Don’t Let This Miracle Slip Away

Time has run out.

We have reached the moment when we either need to secure the Amitabha Sacred Land in Sedona, Arizona or it will be lost if one of or a combination of the things listed below do not happen immediately. Procedures to redraw the boundaries on the land will commence Monday, July 9th and access to the Stupa will become very limited for everyone. The majority of the land will go back to the lender and be open for development.

The Situation

We have, since December, raised $100,000 toward securing this land through generous donations and compassionate activity.  The outpouring has been extraordinary. What we need right now

1)     A friendly loan for $600,000, which – through the great generosity of our donors – we can document that we can pay through our monthly Friends of Amitabha Stupa Campaign and daily donations from thousands of visitors to the Stupa.

2)     A solid sale of the 4.6 acres which would substantially reduce the amount of the friendly loan needed.

3)     Cash donations to reduce the amount of the friendly loan needed

Webathon – On Thursday July 5th, starting at 7P.M., we will be talking about the tremendous blessings available because of this most extraordinary Stupa and how you can keep it from being lost! Please tune in here…

This situation requires spiritual heros – people who have a sense of their own destiny and see that there is an extraordinary moment of decision at hand. History can be made in support of preserving the sacred, on behalf of the hopeless, for those in need of healing, for the millions who will visit this place in the decades and centuries to come; long after today’s institutions and enterprises have gone.  Once secured, the Amitabha Stupa and Peace Park, this place of peace, will endure. It will continue to pour out blessings and virtue all day and all night, bringing countless blessings to the world.

So the question is who will see this and in one moment of open-hearted compassion and courage, act unselfishly for the greater good and the benefit of all sentient beings. If you are that hero please come forth now. You can make a donation online here... If you would like to speak with someone about your charitable contribution, please contact us as kpc@tara.org and we will gladly schedule a call with you.

Recent Activity and Efforts to secure the Amitabha Stupa and Peace Park

Campaigns

Friends of Amitabha Stupa campaign: debited monthly donations

  • The purpose to ensure that strong cash flow exists in order to service a new ­“friendly loan,” at a lower interest rate, if needed.
  • Started in February with 12 Friends at about $200 per month
  • Current number of Friends: 95 donating $2,250 per month and increasing steadily
  • Goal is 108 friends bringing in $3,000

Path to Peace Brick Campaign: sponsoring bricks with messages at the Amitabha Stupa ($500, $250 or $100)

  • Since April, 2012: 33 new brick sponsors bringing in just under $5,000 in donations

Offerings at the Stupa

  • Fluctuates seasonally. Averaging $2,000 plus per month and increasing.

CURRENT CASH FLOW: $4,000 PER MONTH AND INCREASING

Visitors to the Stupa

  • Estimated at 20,000 plus visitors annually and increasing

Local Business Support through Sponsored Events: (headlines from news articles in bold)

December 2, 2011

AZADI Fine Rugs Event Help Secure Sacred Land: The Amitabha Stupa, Jewel of Sedona Azadi Rugs held 2 fundraising events: wine reception, music and a % of sales going to the Amitabha Stupa and a $1,000 gift certificate donated to the Heartline Restaurant fundraising event in February.

December 31, 2011

Celebrate the New Year with Prayerful Intentions!

Over 500 people attended and many offered flowers wrote their intensions for the New Year on blank colored prayer flags. Heart of Sedona, Heartline, Mountain High Flowers all came through with in-kind donations. Intended as a celebration it brought in $2,800

February 11, 2012

The HeartLine Café Hosts a Benefit for the Amitabha Stupa Fabulous Buffet, Music and Silent Auction!

  • Over 175 in attendance
  • Owner Phyllis Cline sponsored everything: the space, delicious buffet, beverages
  • Over 150 silent auction items were donated
  • $9,000 raised

June 10 2012

Celebrating the Amitabha Stupa & Peace Park with Fine Art, Music, and Food June 10

  • Deborah Leatherwood, owner of Rene Restaurant sponsored event
  • Light fare, wine and refreshments, music
  • Over 65 artists, many well known and collected internationally as well as local emerging artists participated.
  • Ballroom space was donated by Wendy Lippman, General Manager of Tlaquepaque Arts & Crafts Village.
  • Over $9,000 raised.

