New stupa a labor of love, community

NewsCrestone, Baca Grande & Casita ParkNew stupa a labor of love, community
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By Matt Lit
Photography by Matt Lit

Lama Zoe de Bray’s eyes light up as she watches the progress being made on the new stupa honoring Khenpo Karthar Rinpoche. She is the Project Manager under the umbrella of Karma Thegsum Sashi Gomang (KTTG).

The stupa will be an “attendant” stupa to the 42-foot-tall Tashi Gomang stupa, high above the San Luis Valley, south of Crestone. 

Ceremonies to celebrate the new stupa will begin on August 4 and continue through August 8 with two sessions per day at 9 a.m.-noon and 2-5 p.m. Khenpo Karthar Rinpoche was a senior lama of the Karma Kagyu school of Tibetan Buddhism. He passed away in October 2019 at 95 years old. 

Twelve Lamas will be coming from Woodstock, New York and one from Tibet who will preside over the ceremonies. The Woodstock lamas include a mix of Chinese Tibetan and American Lamas, said de Bray. The one from Tibet holds a very high position in the monastery system there. “We are really honored to have him come preside,” she added. 

Construction began on the stupa—known as the KKR Stupa Project—began in 2020.  Dorje (Sean Acton) is the stupa builder. Barbara Falconer the artistic director.

Her love of Khenpo Karthar Rinpoche goes back 40 years. In 1996, she attended the traditional Tibetan three-year retreat under his guidance. Rinpoche was very active in the building of the Tashi Gomang Stupa and on one visit during the 90s determined the exact location for this stupa.

Stupas are reliquaries for the relics of saints.  In time they become sacred pilgrimage sites.

There are 8 different types of stupas and Rinpoche’s is called an “Enlightenment Stupa.” Another type, The Tashi Gomang Stupa, represents the many doors to enlightenment the Buddha gave.  They are all related to the life of the Buddha and the process of Enlightenment.

Fundraising for the stupa continues and donations can be made to the KKR Stupa Fund online at: karmapastupa.org/donate. 

For other donation methods contact de Bray at: zoedebray@gmail.com.

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