Tashi Gomang Stupa

Located high above the San Luis Valley with a spectacular view of several distant mountain ranges, the 42-foot high Tashi Gomang Stupa is a spiritual monument built on 200 acres of pristine natural beauty and open to the public every day since 1995.

The Tashi Gomang Stupa commemorates the 16th Karmapa, Rangjung Rigpe Dorje, who escaped Tibet after the Chinese invasion. His pioneering visits to Europe and North America inspired thousands of Westerners to take up the dharma. The land on which the stupa is built was donated to the 16th Karmapa during a visit he made to Crestone in 1980.

The relatively modern Tibetan stupa shape has eight versions, each presenting one of the eight stages of the Buddha’s life and path. The Tashi Gomang Stupa is known as ‘Stupa of Many Auspicious Doors,’ representing the Buddha’s first teachings at Deer Park in Sarnath, revealing the truth of suffering, the cause of suffering and the skillful means to bring about the cessation of suffering. This type of stupa emphasizes the many ways in which the practice of the Dharma teachings can be of benefit in gaining clarity and stability in one’s life.

The Tashi Gomang Stupa is totally enclosed and contains many special objects. Offerings were placed underneath it in tribute to the goddess of the earth and local deities and to ask their permission before construction could take place.

The enormous base, or throne of the stupa was filled with juniper, which according to tradition has special powers of purification. Offering vases were placed in the juniper along with musical instruments, medicines, herbs, food, precious substances, silks, brocades and perfumes.

The stupa was then filled with 100,000 tsa-tsas (or miniature stupas) laboriously crafted over many months. Within each tsa-tsa is a tiny roll of prayers, and mantras. The tsa-tsas were blessed and consecrated by visiting lamas before being placed carefully inside the stupa.

A tsok-shing, or “life force” pole, resting on two offering-covered mandalas, was placed through the center of the bell-shaped body of the stupa, reaching to the top of the 14-ringed spire above. It was crafted from a single juniper tree into the shape of an obelisk, with a half dorje (vajra, or ‘thunderbolt’) at the bottom and a small carved stupa statue at the top. Precious relics were placed around the life-force pole, painted, inscribed in gold with the Buddha’s teachings, and wrapped in silks and brocades.

A statue of His Holiness the 16th Karmapa, wearing his traditional Black Crown, was placed on the front of the stupa in a portico-like niche structure called a gau. Artisans in Nepal sculpted the image and its encasing niche and frame, as well as the sun-moon-jewel ornamentation on top of the spire. The final gold-leaf finish on the ornamentation was done locally in the Baca Grande.

Inside the statue is another tsok-shing, rolls of mantras, and relics from all sixteen Karmapas and other saints. The stupa is further empowered by including important relics from Shakyamuni Buddha, Padmasambhava, Longchenpa, Rechungpa, Tilopa, Marpa, Milarepa, and the Jamgon Kongtrul, Tulku Urgyen, Chogyam Trungpa, Dilgo Khyentse and Kalu Rinpoches. Also inside the stupa are sand, water, and stone from the eight great pilgrimage sites in India; wood from the Bodhi tree under which the Buddha attained enlightenment, water from a cave of Milarepa, and other sacred objects.

For over twenty-five years the Tashi Gomang Stupa has been a spiritual beacon, the embodiment of the spirit and vision of His Holiness the 16th Gyalwa Karmapa.

“When a great being passes away, his body is no more. But to indicate that his mind is dwelling forever in an unchanging way in the dharmakaya, one will erect a stupa as a symbol of the mind of the buddhas. 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.” H.H. Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche

The Tashi Gomang Stupa is the result of over seven years of hard work done with patience, resilience, and fortitude by a small group of volunteers and sponsors of all ages and from all over the planet. Their story is told in a wonderful film documentary, Eye of the Land, available via crestonefilms.com.



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