Another First – Meditation at the Enlightenment Stupa of Benalmadena

Another First – Meditation at the Enlightenment Stupa of Benalmadena

“Buddhism is not only a way of life, we understand it more as a science, a very helpful knowledge which allows to determine, search, learn and bring out the truth and the nature of everything, of whatever we want to know.”

– H.H. 17th Gyalwa Karmapa Trinley Thaye Dorje

It is something I have always wanted to do.  Buddhism is a religion I have had a lot of curiosity about for many years, probably since I first encountered it in Thailand in the early ’90’s.  Seeing the orange-robed monks walking the streets and the reverence they receive from the public, who gave them gifts of food and money.  It was then I began to read about it to try and understand what Buddhism is.  I feel I still haven’t learned much, but what I do know is that it is a religion that believes in good, kindness and compassion of others.  If everyone in the world followed Buddhism, what a peaceful one we’d live in.

“The tradition to build Stupas originated in the times of the historical Buddha Shakyamuni, more than 2500 years ago. A Stupa represents the Enlightenment, the nature of a totally awakened mind. In ancient Buddhist texts it is said that the construction of a Stupa is of enormous benefit for all sentient beings.”

– H.H. 17th Gyalwa Karmapa Trinley Thaye Dorje

Enlightenment Stupa of Benalmadena Enlightenment Stupa of Benalmadena

In Buddhism, a stupa is a monument which represents peace, prosperity and harmony, as well as being a place for meditation. The Stupa in Benalmadena is the largest in Europe, 33 metres high and a base of 25 by 25 metres.  It is topped with a golden cone and can be seen all along the coast.  It is situated in a very tranquil place, with magnificent views along the coast. Inside there are colourful murals adorning the walls representing the life story of the Historical Buddha Shakyamuni and have been elaborated by Nepalese artists in the traditional religious style of the Himalayas.

View from Stupa, Costa del Sol View from Stupa, Costa del Sol

I felt a little nervous when I arrived at the meditation hall.  Having never done anything like this before I hadn’t much of a clue what to expect and whether I would just get the giggles, hiccups or something else embarrassing during the long silences.  My partner, Ian, has done meditation before many years ago and told me a little of what to expect. The hall was all laid out with cushions and we were told to sit in the corner, as that is where we would have our own English translator – wow, how amazing is that? The hall filled up with people of all ages, some looking like newbies, and others looking like they’d done it for years.

We were joined by an Italian man at the front, who would guide the meditation in Spanish, and a lovely lady, who was to be our translator and sat in our corner.  She had a very kind face and a calming disposition.  She smiled a lot and spoke with a soothing, friendly voice.  She told me how I should sit – right leg in front of left, with hands relaxed on knees.  She explained what will happen and I really felt it didn’t matter if I got hiccups or giggles (I didn’t thank goodness!), or sat in the wrong position, it was totally my choice whether to do this right or not.  I did get pins and needles in my leg at one point and had a fidget, but I guess that is something I will get used to with practise.

The meditation was incredibly relaxing, although I was concentrating on listening and sitting right, I don’t think I got as much out of it as I will in future sessions.  It was an ‘escape’ from the real world, where time stood still and stresses melted away.

The guided meditation is “16th Karmapa Meditation” from the Karma Kagyu School of Tibetan Buddhism and is held three times a week, but we will go once a week and see where it takes us.

I have written briefly about the Stupa earlier this month and there are a couple more photos and links HERE.

Dalai Lama Quote

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