Online Webathon from the main temple in Poolesville Maryland, June 12, 2012

  • Two hour streamed, live webathon brought in $18,000

Pet Blessing at the Amitabha Stupa June 17, 2012

Dozens of people and their pets came for a blessing from the Heart Shrine Relic Tour that took place at 7 Centers Yoga. Pets were blessed with actual relics from the Buddha, similar to the Buddha relics contained within the Amitabha Stupa.

Upcoming Fundraising events:

Stand For Peace: July 8, 2012 four hour, multi-band concert and compilation CD release by well- known local musicians. All musicians are donating their time with 60% of gate and the majority of CD sales going to support the Amitabha Stupa and Peace Park.

Land Sale:

Current status: negotiating an offer

  • 4.6 acres has been for sale for two plus years.

Focus Now:

  • “Friendly Angel Loan,” to relieve the current private note holder and to have more time to completely secure the land through donor development/fundraising and continuing events.

Tune in to the Webathon on Thursday, July 5 at 7p.m to support the Amitabha Stupa and Sacred Land. Together we can secure this treasure!  As Jetsunma said, “Don’t let this miracle slip away.”

People Supporting the Amitabha Stupa & Sacred Land

Wow! What a night!! We had our art auction fundraiser and it was a smashing success. On many levels. We raised $8846. In 3 hours!

People coming forth

Last night was perfectly exemplified up by a woman we had never met before. She showed up in the morning to help hang the art. She was part of a team of four people who came to help. In a record-breaking 2 hours these pros hung 60 plus pieces of art—beautifully. The space looked stunning!

Then this gal comes back to the art auction, stays to the end, buys some art and says: “Thank you for taking such good care of our Stupa.” Turns out she visits the Stupa frequently and depends on it as a spiritual resource. This has become typical… people owning the Stupa!

We have shifted the conversation here from a financial problem the Buddhists are having to the Amitabha Stupa as a Sedona treasure that must be saved and we all want it to stay intact and available.

So here is how the evening came together and who made it happen:

 

The owner of Rene Restaurant in Tlaquepaque, Deborah Leatherwood, sponsored all the delicious food and wine, stayed through the event and loved it. Thank you Sam for introducing us to her 3 months ago!

Owner of Tlaquepaque gave us the ballroom free. Thank you Wendy Lippman!

65 artists, many well-known and many emerging artists donated every piece. And happily. Some even called up when they heard about the event and asked if they could still donate!

Linen company donated. There was a lot of linen! Wine distributers donated all the wine. Tara sang on the adjacent terrace and wowed people.

We had close to 100 people show up on a Sunday night, paying $30 and having a great time bidding on the art. It was a terrific community gathering.

Mayor Rob Adams and his wife were there. His wife Christie said that they don’t go out all that much unless it’s an event related to city business… but they wanted to support us and the Stupa.

Please, please get inspired to help make the webathon a huge success. Many of you have been to the Amitabha Stupa! You know how magnificent and powerful it is.

Jetsunma is extraordinary how she has so skillfully given us these hugely merit-generating projects. Last night every person who came made a connection to the Dharma. Their karmic fabric changed forever, their trajectory towards awakening now lined up.

That’s what’s going on and that’s the news for Sedona! 

Let’s rock the webathon!! E Ma Ho and may all beings make a connection to the Amitabha Stupa.

The Sedona Amitabha Stupa and Peace Park caretakers

 

A Sacred Place of Pilgrimage

It was 8:30 in the morning Memorial Day and a half a dozen cars were already parked along Pueblo Drive at the base of the Amitabha Stupa and Peace Park in Sedona, Arizona. Most of the license plates were from neighboring states. After heading up a short trail and coming upon the Stupa shimmering golden-red against a brilliant azure sky, at least 25 people had made this stop an important start to their day. A special place of peace and a time to remember the sacrifices others had made.

And so it is day after day. People come from far away and just down the road. But on that Memorial Day it seemed especially inconceivable that this place of peace might be somehow lost to those whose destiny it is to visit. That’s why it must be secured now, and time is running out to satisfy a large balloon payment that is due on June 15th of this year.

The stunning 36-foot Amitabha Stupa is situated in the heart of Sedona and cradled by dramatic red rock formations. The Stupa was envisioned by Tibetan Buddhist master, Jetsunma Ahkön Lhamo, the head of Kunzang Palyul Chöling and a lineage master in the Palyul tradition. It was her intention to create a spiritual sanctuary… a place of peace, meditation and prayer, a place to be still, to find answers, to focus on helping others, a place to heal. That intention has been realized! What remains is securing the land financially.

