Intention

Sunnataram Pagoda

Photograph by Cheng Tuck Lim

I have always been awed that it took inexperience monks a total of 5 years to built this monument from scratch. It is indeed a building thats stands for greatness, time and strength. Like an architect I met there said, “Even if you laid one bloody stone up there, you will still feel proud to be able to say that ‘I helped built that.'” To be able to built an ancient pagoda with today technological advances gives no suprise to anyone. But to understand that this came by with limited funds, inexperienced designers and monks as builders, is enough to make any person swoon. Not to forget this pagoda is not a off-the-shelf copy. In order words, its is unique.

However, my recent trip there, I learned from a monk with no prior design experience that architectural design like everything else, begins with a pure and good intention.

 

Photograph by Cheng Tuck Lim

 

The intention of wanting to do good.

Sounds too simple to be true, but every single detail, idea concepts is about the intention you have and the action you make, the steps you take and the end results produced.

All determined simply by that sheer power of intention. Certainly, I have no intention to say that, once the intention to built something great is there, hocus-pocus it happens- but rather, the importance of this intention. I have often complain how hard architecture is, and sometimes its not about the amount of work involved, but rather how it messes up your head.

All the intentions that one may have, not necessarily, it can be realized. Adjustments to be made, expectations to be crushed. It drives me crazy when I start pondering the purpose of me doing this, changing that, altering this, and designing that. Why? How? What? There are so many paths to reach the same goal, which one am I choosing? but before that, how do I even determine my goal?

This is where I learn how important intention is. The strength of a good intention lies in how bloody badly u want that intention to be good. Sounds wrong? Case in point is the Gratitude Pagoda. There could have been many ways to built it-they could have raise enough money to get builders to do it, they could have just copied off some pagoda in Thailand (Who would care anyway?) or simply, build an easier, simpler one-like the usual concrete cement ones coated in brilliant gold paint. BUT it is a self-designed sandstone pagoda. Something you can only find in NSW with its abundance of sandstone, a signature that this monument will stand against time and tide. 

Photograph by Cheng Tuck Lim

The intention to give something back to the Buddhist community produced a masterpiece. The greatness does not merely lie in the aesthetically pleasing monument, as the outcome of wanting to built a pagoda to house the Buddha Relics; but it is also to bring people together to help built this monument. When a visitor approaches it, His ears pleased by the chiming of the bells when blown by wind; His eyes marvel the timeless stone structure; His heart feels peace with it sitting among nature, both palms just naturally come together as he breathes in the essence of spirituality. This is the effect that how architecture can effect one person. But to deepen on that concept, to understand that the number of bells were used not only for that reason but it is also etched with blessings on it. Every single one of them, so when the wind blows, may the blessings fall upon everyone. The eight turning corners to represent the noble eight fold path. And much much more. This is one building that people want to study, to admire, not just for its beauty, the multiple meaning it embodies.

Not one to appreciate architecture? Well, that intention to spread goodness is in every stone, sweat, and time invested in the building. What proves to be great, is not the greatness itself, but the ability to inspire others to do great things. 

“When others look at the building, they see how beautiful it is. But I see the beauty in it because of the Metta (love and kindness) and willingness of many different people coming together to help built it.” 

This strikes me that-it is for the simple intention of spreading goodness to building a pagoda that one realizes that it all clicks. The determination of staying true to the right intention, allows the building to inspire others to actually help realize the goal and also inspire them to have similar intentions. The intention slowly unfolds into inspiration and has a domino effect and many different people-to when it is being built extending to the future to when it becomes a ruin. If you are able to see and understand the underlying workings of buildings as such, or create that inspiration in others, the satisfaction is indescribable.

Architect’s Perspective Drawing

Getting good marks on a project I work my ass off one whole semester definitely did not give me as much satisfaction as help throwing gravels down to form the foundation/mixing cement knowing that my efforts would actually make a difference in someone else’s life.

 

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: