The week was very long – busy at work. I was very much looking forward for the weekend. Chris had planned to visit the Shambala Mountain center for the weekend. Drive there on Saturday and stay over night. The main purpose of the trip was to tour the place and get a 1st hand feeling how suitable the place will be for a large Retreat which is under the way of conception. I had NO idea where this was located, but heard that is a VERY special place. Usually when I plan, I go over every little detail, point of interest on the way, the topology as I truly enjoy expanding my geography knowledge. But this time I left it all to Chris.
Saturday morning he said we have to leave by 10 AM as it is a 3 Hr. drive. 3 Hr! where is this place was my reaction! It was almost near the norther border between Colorado and Wyoming. O Dear! so we got everything together and hit the road. the Interstate 25 was going all the way to Wyoming. It always fascinates me how we have explored far and wide and laid roads and built services making it easy to go places.
Almost 106 miles on I-25 O WOW! ok a long way to go. But we had quite interesting conversation on the upcoming retreats and the programs we want to present and other potential organizations that we have to join hands with to reach more people. It was almost lunch time we were in Fort Collins. I think this is the 1st time we are this far North. We weren’t sure if we really want to stop as we had another 50 more miles to go. We can find something to eat as we get closer was our thinking.
The GPS directed up to get on to 70. As you know the rock formations in Colorado always makes one wonder how Nature brought these all about. Small and large hills all around us, we came to the realization, Ha! we are not going to have those sophisticated restaurants anymore. Coming to terms, I handed over Chris his Protein shake and I had my breakfast bar!
But we needed gas! O MAN! After driving on 70 all of a sudden it became a gravel road! Are we driving in the right direction? There is another 30 miles to go. How can it be a gravel road. He slowed down pretty much as we were driving the Prius. Finally we merged on to 287! HA a paved road it does make a difference. We reached the center of Livermore a tiny town, a old style store with a very OLD gas station. Chris immediately jumped out and filled the tank! We looked around and NOTHING! Hmmm this is slowly setting into my mind. Being on the East Coast most of my life the Mid-West is so far contrast.
As we started driving a little further I saw the sign for Shambala Mountain Center. A great relief ok we are closer. The dirt road was much better than the gravel road. The rock formation was so unique as if you are entering into a Fortress. High and Low walls and spikes here and there as if they were Guard Towers. All will make sense when Micheal the Executive Director explains the Feng Shui of the whole region!
Our stomachs still growling we pulled into the parking lot. The quietness of the place immediately grasps you. We walked to the registration center to be received by a young women Marsha who will be our tour guide. Marsha is a resident of SMC. Right away I though how fortunate at this young age, for someone to get exposed to the Great Buddha Teachings!
Marsha took us to meet Micheal the Executive Director and also a resident of SMC. We were very warmly received and after a few minutes of mutual introduction, Micheal presented a power point which gave us a glimpse of the POTENT of the sacred place from the point of Feng Shui with various pictures of SMC. The Worriers, Watchers and the Observers. The Dragon formations and the POWER points. How the absolute TRUTH meets the Relative TRUTH. It was so humbling to even to have been given an opportunity to stand in such a great sacred space! He finished his presentation remarking this is just the tip of an ice-berg! SO TRUE!
So limited is our sensory organs, understanding and our awareness to things the mind can’t comprehend how things manifest and unmanifest between the world of Spirit and Matter.
As we were about to leave, Micheal gave us a edition of “The Great Stupa Of Dharmakaya Which Liberates Upon Seeing” which captures the history of the whole place. Another interesting synchronicity was, when Chris pointed to a picture frame holding a Chinese Scripture and asked what it is – the response we received made our hearts glow! The scripture or lettering was representation for a “SEED” , so sacred holding the great wisdom. One of the conversation that Chris and I had during our drive was, his idea of “Mighty Seeds” a kids club and how to introduce value based education to kids of various ages! Talk about Synchronicity – we are all small elements in this whole universal operations.
One of the deepest TRUTH that my Teacher asked us to sink in our mind as a Vedhantha students is to be aware of this – we are a VERY small part of the universal operations, even though we might feel the other way – O I planned it executed and achieved it ! So childish.
Marsha showed us the different structures and Lodges spread out far and wide. The whole SMC is on a 600 acre surrounded by mountains. 2 big Lodges and bunch of cabins and open space to tent out in summer. Anytime you stop talking the stillness grasped you over and over! Was a great experience. During the tour Marsha also showed a meditation hall where you can sit for meditation anytime. Hmmm I made a mental note of it for the next day Morning meditation.
Lot of walking! Marsha hinted we could visit the Stupa after dinner if we wanted to. We were so tired and hungry. We told how we didn’t have any lunch, she gently smiled and said dinner is at 6:00 PM. We both knew we will be the 1st one’s to be there holding our empty plates waiting in the line to be feed
5 PM the little shop closes where they sell all kind of stuff. We didn’t want to miss, I picked up Zabuton meditation cushion and Chris picked up the book – “The Sacred Path Of the Worrier”
To Gesar of Ling
He who has neither beginning nor end
Who possesses the glory of Tiger Lion Garuda Dragon
Who possesses the confidence beyond words
I pay homage at the feet of the Rigden King.
As we were settling down it felt as if we were HOME. Both Chris and I had been on many spiritual gatherings ranging from a small group of hundreds to thousands and also on few days to weeks of retreat. This is our element and we are in our environment!
We freshened up and went to the Dinning Room. Simple but nutritious food, Marsha joined us and we had a nice conversation exchanging our experiences. SO nice to connect and talk with like minded people. She then took us to the Sacred Study Room where the programs are conducted, what a special place.
We said good night to Marsha and started to walk towards the STUPA!
It was a very cloudy, dark night, with the help of the flash light we slowly navigated our way. Small trails, challenging to make out if we were on the right track, but there was something so special. I was thinking to my-self, here I am in the middle of winter in this dark night following my life companion to visit the Dharmakaya Stupa – “The Great Stupa of Dharmakaya which Liberates Upon Seeing! I just want to capture this moment deep in my Soul. I know this is a small part of our journey but a VERY special part. Will cherish for the years to come …..
It was quite a bit of a walk through the aspen groves and snow covered trails. There it was! GLOWING in the dark night! My eyes could only capture the glow but there was something that my being could sense the profound serenity and stillness which was so permeating the whole place. Stairs leading upto the stupa. In the Indian tradition stairs are scared and symbolize upward progress, the accent, it is challenging and hard as you move towards something higher. Even a small temple will have at least ONE step higher to get to the abode.
108’ feet tall magnificent structure sitting in the middle of nowhere! Representing the great teachings of Buddha more than 500 centuries old. As we approached the door, we heard the rhythmic chanting that was coming from inside. We didn’t want to intrude into that special ceremony, holding our eagerness to see the 20’ feet Buddha Statue we turned around and walked towards our lodge.
Cont Day2 …