I was driving along a narrow dirt road on the outskirts of the Rocky Mountains. A light dusting of snow covered the ground, but brown and green grasses crept through, reaching for the sun as spring slowly began to take hold of the area. I had just left Gnome Rd and was eager to get to my next location, yet I had heard that there was a stupa close by that I should stop at. What’s a stupa? At the time I had no clue, only knowing that it had something to do with Buddhism. I was quite surprised that there was a Buddhist community out here in the middle of nowhere, but I was excited to find out what this stupa had for me to discover.
After a 30 min drive (caused by dirt roads, not distance), I arrived at what seemed like an extremely small village in the middle of the mountains. There was a parking lot halfway filled, and a trail leading to a welcome center, a cafeteria, and a small book store. As I walked around, I couldn’t find anyone else, but after a bit of wandering, I found a sign leading to a trail, and I could see a giant temple off in the distance. So I set off on about a mile walk into the forest.
After my small trek, I came upon the stupa and was amazed by how big it was. At over 100 ft high, the temple dwarfed anything around it. The paths were decorated with flags all the way up the stairs to the entrance. I pushed open the door and saw four people inside, sitting on the floor, being led in prayer by one person in the center of the room, next to a giant Buddha statue. I sat along the edge of the room, trying not to make a sound or distract the parishioners. As I looked around I saw that elaborate tiles covered the floor and ceiling. Cream colored walls were decorated with ledges holding statues and books. Everything was focused around the prayer circle and Buddha.
As the prayers filled my ears, I noticed a small urn in the middle of the room and realized that I had entered a funeral. The person leading the prayer invited me into the circle, and as awkward as I felt at the moment, feeling suddenly as if I shouldn’t have come into the room, I sat down with the group and joined them for an hour of prayer and meditation. The group then left to spread the ashes and asked if I would come along so I did.
As we walked outside into the forest, I listened to their steady chant. I felt at peace. I felt welcomed. I felt content. They then invited me to join them for lunch but I declined, feeling like I had taken up enough of their time already. I slowly walked through the forest and returned to my car. While I walked, with every breath I took, I felt closer to the land and the forest. It sounds ridiculous as I think about it now, but right then, I felt complete.
Closest Supercharger Loveland CO 57 mi away
4705 Clydesdale Pkwy, Loveland, CO 80538
Great Stupa of Dharmakaya
151 Shambhala Way, Red Feather Lakes, CO 80545