It may come as a surprise to you, but I did not travel to the other side of the world for this. Instead, I’m right here in Red Feather Lakes, Colorado where lies The Great Stupa @ Shambhala Mountain Center. There isn’t much here, it stands tall and stunning in a mountain valley. It is surrounded by nothing but hills, pine trees and sky. Its better off this way, as anything else might distract from the beauty of this 108 foot tall stupa. Don’t believe for a second that this is just simply a good place for a photo op, they host over 100 programs every year that vary from meditation, creativity, and self transformation. You’ve gotta check out these photos and get this…
Everyday you can checkout the Great Stupa between 9AM – 7PM, while it is free of charge, you’ll have the ability to drop off donations. I emailed their general inbox a few days ahead of time to ask questions and they were extremely welcoming. There’s lodging facilities for people who attend their numerous programs, tents that serve lunch and dinner- which the visitor center willingly invites guests to for $10 and there’s hiking trails! Once you park in the visitor lot, walk towards the visitor center where they can provide you a map to get to the stupa. It really is quite amazing, the trail towards it is aligned with colorful flags flapping in the wind to lead you to your destination. A 25 minute walk will lead you through clustered areas of tents where people stay for retreats, benches, bridges and a stone statue. And finally, once you approach it, you won’t be able to believe how this is even here…I know I didn’t.
The Great Stupa began in 1988, built by volunteers and donations over 30 years, an ongoing project. It was inspired by Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche. The stupa stands tall and white with intricate pieces of color surrounding it and has 3 levels with an opening right in the front. Here you can kick off your shoes and view the gold colored buddha statue inside. Its interesting, most stupa’s are symbolic structures that are actually sealed and do not allow entry. But this stupa, has cushion seats for you right on the inside.
The saying goes, if you approach the Stupa with a pure heart and the intention to benefit others, you will receive its blessings. So word of advice, when you show yourself to this sacred buddhist architecture, check your negativity back at the car! Because no one wants you bringing that. The Great Stupa is an inspiration for peace and compassion, when you approach it, you will feel it. You will feel in awe, take it from your fellow writer right here, I’m an atheist, but I can appreciate and whole-heartedly respect a place like this. Also, my parents are buddhist and I’ve seen a temple or two growing up, but the Great Stupa is not like what we have at the Lao temple. A 200 foot terraced park, a top 8,000 foot elevation, in a space between mountain and trees, sits a vibrant shrine alone and its an absolutely beautiful way to pull together the energy of the environment. Colorado vibes for sure, spiritual vibes a definite.
The Great Stupa @ Shambhala Mountain Center
Red Feather Lakes, CO
Song for the Post: Trust – Kungs
Thanks for reading guys!