In March of 2015, a small group of I Liq Chuan students from Arizona and Colorado were lucky enough to make a day trip to the Shambala Mountain Retreat Center in Colorado, USA.
The trip was organized by local Colorado instructor Ken Forsythe, and his student Phil Friedman.
Despite it still being winter in Colorado, the weather was clear and beautiful, perfect for a walkabout in the Colorado Rockies. Since it was winter, we were there in the off season, so we practically had the entire facility to ourselves, as well as a guided tour of the magnificent stupa. The retreat center boasts a fully staffed kitchen that serves meals twice a day. We arrived at the center with about 40 minutes to spare and we were granted permission for a group sit in one the fully functional (and beautiful) meditation halls.
After our sit, we ate a fantastic lunch before our tour of the stupa.
Sitting at the highest point we visited, the stupa was really a magnificent and impressive structure. Composed of a special concrete that was designed to last 1000 years, the project had lasted for more than 20 years, and was still incomplete, yet still breath taking. The stupa contains relics from many Lamas, as well as a giant golden Buddha statue built in the Gandhara style as an homage to the West since the stupa resides in the US. The whole thing has been built exclusively using donated funds and volunteer labor. Our tour of the stupa concluded with another short, group sit, after which we headed off to the visitor center to watch a video documentary about the construction of the center as well as some of the history of Shambala Buddhism.
Over all, we all left feeling very inspired by our trip and we were very grateful for the opportunity to have visited. We spent some time discussing how perfect the location would be for an I Liq Chuan retreat, and hope to make it happen in the future.