For nearly half a century the Tibetan tradition of Mahayana Buddhism has met with sincere interest amongst many Western practitioners and seekers here in Italy.
Due to the kindness of many inspiring teachers but especially Venerable Geshe Jampa Gyatso, it has been possible at Istituto Lama Tzong Khapa in Pomaia, to gather a large community of students and practitioners, both lay and ordained.
Lama Yeshe and Venerable Geshe Jampa Gyatso first thought of the construction of a monastery in the West for both monks and nuns when they were together in Kopan, Nepal, in 1980. That vision is now taking shape.
It seems that the search for a suitable site to build our Buddhist monastery can be said to be finally over. After more than a year of research, when it seemed that there were few possibilities in the area around Pomaia, an abandoned quarry was found to be available two kilometers from Istituto Lama Tzong Khapa. The future monastery will in fact be built on the rock like the monasteries in Tibet.
It’s our way of contributing to the recovery of an area that dominates the soft flow of the Tuscan hills and a view that extend to the blue horizon of the sea.
It is intended that the monastery’s temple architectural aspect will be similar to the Tibetan style with construction material being as ecologically viable as possible, with materials and installation methods chosen that have the lowest impact on the environment, and which maximize efficiency in energy and resource use. Currently the project initially aims to provice accommodation to house around fifty monastics – monks and nuns. Below is a computer graphic showing how the Main Temple might look.
Lama Zopa Rinpoche also added,
“It will be the first monastery of the Tibetan tradition in Italy and the first purpose-built monastery for the FPMT in Europe and it is important to do it in the best way.”
When His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama was informed of the project and invited to come and bless the site, he noted that:
“The flourishing of the Buddha’s teachings in a particular place is determined by the existence of fully ordained monks and nuns and male and female lay practitioners. Thus the existence of monks and nuns and the practice of Vinaya, the Buddhist monastic discipline, are very important.”