July 1, 2009

The Great Stupa at Shambhala Mountain Center in Red Feather Lakes, Colorado.

A family visit to…The Great Stupa Which Liberates Upon Seeing

A Buddhist monument dedicated to Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche (and all sentient beings, too).

via Leah Barasch Fox

It has long been the tradition that wherever the teachings of the Buddhas have been revered and practiced, communities of followers have built reliquary monuments known in Sanskrit as stupas, and as chörtens in Tibetan. And wherever they have been built, they have been regarded as sacred, for like religious images and scriptures, they represent aspects of enlightenment.

—His Holiness the Fourteenth Dalai Lama

We catch glimmers of gold and white through the aspen trees as we approach The Great Stupa of Dharmakaya.

My sons Antonio (seven years old) and Benicio’s (five years) excitement bubbles.

The Stupa in full view, we admire the jewel before us. It is clear to them that the Stupa is precious. We reach the alter of offerings, and the boys examine all that has been given.  My practical-minded Benicio is shocked someone would give up their cell phone:  “Mom why don’t you offer your cell phone?”  I realize we should have put more thought into our offering,  “Aaa . . . I need my cell phone, it has all my numbers in it.”  I chime in with one of my played-out mama slogans:  “However, we should be prepared to give away our most prized possessions!” Benicio laments: “I only have a dollar . . . will it go to the bank or Buddha?”

Antonio empties his pockets: “I’ve got three fruit leathers, I’ll give them all to Buddha.”

We enter the main hall and sit before a big, brilliant golden Buddha. Transfixed by his presence, the slumbering eyes of bodhicitta beam open within us.  At this moment I understand the notion of a stupa having the power to plant Dharmic seeds within Buddhists and non-Buddhists alike; thus it’s called The Great Stupa Which Liberates Upon Seeing.  We meditate and read some of the Jataka tales found in the children’s corner.

My refuge and Bodhisattva vows to train and tame my mind for the benefit of others are reborn. I can feel Antonio and Benicio’s hearts opening further to Buddhism. It is possible that the Dharma is not just mama’s coercive babble to keep the peace.

Shambhala Mountain Center has blossomed from its RMDC [Rocky Mountain Dharma Center, the center’s original name] roots of A-frames, domes and other hand-crafted hippie dwellings. Being on The Land and visiting the Stupa left my heart raw and my mind spinning with nostalgia. I can no longer take for granted my fortunate birth into our sangha.  The Stupa boldly sings the song of the Shambhala sangha’s devotion to the Dharma, and the honorable Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche.

Want to visit the Stupa?


The Great Stupa of Dharmakaya from k.i. on Vimeo.

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