The history of the Kachkanar Stupas has begun practically together with the beginning of Shedrub Ling construction. The first preparatory rituals for the first Stupa of Awakening construction have been held by lama Tendzin Dokchit on May 17, 1995. The main construction work was carried out in 1999-2000. This Stupa became not only the first constructed in Shedrub Ling, but also the first Stupa of our country built outside Russia’s "historical" Buddhist regions — Kalmykia, Buryatia and Tuva. Thanks to this fact this Stupa has not only religious, but also historical and cultural value on a national scale.
Construction of another Stupa of Awakening has begun in 2005 and finished in 9 years. Unlike the first Stupa, this one is built above the high pavilion for praying. In 2016 the construction of the third Stupa of Shedrub Ling, the Stupa of Great Nirvana was finished. Today this Stupa is the largest of all that are built on the Mount Kachkanar. In 2017 we have began building six more Stupas. After their construction the will of lama Darma-Dodie, who had described the quantity and the types of Stupas which had to be built on the Mount Kachkanar, will be completely executed. Besides three Stupas a large statue of Buddha is erected in Shedrub Ling, and it also doesn't have analogs in nearby regions for the moment.
Stupas, statues, images of deities and other sacred objects of the Buddhism are used for accumulation of virtue — the positive force wich helping to advance on the way to Awakening, to obtain the state of Buddha. Buddha doesn't need worshipping and doesn’t crave it, but we create images of his sacred Body and Mind (and Stupa is an image, or a monument to the sacred mind of Buddha) to gain virtue. Expressing them our respect, we recognize Buddha's superiority in spiritual perfection, we note his excellent qualities of consciousness — such as omniscience and great compassion — and we make such state a guidance for ourselves.
There are eight main types of Stupas related to the stages of life of Buddha Shakyamuni. Each architectural element of a Stupa is highly symbolical, and corresponds to some part of his Doctrine. For example, three steps in the basis of a Stupa symbolize the Three Treasures of the Buddhism: Buddha, Dharma and Sangha; the basis of the spike is symbolizes the Noble Eightfold Path and so on.
Buddhist Stupas and statues usually contain relics: sacred texts and mantras, tiny statues of Buddha and deities ("tsa-tsa") and other special images, which are put in a Stupa in a certain order. Similar filling is in the Kachkanar Stupas. The first Stupa of Awakening contains two copies of Heart Sutra Prajna Paramita, one of which was given especially for this purpose by lama Darma-Dodi Zhalsaraev, and another by lama Denzong Norbu: while making the “tsa-tsa” filling the Stupa of Great Nirvana, the clay with the ground taken from the Mongolian monasteries Gandantegchenlin, Erdeni-Dzu and Amarbayasgalant and also from the Temple of Tooth in Kandy (Sri Lanka) was used; also the filling include Medicine Buddha’s statuette given for this purpose by Sopа Rinpoche lama. The form, the filling and the blessing of Stupas and statues make them an incomparable source of virtue accumulation.
Stupas have a beneficial effect on the area in which they are built, they bring pacification, peace and wellbeing to all who live there and to all people (and other living beings) who had the luck to come into contact with them. To feel the good effect of a Stupa one doesn’t have to be Buddhist, as Buddha has an impartial mind and feels equal compassion and mercy to all beings. Below you can find some recommendations about how to make your interaction with Stupas the most beneficial and comprehensive.
The main way to worship Stupas is circling and bows. But before starting one should build the right intention. Worshipping a Stupa (or any other sacred object) with the correct motivation we benefit from it incomparably more than when we do it thoughtlessly.
Briefly, the best way to worship a Stupa is as follows: at first we realize the fact that we, and all the living beings around us experience sufferings, diseases and death — and that none of us wants to suffer, but wants to reach happiness instead. To reach true happiness, which doesn't disappear over time, it is necessary to develop all best qualities and to eliminate all deterring defects and flaws. Having achieved this we will become happy and able to contribute to happiness of people around in the best way. We recognize Buddha as the best model of such fulfillment, and realize that the Stupa is a visible image of his pure virtues.
With this thought we imagine that the "bowl" of Stupa radiates light in all ends of the Universe. All the Buddhas and other sacred beings and all the beneficial doctrines gather here, attracted by this light, and are incorporated in the Stupa, merging with it.
Then you can begin to circle Stupa. It is made clockwise. You’d better imagine that you go not alone, but together with your father, mother and all living beings. You can circle the Stupa both one and many times. Doing so or after you’ve finished you can make several bows before the Stupa. It would be good to read some mantras, for example, "Om Mani Padme Hum"
Then imagine a wonderful jewel in your heart (chintamani, "a wish-fulfilling jewel") which radiates light presenting uncountable gifts to the Stupa. Then, standing in front of the Stupa, express what you wish to obtain, for example, all the fulfillments up to the Awakening. In completing of circling you consecrate in your mind all the virtue and good potential gathered by you to the benefit of all living beings.
If you struggle to remember and execute everything properly the first time, don't worry. Good influence of Stupa is so unimaginable that even one glance of it bears huge blessing — not to mention anything else!