Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Vajra Hall Nears Completion

[photo, courtesy of Neil Murray, 2012]

ABOUT A MONTH ago on a sunny early December day,  I took a walk on upper Khandroling with Yuchen Namkhai. I had not been there for many weeks. I was astonished at the visual impact of the landscape after all the construction debris was cleared. Jim Smith had already built magnificent steps at the Western entrance of the hall (in photo above)l; Rinpoche's famous rock was now perched against a cleared backdrop surrounded by a semi-circle pathway; the slope from the Stupa leading up to the Vajra Hall was cleared and seeded with grass. There appeared to be many stones ready for building a stone wall next to the Stupa. Soon there will a forest management plan activated that will transform the woods for posterity (in a forthcoming article).

I recently asked Joe Zurylo for a recap of this season's work and what to expect next season. Here's his reply:

Here's a recap of the projects completed on the Vajra Hall this season in 2012:
  • Interior of ring wall was stuccoed
  • Wall caps fabricated and installed
  • Pavers down on the promenade floor
  • Lower roofing put on
  • Sky lights installed
  • Roof line trims installed ( facia and soffit )
  • Road from bath house to VH cleared, graded and seeded
  • New road built along southern section of VH
  • Stone steps at western entrance
  • Accessible drive up at eastern entrance
 After four building seasons and the expending of 12,500 man hours of labor,  the Vajra Hall will be entering its final phase.  It's hard to describe my experience working on this project.  From an emotional stand point I am most fortunate to have had this experience and most grateful to all who have given their support-- both financial and emotional for this great work. After forty plus years of doing construction work, nothing that I have built in that period of time even comes close to the magnificence of this structure, not just its architectural shape and size,  but the very purpose of its existence has no comparison in the western world. To my knowledge there are no other terma sites on this continent. But i am glad its coming to an end after all of these decades of this type of work.  Now approaching my 64th year, I'm beginning to feel the way a pair of my old work boots look, they still fit, they can still do the job, but upon a closer examination all you can say is "well they were good boots but not much left to them." Anyway I'm not face down yet, so for this coming 2013 season we still need to do these things:

  •  Finish the stucco on the exterior perimeter wall 

  • South entrance way needs pavers.

  • The whole exterior of the building needs to have screens to keep the birds and insects on the outside

  • Benches need to be built along the interior of the perimeter wall

  • Finish grading and landscaping of the exterior grounds.   
1. The mandala needs to be installed on the interior floor2. The Longsal symbol which will act as a spire for the building will be erected next summer.  from Joe Zurylo
 To see the Vajra Hall in action visit our July retreat photos at

Jacqueline Gens

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