On September 13, 2009 several members of The Meditation Center community gathered together to consecrate the new sacred fire pit, Havan Kund, in the back yard of the Meditation Center. Several volunteers met regularly this summer to build the pit, which was constructed in several stages. Aaron Means, Emilio Bettaglio and Manish Peterson constructing the Havan Kund, other volunteers not pictured include: Michael Smith, Michael Buss, David Alexander, Kai Stenlund and Lela Pierce. The significance of this consecration ceremony was to establish the Havan Kund as a sacred shrine and to invoke the presence of Agni. Have you ever returned home from a really rough day, feeling down and depleted and funky-dirty, then hopped into the shower or bath and emerged feeling refreshed, recharged, and remarkably clean?
All this is catalyzed by consistently contacting the Spiritual Source which exists within each of us, and drawing forth its spiritual light.
Teachers from various spiritual traditions have spoken of this principle in different ways, and have referred to the Spiritual Source by different names. Practicing this - or another form of meditation - daily, will provide you with a daily dip in the light, and all the various benefits which come along with it. Because your inner spiritual light and this transformational light are part of the same evolutionary energy, consciously dipping into your inner light daily is an excellent way of opening to this larger cosmic force.
The International Temples Project was founded by Venerable Geshe Kelsang Gyatso, with the aim to introduce the Buddhist faith and practice of the New Kadampa Tradition publicly, and to exemplify contemporary Buddhist practice through public service.

It achieves this through building traditional and non-traditional Temples, meditation and retreat centers, and through the activities of Kadampa hotels, schools, World Peace Cafes and Tharpa Publications.
Emilio Bettaglio spearheaded the project with help and encouragement from Swami Ritavan, Pandit Dabral and Swami Veda Bharati.
The proportions, size, and shape of the Havan Kund are derived from several sources including SRSG’s fire hut in Rishikesh, India, as well as the book Tools for Tantra by Harish Johari.
With proper guidance and in the spirit of Ishvara Pranidhana, the Havan Kund can be used for fire offerings with the purpose of purification.
The crowd then recited 27 repetitions each of Akanda Mandala, Maha Mrityunjaya, Sarga Mandala and Gayatri Mantras while offering ghee and samagree (a mixture of sacred herbs and spices) into the fire. Because the light is the primary spiritual healing force, its freedom to flow unimpeded throughout your physical body and physical energy system is essential for maintaining good health. Your emotional body, your endocrine (glandular) system, and your chakra system are all intimately connected. When fueled with the light, there is greater mental clarity and a feeling of ease, and you are able to function in a calm and effective manner.
Along with these positive internal changes, another interesting change begins to occur when you are contacting the Spiritual Source daily.
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When the offernings were complete, Emilio tied red threads on everyone's rist as a remembrance of the event and everyone shared sweets with eachother. I am eternally grateful to Swamiji for his guidance and wisdom and for the intensity of the experience. Although this happens gradually, there are occasional quantum leaps in awareness, which manifest as mystical states, and are often experienced as being filled with, immersed in, or one with the light. The 3 steps surrounding the pit are representative of the 3 gunas (qualities of matter): the Sattva step is top, Rajas is the middle and Tamas is the lowest step.
Each time you meditate, you are dipping into the Spiritual Source within you, receiving an influx of its cleansing, elevating, nourishing and healing spiritual light. Sometimes you will actually perceive this light in some way during your meditation, and at other times it may not be apparent. But whether or not it is noticeable, this influx of light is occurring to some degree in the depths of your being each time you meditate.

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