eminence's approach to the project as a whole, balancing his focus equally between international and individual peace, local benefits and global aid, one-dollar donations and large-scale funding, and celebrating a thoughtful way of living by embracing the value of all religious beliefs. His Eminence invites everyone to become stakeholders in this meritorious project to 'make peace more fashionable than war.'