Benalmadena’s Buddhist monument celebrates fifteen years
Published on: 24-09-2018

Perhaps you’ve passed it on the motorway on your way to Málaga? Or wondered, looking up to the mountains from the main coastal road – what is the eye-catching white monument with the burnished gold spire and what does it represent? The Buddhist Stupa of Benalmádena is a surprising monument to view rising above a Mediterranean seaside resort town, and yet – now celebrating its fifteenth year – it has become a well-known and beloved local landmark.

The stupa, meaning ‘heap’ in Sanskritt, originated as a simple earth reliquary during the early origins of Buddhism but over the years has come to represent complex symbolism and is in fact constructed according to strict parameters. The Benalmádena Enlightenment Stupa is the largest in Europe at thirty-three metres tall. Unusually, as stupas are generally sealed buildings, it consists of a hundred square metre meditation room featuring impressive paintings as well as sealed chambers filled with symbolic objects, including 84,000 of the Buddha’s teachings.

In actual fact, there are eight different types of stupa in existence, each representing an important event in the Buddha Shakyamuni’s life. The Enlightenment Stupa symbolises the achievement of his enlightenment, or having a fully awakened mind, and this is considered the highest achievement in Buddhism.

This impressive building was inaugurated on October 5th 2003 by H.H. Kunzig Shamar Rinpoche, the second-most important teacher within the Karma Kagyu lineage of Tibetan Buddhism, and in the presence of Lömpo Sangye Ngodup, a minister from the Himalayan Kingdom of Bhutan, as well as the incumbent Mayor of Benalmádena, Enrique Bolin.

Created from inspiration provided by a great Buddhist master from Bhutan, Lopon Tsechu Rinpoche, the stupa represents peace, prosperity and harmony, and seeks to encourage meditation through weekly classes held within the body of the building.

Whether you share the Buddhist faith or not, this is an impressive structure to visit and a wonderful monument from which to view the whole of the coast laid out below.