Draggin' the line
Two weeks ago I called up my daughter and asked her to come home for my boss's farewell party, which was scheduled for a week later. My now-former boss is someone who I respect and like a lot. She's a manager who fosters "teammanship"
(is that a word?) to deliver outstanding results. She's the one who most often wins awards for top performing team. Also I respect and like my daughter, who I haven't seen in a long time. I wanted my boss and daughter to meet.
My boss's party went well. We all managed to hold back our tears until the ride home, or whenever, and we enjoyed the bowling and pizza. My daughter scored a strike.
Then yesterday my daughter and I visited Shambhala Mountain Center, which is a special place for us, although we hadn't been there for a while
What makes Shambhala special is its comfortable 45-minute drive to get there. Its spectacular Colorado scenery
, which reminds me of how extraordinary my own view is, of the foothills outside of my windows here at home. And of course there's Shambhala's influence on post-1960s American culture, an influence that unfolded as I came of age. Which doesn't mean I can forget the heartbreaking but possibly forgivable sins of Shambhala's excesses. The spirit of Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche resides at Shambhala. My daughter describes Shambhala as peaceful. What I know is that I'm drawn there again and again, as my daughter seems to be, too.
Shambhala's attractions include its mash-up of hippie
and Tibetan architecture. You'll feel happy as you walk through Shambhala's buildings. The integration of building material, architectural space, Colorado, high-altitude light and the shadow of contemporary cultural history connects your mind, your sensual-craving body (God bless it) and your appreciation of varnish and Himalayan accent-color
with a faith that encourages you to embrace your true nature.
Which brings me to the Buddhism. My photo of the statue of the Buddha, below, shows the natural enclosure of rock outcropping where Trungpa Rinpoche first instructed his students in the dharma, along with the statue that's appeared since our last visit, at what was then known as the Rocky Mountain Dharma Center. Not that I know any more about that than what I've read on an interpretive sign, and I haven't taken a class in Shambhala training. My instruction in the dharma comes from Zen, where I learned to count my breath. The reason I keep returning to Shambhala is the palpable presence there of the truth at the end of my nose.
What else's at Shambhala? Don't miss Trungpa Rinpoche's and others' calligraphy
. It's not displayed everywhere, but you'll find it, with looking. Although that's not why my daughter and I went to Shambhala this time. We went to place a foot of our present in front of the many feet of our past and to be together, as we enjoyed Shambhala's hippie lunch and circumambulating the stupa.
The Great Stupa of Dharmakaya, at Shambhala, is America's inspiring Buddhist cathedral.