Please help by visiting http://www.stupas.org/friendsdonate.html and becoming a Friend of the Amitabha Stupa with a monthly donation or consider a one-time contribution.

The design of stupas arose from the enlightened mind of the Buddha. Their purpose is to function as powerful generators of peace and virtue 24/7. Their blessings never stop. Pray at a stupa, ask for help, make intentions and wishes at a stupa, and it is understood that those prayers and intentions are made even more powerful.

Since the Amitabha Stupa was finished in 2004 an estimated 100,000 visits have occurred. Every day dozens, sometimes hundreds, spend time in this magnificent place. By 2050 close to 1,000,000 people will have visited the Amitabha Stupa and Peace Park and received its vast blessings and benefit. That future can be a certainty if we secure the land now.

You can be a part of this extraordinary effort and partake of the blessings and merit that will come to anyone who donates, builds, repairs, maintains and ensures a stupa’s longevity in the world. This assurance from the Buddha himself!

Won’t you kindly consider becoming a Friend of the Amitabha Stupa, a powerful way to help ensure its future now and for generations to come?  To learn more about the Amitabha Sacred Land Campaign and to discover all the ways you might be able to help, visit here…

Thank you for your kind consideration and may you and all beings be benefitted by your participation!

The Magnetic Temple

The following is a post by a new student, sharing her personal journey of discovery on the Buddhist path. 

by Kristin Laing
5/1/12

I don’t get to Kunzang Palyul Choling as often as I would like. I live in Fairfax and work in Chantilly. On Friday nights during rush hour, Poolesville, MD – home to KPC – might as well be on the moon for what it takes to get there. Even on Sundays, getting out to the country isn’t easy. The effort, however, is SO WORTH IT. There is something so transformative, so rejuvenating, so uplifting about wading through the tidal wave of traffic to spend some time at KPC.

First, there’s the drive. I’ve taken to saying the Seven Line Prayer to keep me calm on the Beltway till I reach River Road. Once on it, you drive through Potomac, passing churches, neighborhoods, BIG mansions. There are almost always cyclists on Sundays – bright and colorful, like a live action modern painting, struggling up and coasting down the hills as suburb gives way to forest. Right now, the canopy is bright green with the bloom of Spring; the air is fresher, smelling sweet and damp from the river nearby and its streams occasionally running under the road. You reach a point where it seems like the road is ending, but you’ve just made it to another, lesser traveled portion of River Road – you are in the country now. You pass beautiful gardens surrounding farm houses and wide open fields, a historic schoolhouse. By the time you reach the driveway of KPC, the stresses of samsara (the state of suffering all sentient beings are in) have faded. You feel like you’re home.

Inside KPC on a Sunday, the building is buzzing like a beehive.  Maroon and yellow fill the hallways as ordained flutter through their preparations for teachings, tsog, a crystal tour or a talk about Jetsunma’s early years. The bookstore is full of students and visitors. The prayer vigil continues in the prayer room, while Dharma is being taught in the other meeting room. DELICIOUS smells waft from the kitchen/diningroom where Noreen prepares the lunch that will nourish body so that mind can open for teaching. Noreen is funny and direct, or is that direct and funny about it. She is also humble and loving. It makes her food taste better!

The Dharma teaching is from the archives again, a disappointment for me. Jetsunma came home when I prayed for her to, because I needed help praying for all of the sentient beings in my life. Maybe I’m kidding myself that she came back to Maryland after being gone so long, but it makes me smile to think that maybe she heard or sensed my call. So, I have to laugh when I arrive at the temple with our possible physical introduction visualized, to find that it ain’t happenin’ today either. I KNOW she is making me let it go before she appears to me. And I know that when we do finally meet, it will be as void of fanfare as any 2 people meeting for the first time, so I also need to let go of the maternal/fellow NYer hug that is part of that visualization. The day I arrive at the temple visualizing only my practice, there she will be… I’m working on it, Jetsunma!

It’s 3pm. I have been at the temple since 11am and it’s like no time has passed at all. I have absorbed Dharma, giggled along with the women who are now ordained, who tell the stories of the early days before and just after Jetsunma became Jetsunma, about her amazing presence and the work of their own paths. I am sitting in a lazy boy chair now, feigning an attempt to write my next blog entry, but the temple is still buzzing with laughter and conversation. It’s like Thanksgiving, without the fighting or football. Noreen appears from the lunchroom and asks who will make peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for Occupy DC – it’s just the thing to refocus my energy! Somewhere around the middle of the 2nd loaf of spreading peanut butter on bread, I realize how good I feel. I am a part of a family that I am helping to be nourished, and they nourish me – mentally, physically, spiritually – right back.

