First, let me correct an error in my previous post: it is St. Walburga, not as I spelled it. Apologies.
In the same trip that brought me to Colorado – in fact, the same day our group visited the Abbey of St. Walburga – we stopped to visit The Great Stupa at Shambhala Mountain Center in Red Feather Lakes, Colorado. The Great Stupa of Dharmakaya is one of the most significant examples of Buddhist sacred architecture in the world. It preserves the sacred art and culture of Tibet using 21st-century technology. Sitting at an elevation of 8,000 feet, it is a monument to peace, tolerance, and compassion.
The rolling meadows and pine forests of the Shambhala Mountain Center provide a sacred space that speaks to the heart. A sense of tranquility and timelessness takes over, and one experiences a felt sense of peace. Our visit to the Stupa included the traditional practice of circumambulation (walking clockwise several times around the outside of the Stupa), meditation in the inner hall, and private time to walk the grounds.
In Hindu and Tibetan Buddhist traditions, Shambhala is a mythical kingdom referred to in many ancient texts. It gradually came to be seen as a Buddhist pure land, a fabulous kingdom whose reality is visionary or spiritual as much as physical or geographic. It was in this form that the Shambhala myth reached Western Europe and the Americas, where it influenced non-Buddhist as well as Buddhist spiritual seekers – and, to some extent popular culture in general.
If you found yourself singing “in the halls of Shambala” while reading this post, you are probably thinking of the 1970s hit “Shambala” by Three Dog Night! The song’s lyrics are about this mythical kingdom of Shambhala, which was said to be hidden somewhere within or beyond the peaks of the Himalayas. The lyrics refer to a situation where kindness and cooperation are universal, joy and good fortune abound, and psychological burdens are lifted. “On the road to Shambala” suggests that Shambala is a metaphor for the spiritual path that one might follow.
Our group was at Shambhala for less than an hour, but even in that short time, we experienced a sense of calm and connectedness with kindred spirits for whom peace, tolerance, and compassion are highly regarded virtues.