Buddha Statues for Your Altar
In Tibetan Buddhism, traditional statues are made of bronze and hollow inside. They are made according to very strict guidelines so they are accurate for use visualizing the Buddhas in meditation practice. Geshe Gelek provided special guidance to help students buy the right statue, and our bookstore provides these types of statues.
There's a process of rolling mantras and filling the statues in preparation for a blessing ceremony when the Buddhas are invited to become one with the statue, making it ready for use on an altar. The process involves carefully cutting strips of mantras, rolling the paper tightly around incense, and then gluing fabric on the rolls. Everyone is welcome to volunteer to do this, whether or not you have a statue to fill - just email email@example.com to make an appointment to learn how and get a take-home kit.
Students who have a statue and want to have it blessed
Statues have to be registered ahead of time to be filled - the 2015 registration is now closed. This way we can judge how many mantras need to be rolled before we can hold the ceremony. If we have last minute registrations, it delays the ceremony (because it takes months to roll mantras just for one statue), so please plan ahead! For more information about choosing a statue, please see Geshe Gelek's advice How to Buy a Statue.
Also plan to participate in the mantra rolling process until there are enough mantras for everyone's statues - this takes many months! This also creates a very strong personal connection to your statues, both karmically and as a inspiration for your practice.
The blessing ceremony takes at least two days, intensive participation of volunteers, staff, and the sangha, and requires a year of preparation, so we only have statue blessings once a year at most. For an average size statue (6-8"), the recommended donation is $100, plus it is very auspicious to make offerings to the sangha on the days of the blessing ceremony. During this ceremony, students can also bring thankgas, malas, bells and dorjes, prayer flags, and other ritual items to be blessed for use in practice.