This past summer, a devastating forest fire in the Poudre Canyon near Fort Collins destroyed tens of thousands of acres of forest and many homes in the area. Mercifully, the fire did not reach Shambhala Mountain Center, but it came within a few miles. The Center was evacuated and many programs were cancelled. This event pointed out the vulnerability of the Center and the land, and the need to be prepared for any future disasters. One of the issues that came to light was that the Great Stupa of Dharmakaya was potentially at great risk.
John Perkins, former director of the Shambhala Archives and an expert in preservation of cultural heritage, expressed concern about the Stupa and volunteered to travel from his home in Mexico to SMC to prepare the structure to withstand the fire. The Chögyam Trungpa Legacy Project, of which I’m the director, got involved. We were able to contribute a modest sum to help with John’s expenses. He traveled to the Stupa, where he worked with SMC staff, Bob and Lindy King (who directed the original construction), and others to protect the building and its precious contents. You can find a summary of John’s efforts on the news section of the Chögyam Trungpa Legacy Project website here.
An outcome of all this effort was the strong sentiment that now is the time to use what we’ve learned and do the work to protect the Stupa and the nearby Visitor Center from future problems. Bob and Lindy King and John Perkins, working closely with SMC, are hosting a workweek at the Great Stupa from September 28 to October 4. There is no charge for this program, and SMC is providing housing and meals.
You can help! Bob, Lindy and John have put together an exhaustive proposal and budget for the workweek. When they added up the figures, it came out to $10,108 an auspicious number indeed. So far, we have raised $6,000 including a generous donation from the Shambhala Mountain Center itself. Contributions can be made via Pay Pal on the Legacy Project website.
The Legacy Project will maintain a fund to be used solely for this project. If Pay Pal is not for you but you wish to send a check or donate in another manner, please contact me at Carolyn[at]shambhala.com. If you are interested in volunteering for this project, you can also write to me.