Holly sits down nearby and becomes the unwitting co-victim to my onslaught of questions. She and Noreen patiently answer every question – just the question I ask and no more. Because of this exchange, days later I would realize the difference between someone who practices Buddhism and someone who possesses knowledge of Buddhism. Someone who practices Buddhism answers only the question that is asked, as if there is an understanding that your path has taken you to the question you are asking at that moment, and the path is YOURS to discover at your pace. The practicing Buddhist only shares as much as you ask. The person who possesses knowledge, however, doesn’t wait for a question. He or she hears something familiar sounding and shares his or her interpretation of that knowledge without hearing that a question hasn’t been asked. This difference makes me appreciate Holly and Noreen, and all of the patient members of my sangha (spiritual group) all the more.

The sun is shining brightly outside, the air is cool but the promise of warmer days is on its breath as I make my way to the Enlightenment Stupa in what has now become my parting ritual with the temple. The stupa BEAMS white light in the sunshine, the prayer flags framing it in color, the burning incense is pleasant to smell, the soft ground supports each step as I pray for my loved ones and friends, and for all sentient beings.

I am walking down the driveway to my car parked along the roadside. It is after 4pm and it is time to re-enter civilization. My head says I must, but my heart wants to stay. I don’t want to go back ‘there’ where nobody understands me or my new enthusiasm for Buddhism. The people who are selflessly loving and caring are so rare amid the self-serving who are lost in the Matrix of samsara. I want to stay where I am welcomed and loved unconditionally. It is an attachment I am sure I have to work on.

So is the attachment of excitement over finding my path. I doubt I will achieve Enlightenment within this precious life because I doubt I will ever let go of the attachment of excitement. I’m okay with that. I have found Dharma, I have found the path. For THIS soul – that is a huge leap forward. Maybe I will earn enough merit this time around to come back as something fun like a Border Collie in the next life!

It was a hot fall day at the Amitabha Stupa

Amitabha StupaIt was a hot fall day at the Amitabha Stupa. The sun glinted off the tigle (teardrop) at the top. Golden wildflowers garlanded the clearing, and chirping birds filled the air, adding their own praises. One Colorado blue bird regularly nose dives for one of the water offering bowls to get a quick drink and then resumes his antics in a nearby pinion pine.

Nearly a dozen KPC members from Sedona gathered to practice the “Shower of Blessings,” a moving, devotional ceremony which, each Saturday afternoon (currently at 4 p.m.) and on ritual holy days, includes a food feast or tsog offering. Often visitors join the practice or share in the food feast at the end. Everyone is welcome.

During the middle of the ceremony, a Sri Lankan family came to the stupa to say some traditional prayers. They had made the trip from California especially for this purpose. After a few moments of silent prayer, the three visitors walked around with candles. They were unlit because of fire restrictions. Although initially disappointed, the family was reassured that imagining them ablaze is considered to be equally effective.  In the Buddhist tradition, visualizing an offering is as potent as making one.

Shower of Blessings TsogDuring the “Shower of Blessings,” visitors kept coming. Some hesitated to walk around the stupa at first, but were warmly greeted and told it is always appropriate to circumambulate a stupa, even if there is a ceremony in progress.

As the sun went behind the red rocks, more people came to meditate and pray. The cooler evenings always bring locals who come to the site to worship. By 6:30 the sun was gone, and the stupa park closed.

October 25 2011 at the Amitabha Stupa

It is always surprising how much there is to experience in this absolutely still place.  Although the Amitabha Stupa and Peace Park is in the heart of West Sedona and readily accessible, it seems very much removed from daily life. The 14-acre parcel of land is studded with arroyos, pinions, junipers, brush and cacti, as well as abundant wild life that either live on the land or pass through—from quails and ravens to the occasional meandering coyote.  In the center of this bounty, stands the stupa.

242304053_o2oXi-S

With so much to see, it’s no wonder that hikers come through the land as well (one day last week there were two groups of 25 people in addition to many individual hikers), and tour guides often bring visitors to experience the extraordinary beauty and calm energy. The stupa has even been dubbed “an unofficial vortex” by Sedonans.

