BENDIGO'S Buddhist community has revealed plans for an eight bedroom nunnery at the Great Stupa of Universal Compassion.
It has asked the City of Greater Bendigo for permission to build the new two-storey, $890,000 project on partly cleared land previously used for camping and events at the Great Stupa's grounds.
The nunnery could become one of the latest additions in Myers Flat, which already contains a monastery, extensive gardens and other public spaces.
Four Buddhist nuns live and practice in temporary accommodation close to the Great Stupa.
Among them is Tenzin Tsapel, who drew up the plans for the proposed nunnery.
"With the Buddhist centre that is out here, you need teachers, people to help with the regular meditations and rituals we do," she said.
"We, as nuns, also want to continue our practice studying the Teachings, meditating and for retreats."
The nunnery would include a meditation room and study as well as a kitchen, dining and living areas.
"It will be a good space," she said.
"We've been working towards this for some time and there's already people I know of four nuns across Australia and New Zealand who are interested to come but are restricted because of accommodation."
Tsapel said that she and the nuns behind the project were glad they had gotten the plans to the point that planning authorities could take a look.
"I have wiped my brow at times and wondered whether we were ever going to get the nunnery established," she said.
The plans have been redrafted four times over the years and a lot of work has gone into where to site the building to minimise fire danger.
"We are very, very happy to get the plans in," Tsapel said.
Tsapel said the Great Stupa offered people something unique.
"It's now completed on the outside with the full spire and there is more and more development on the inside as well," she said.
"It's quite an amazing thing for us all to get a Stupa of that size and importance here in the southern hemisphere.
"To have a Buddhist centre, a monastery - and to complement it with a nunnery - will feel more complete and encourage people to know they have incredible Enlightenment potential.
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