The benefits of stupas (also known as “choten,” or “dharma support” in Tibetan) are well-known. They are symbolic representations of the body, speech, and mind of a Buddha; they contain relics of awakened beings, providing a place for dharma students to pray, make offerings, and accumulate merit; and they have the power to transmit the essence of awakened mind, on the spot, to anyone ready to receive it.
Stupas were built in India after the death of Buddha Shakyamuni to house his relics, and have been built in every nation and on every continent where Buddhism has journeyed.
In the 1970s, the first Tibetan Buddhist stupas were constructed in the United States. A fair number of stupas – nearly a dozen – were built in the Southwest. This includes stupas in Santa Fe, Albuquerque, Taos and Questa, New Mexico; as well as in Red Feather Lakes, Colorado and Crestone, Colorado.
The Karma Thegsum Tashi Gomang Stupa at Crestone is of special interest to students of His Holiness Karmapa. It was built at the direction of His Holiness the 16th Karmapa for the purpose of blessing and protecting America and taming its energies with the dharma.
We have all admired these stupas from afar for years. This year, for the first time, Karma Triyana Dharmachakra will host a Stupa Pilgrimage of the Southwest.
Scheduled from June 3-6, 2013, the pilgrimage will include visits to the three stupas in Colorado’s Crestone Valley, as well as visits to the Kagyu Shenpen Kunchab Bodhi Stupa in Santa Fe, the Kagyu Deki Stupa in Tres Orejas, NM, the Kagyu Mila Guru Stupa in El Rito, NM, and the Khang Tsag Choten in Santa Fe – reputed to be the first Tibetan stupa built in North America.
Lama Kathy Wesley will lead the pilgrimage, which will include pujas and prayers at all stupa sites, circumambulation rituals, and mantra practices.
The $555 fee for participation will include four nights’ lodging and meals at inns near the stupa sites, and bus transit from our starting city of Albuquerque, NM to all the stupa sites and back. Participants will need to provide their own transportation to and from Albuquerque.
Registration is now open. There will be a limit of 25 participants; those who cannot attend will be given an opportunity to “tag along” through a low-cost sponsorship program.
Interested? Contact Stupa Pilgrimage Organizer Lama Kathy Wesley at firstname.lastname@example.org.
From the KTTG website:
The Tashi Gomang Stupa embodies His Holiness the XVIth Gyalwa Karmapa. In the words of H.H. Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche: “Within the stupa the teacher remains unchanging. The Buddha said that whoever sees the stupa will be liberated by the sight of it. Feeling the breeze around the stupa liberates by its touch. Having thus seen or experienced the stupa, by thinking of one’s experience of it, one is liberated through recollection.”