UPDATE, 4/25/2014: The Bhumi Puja happened and the rain gods came. Watch for photos in our Facebook Photo Albums.

[Previously:] A date has been set for the blessing of the ground where the stupa is to be built. It will be on Friday, April 25 (2014), from 9am until it’s finished. Geshe Ngawang Dakpa, of San Francisco, and the Gyuto Monks, who have recently moved up to Richmond, California, will be performing the rites.

We will offer lunch after the puja to those who RSVP by Monday, April 21, 5pm, to get reserved seating and lunch. (Reservations closed.)

The site where the Mahabodhi-style stupa is to be built at Land of Medicine Buddha.

The site where the Mahabodhi-style stupa is to be built at Land of Medicine Buddha.

Here is a little excerpt from “Earth Blessing Ritual: Introduction and Commentary.”*

Taking Possession of the Building Site

A plot of land that possesses good signs and characteristics is not only advantageous from a religious point of view, but from an architectural angle as well. Therefore, whosoever intends to build a stupa on such a spot should at first obtain that land from its landowner either through a verbal or legal agreement or through purchase.

After its landlords have granted use of the land, consent from the local spirits is sought. Subsequently, one sets up the ritual articles such as the three-fold ritual offering cakes (cha sum torma), the five kinds of essential offerings, white mustard seeds, the gugul (frankincense), and other requisite articles. Then, the vajra acarya performs the recitation of the self-generation. He invites the kshetrapalas (field protectors), and offers the torma offering cake and outer and inner offerings. After the permission to use the site has been requested, the kshetrapalas are sent back to their own abodes. Then, the invisible Earth Goddess is invited, offerings are made to her, and her permission is also sought for the use of this site. Thus, the use of the site is requested both from the ksetrapalas and the Earth Goddess.

Eliminating Interfering Adversities from the Site

In order to eliminate all interferences and hindrances from the site, the performer should command the evil spirits and demons, etc., who cause hindrances and behave mischievously in that very place, to satisfy themselves with the ritual cake and go back to their own abodes or somewhere else [i.e. perform the gektor ritual]. Then the ritual offering cake is thrown near the entrance to the site accompanied by violent playing of the ritual musical instruments and reciting of the wrathful mantras. After this, the site is fumigated with the incense of gugal, white mustard seeds are scattered, scented water is sprinkled, and the ashes of the previous Fire Offering Ritual (jin seg) are spread all around the ground to eliminate all interfering evil spirits. By the power of these ritual acts, all residual hindrances are removed, and interferences are eliminated.

There are many others procedures and details, which will be carried out in full on April 25.

See more at New Stupa Project page.

*Benefits and Practices Related to Statues and Stupas, Part 2: Building and Blessing Holy Objects, FPMT, 2006, page 206.

RSVP to get reserved seating and lunch:

This form will be shut down on Monday evening, April 21. We won’t be able to provide lunch for people who are not signed up. Lunch is being offered by Land of Medicine Buddha. There are already over 70 people signed up. Donations will be welcome.

(Reservations closed.)