News from Australia: Great Stupa progress in Bendigo; new film to document lives of Australia Buddhists

Great Stupa AustraliaVictoria, Australia’s Bendigo Advertiser reports that the Great Stupa of Universal Compassion being built by students of Lama Zopa Rinpoche is “progressing steadily.” This is the year, project managers told them, that they will have secured an occupancy permit for the main temple inside the 164-foot shrine. This is in preparation for the first retreat at the stupa, scheduled for September 25 to October 23, to be led by Lama Zopa. Once completed in 2015, this will be the largest stupa in the Western world.

Elsewhere Down Under, the lives of those who have helped shape Buddhist culture in Australia will be the subject of a new documentary film. Researchers at Deakin University have teamed up with to raise the necessary funds to produce “Buddhist Life Stories of Australia.” Noting that Buddhism is Australia’s second largest religion, with a long history in the nation, the team envisions the film as “the first stage of a larger, long-term research program that will investigate the changing nature of Buddhism, and what it’s like to be a Buddhist, in Australia.” They have put together a promotional video, which you can see after the jump, featuring some of the major figures in contemporary Australian Buddhism. See the page they’ve created for the film here.