A few weeks ago, before the continual spring rain started hitting Colorado, we went to the Shambhala Mountain Center at Red Feather Lakes. We were to accompany some of Laura and Irve’s (the in laws) friends to this monastery hidden in the mountains. And it was not what I expected. This post will be mostly in pictures… a little different than usual.
We headed out around 9 am expecting an hour drive then a hike into the woods. It was beautiful and clear but so green. Springtime had definitely began.
As we started our hike onto the Shambhala property, we followed giant white banners along a well worn path towards something called a Stuppa. We really didn’t know what to expect, it was supposed to be a giant temple. I thought that maybe they imported it from some faraway place and assembled it again.
Every once in a while we would stumble upon a bridge or a lonely Buddha or a place to sit and meditate.
And then it rises up out of nowhere. The stuppa, turned out to be a giant white building, more a shrine than a temple. Placed in the middle of the Rocky Mountains but looking like it belongs in Tibet, it is a surreal experience seeing it.
It was completely built with volunteer labor and expertise. Right before you walk up the steps to the building, there is a shrine where people leave gifts. This produced my favorite photograph of the day.
Then the rest of the time, we spent exploring inside the building before a meditation started. It was a little outside of my comfort zone to sit in a teaching/meditation time so we left a little early.
All in all, it was a really cool experience to see the stuppa in the middle of the forest. We wondered aloud to one another the reasons for leaving gifts and prayers if you followed a religion that denied any God except Enlightenment. Why would you leave prayers or gifts for a god purely in the mind? What good does it do unless there is a God who listens and can answer back? What good is a building completely built with gold unless its full of the Spirit of God? We found a cold, echo filled room, the rest of the structure was closed unless you were a “serious student of Buddhism”. What good is it to be a part of something if you aren’t good enough to get to the inner ring of followers?
There is truth in Buddhism, we know that all truth is God’s truth. Enlightenment is something that God gives to anyone who asks. We are following a living God, who hears and only wants the gift, the sacrifice of our hearts, completely given to him in our submission. And he never tells us we aren’t good enough to enter the secret places of His temple. He invites us in and wants to help us learn Truth (capital T).