January 3, 2011

Celebration of the Installation of the Vajradhara Thangka at Shambhala Mountain Center.

Above, how the thangka (Tibetan Buddhist painting) appeared where it was installed and presided for 30 years. Now, it’s found an incomparable home in the Great Stupa of Dharmakaya, a happy ending and new beginning if ever there was one.

Celebration of the installation of the Great Vajradhara thangka…

…commissioned in 1979 by Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche and painted by Sherap Palden Beru, in the Great Stupa of Dharmakaya at Shambhala Mountain Center:

Via the wonderful Lindy King, to the Shambhala community (Sangha). The first letter is most recent:
Dear  friends,

We want to let you all know that the installation of the Vajradhara thangka  in the Stupa went very well.  It is up and absolutely beautiful and magical and perfect in that space!!  It almost felt like the Buddha smiled.

Once we got up to SMC, it took Bob and I and Joshua and our dear friend Patrick late into Friday evening, all of Saturday, and into the night and Sunday morning to prepare the thangka and the  insulated wall insert  for the clerestory window above the main entrance  where the thangka would be hung.  We sewed a fine cotton  cloth to the top of the back of the the thangka, to protect it from touching any surface, and it unfurled beautifully as the thangka was unrolled during raising..which happened on Sunday around 1 p.m.  It went up so smoothly. It had been  skillfully repaired and prepared for transport by our sangha art conservator Ann Shaftel and her Boulder Shambhala Center assistants.  She gave us excellent guidance for our preparations at the stupa for protection from light, temperature changes,  and contact with detrimental materials.

We  installed an offering shelf above the door and at the foot of the thangka, which makes a very nice division between the two, and upon which we placed two lovely potted flowers,  battery operated tea lights and a rupa of the Dharmachakra, the Wheel of Dharma.

Our time doing this together was a real gift.  It was wonderful and essential to have Patrick with us,  and it was also an exceptional time for Bob and Joshua and I to be able to have this simple, quiet, gentle loving time working together again in the stupa, and with this thangka.  It was like a  beautiful dance, how we thought things out, made decisions and executed each move together…very natural,  graceful and peaceful. It was a very special time.

On Sunday at 2 p.m. we did the  Lhasang with  offerings and also with music which was lead  by Greg Smith; cymbols, horn and drums, which further aroused the potency and blessings of this precious event. We were on the circumambulation path in front of the main entrance, with a small but perfect group of people.  Makpon Jesse Grimes was auspiciously present with other kasung, as he was presenting to  the SMC community and the kasung that weekend. Shastri Holly Gayley was teaching a meditation course to new meditators , so she and some of her  students and MIs were able to attend.  Adana Barbieri and several SMC staff of course were there. There were a couple of young ladies from Fort Collins who just stopped up to visit the stupa.  They felt profoundly moved and a very heartfelt  connection.  Rachel Homer came up from Boulder.  She stood as the representative of everybody else!  It was good.

After circumambulating while chanting Ki Ki So So….we all entered the stupa and sat down in rows facing each other, with the Buddha to one side and Vajradhara on the other, the ashe on the floor in between.  No one’s back was to Vajradhara and the space felt very good this way, more open and direct.  We did the Great Vajradhara lineage chant slowly with potency, and sat for awhile.  Then we all just smiled and hugged and felt awe together.

It feels really really good! Its a wonderful change for the Stupa, magnificent actually, and it feels very natural.

Below is a link to a little film that Greg Smith made of this event. Hope this link works on Sangha Announce. And a reminder that though you see the thangka is embraced by window on either side..it is completely protected from the window and the wall with two different types of insulation.   It worked out nicely to have adequate protection and still natural light from that wall.  It does not feel dark in there.  It feels just right.


“….through all my births may I not be separated from the perfect guru and so enjoy the splender of dharma. Perfecting the virtues of the paths and  bhumis, may I speedily attain the state of Vajradhara.”

We are really happy that we can share this with you.

With much love,
Lindy and Bob and Joshua


Dear friends,

As you now know, the main shrine room of the Boulder Shambhala Center is being remodeled to receive the new Rigden and Shambhala Lineage Thangkas and The Vajradhara Thangka is moving to The Great Stupa of Dharmakaya. The thangka has been taken down, the brocade has been repaired and it has been properly packed up and is in the covered truck right now ready for its journey to SMC. Bob and I are just leaving to take it up. The thangka will be hung in the space of the clerestory window above the main entry on the first floor, directly facing the Buddha containing the relics of the Vidyadhara. Its true, that while sitting facing the buddha, one’s back may be to the thangka, but this is so in most monasteries in Tibet , Nepal, Bhutan, and India ; someone’s back is always to something….one is sitting right in the middle of the mandala. The space is completely sacred.

Over the weekend, we will be preparing an insulated insert for the clerestory window that will provide a proper wall for the thangka and will protect it from temperature changes and sunlight. We will also install appropriate lighting. We hope to be able to hang the thangka on Sunday afternoon around 2 p.m.

Acccording to Lama Pejal, since the thangka is already full of blessings, there is no need for a special ceremony. But he was pleased that we would do a lhasang to dispell obsticles and bring down further blessings during the installation. If you would like to come up and join us for this very simple but precious moment, please do! Really it will be simple, the lhasang and circumambulaton while the thangka is being installed. Though it is cold and windy, the space is too small for many people to be inside along with the materials and lifts.

If you do plan on coming up please let SMC know ahead of time in case you will need to have a meal, as the main kitchen is closed for renovation. And we would just really like to have some sense if people are coming.
Mostly we wanted you to know that this is happening now.

For the benefit of all,

And best to all of you,
Lindy and Bob King

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