Visit the Stupa for a day or…

 

stupa top and side

The Great Stupa of Dharmakaya Which Liberates Upon Seeing. A monument to kindness. Built to last a thousand years. One of the key examples of Eastern architecture in North America.

The Stupa Work Week volunteer program is coming soon, and it is really the best chance you have to take that feeling of accomplishment you get from a weekend working on your yard and multiply it by a thousand. After all, this is not just a landscaping project, the Great Stupa is a site of pilgrimage, equally for the devout and the curious. As an example of enlightened architecture, it is both specific to Tibetan tradition and archetypal as a sacred space.

It has accommodated many motives and inspirations from volunteers, who provided most of the labor to build it. You can visit the Great Stupa in a day, but you can also work with it for a week.

stupa work week

Expect some hearty activities like concrete crack repair, path expansion, and fire mitigation. But where there are tools, there are tools in need of organization and storage. And where there is a 108 foot tall, white concrete stupa in the middle of a rustic mountain range, there is a stupa in need of a fresh coat of paint.

You will be working with Joshua Mulder, who must be in rare company when he fills out his census with “Occupation: Stupa Caretaker”. His mission—should you choose to assist it—will benefit an inestimable number of visitors. Volunteers are essential.

Along with the lifting, painting, and general caring for this amazing site, you can expect dharma talks and discussions…and sitting meditation. Because you don’t spend a week at the Great Stupa without logging some time on the cushion.

Enjoying the peaceful space of the mountains, however, is completely optional.

Autumnal Tori Gate

Please contact Lindy and Bob King at lotusking@indra.com to apply for the program. Once your application has been reviewed and approved, you will be given a link to register for the program. Good strong backs are very helpful, but not required!

everyday I'm shoveling

Pelicans and Programs, Passing Through

 

As usual springtime in Colorado has been a battle between winter and summer with blithely absurd weather predictions like “Snowy, High of 57″ which should mean “Rainy” but actually means that it will snow and then climb up to 57 degrees, or vise versa. Some first-timers to SMC came in the middle of such a snow storm. These American White Pelicans stopped for a rest from their migration. While they are seen regularly in the lakes around Fort Collins at this time of year, we have been very lucky to have them visit us for a day or two.

Pelicans in lake with duck

Shambhala Mountain Center is a constant, physical reminder that we are at home in the world, regardless of a moment’s inconvenience or a freak snow storm. Our pelican friends are not the only ones practicing patience. At SMC, a cloud will come over the mountain ridge, like a bad mood, spitting sleet, and pass through the valley but this barely dampens our sunny valley. This is the perfect place for Anthony Lawlor’s Dwelling in the Sacred program to examine the qualities of place and placement that wake us up and instruct.

Pelicans with pronounced bill bumps

Pelicans spend most of the year in coastal regions, but the American White Pelican migrates inland to the midwest and western mountains (us!) in order to breed. The bumps on their bills tell us that they are in mating season. The bumps will actually fall off their bills once the mating season is over.

Bumps, lumps, and other awkward parts rise and settle constantly whether you’re a bird, beast, or flower. Chogyam Trunpa Rinpoche compared the cultivation of fearlessness to a reindeer growing horns. At first soft, rubber, awkward–very unlike horns–until the reindeer realizes that it should have horns. So too a person going beyond fear comes to realize that they should feel tender and open. Such change is nothing to fear. If you have seen a friend change over the course of a meditation practice, you know this.

setting up a tent in the snow

In this season of transitions, we are preparing for lots to come and depart. The summer Set-Up crew has arrived to populate our valley with tent villages. We’ve hosted programs on major life transitions and will be hosting more teachers who are familiar with the work of transitioning.

 

 

We will probably even host more migratory birds.


Hummingbird at feeder

What kind of transition has helped you wake up to this miraculous world we share?