As spectacular as the scenery is, it is secondary to the spiritual refuge that this sacred land provides. People come from all over the world to connect with the power and goodness of the stupa, often leaving offerings of personal meaning in addition to contributions to the upkeep of the land in designated offering boxes. One day it might be conch shells, a rose quartz, a red toad with a quarter in its mouth, a friendship ring and an American Indian sage bundle. At another time it might be silk flowers, cylindrical metal chimes, a clear jar of blood-red heart stones, a ceramic egg, a wooden cross, a black and yellow toy car and a Buzz Lightyear figurine.

A few years ago someone left a song of peace, which ended with “Feel the wind of love increase, as we move this world to peace. Come love the world with me.” A few months ago, a grieving son and daughter left a carved bird for a father who just passed away (he had spent many hours on the land bird-watching); and the other day, a Japanese visitor left a letter to her half brother, whom she had never met. She assured him that “nothing is your fault. … You are an heir of love, remember that. … My prayers are with you.”

People of all spiritual traditions are drawn to the stupa. It is a place where one can feel safely at peace and where the mind can experience stillness, hope, inspiration and love. It is a place to keep one’s spirits up during difficult times and a place to pray for those who are suffering. During times of world crisis, many people are drawn to the stupa to pray. This movement of consciousness from the particular to the general comes naturally at the stupa where the mind seems to expand easily and embrace all of life.

633642315_j6eeN-S

Purifying Poison

In commemoration of the 21st anniversary of the enthronement of Jetsunma Ahkon Lhamo on September 24, we are presenting testimonials from Jetsunma’s students about her impact on their lives.  This story is from Claire.

There was a time before we built that Stupa Park when the land was completely wild. It now has the walking paths around it and the Stupas. I am referring to the time before there were any walking trails, any roads, any way in.

One day Jetsunma was on the land with a group of people working with machetes and saws, rakes and shovels, with the goal of cutting perimeter paths to be able to have prayer wheels, meditation gardens and walking trails between them. I don’t remember the month. It was hot and humid and the work was very hard. The growth was dense, full of all sorts of things. We were cutting and transporting the brush to piles to haul off.    

I am crazy allergic to poison ivy. I’ve been so disfigured at some points in my life that I could not believe I would ever look normal again. I have not been able to use my hands….or to even wear clothing…at times because of it.  I know what it looks like….believe me. It was thick, dense and everywhere.

I doubt that Jetsunma will even remember this… She was cutting and hauling and working extremely hard. All of us were working so hard. Cutting, sweating, hauling. Trying to make paths. I had picked up a particularly big bunch of weeds and brush to haul off….and felt kinda sick inside when I looked at it… Pure Poison Ivy. All over me. There was no way with all that oil on me I was going to be able to finish the day, drive the hour home, get out of those clothes  and scrub it all off before it took hold.  So in my mind I am calculating how bad it will be, how much time I have before it starts to get bad….what soaps I have at home….and Jetsunma calls to me.

Claire….I’ve lost an earring.  I’ve got the front and the back but I can’t see to put it back in. Would you put it back in my ear? 

Um. What?

Would you put this earring back into my ear?

Well, I explain, Jetsunma I have poison ivy all over me. I don’t want to touch you. I don’t want to get the oil on you.  

She responds….Here’s the front and here’s the back. Would you just put it into my ear?

I explain…Poison Ivy can be a really bad thing. I can’t put it in your ear without touching you. I really don’t want to give you poison ivy.

Well, if you get poison ivy then I get poison ivy.  Would you please put the earring in?

So we stand there….her holding her head out….me going through probably a hilarious serious of gyrations trying to get a small pierced earring into her ear and put on the back without ever touching her.  I never, ever wanted her to have what I had.

So we keep working. The day winds down. Now…..my mind is on finishing the job and leaving. Jetsunma, after such a long sweaty day, wanted to sit by the stream and rest and talk a bit to everyone who has worked so hard.   I don’t want to leave before she does and so I sit too.  And I wait for the itching to start. I am so prepared for the blisters and the pain.

Nothing. Not one blister. Not one itch. There were many cases of poison ivy from that job….from people who had never had it before even….but not me.

That remains to me a moment that takes my breath away.  

 

    

 

Miracles From Hurricane Katrina

In commemoration of the 21st anniversary of the enthronement of Jetsunma Ahkon Lhamo on September 24, we are presenting testimonials from Jetsunma’s students about her impact on their lives.

Part 3

There are SO many other incidents of these sublime moments… answers to questions about where to spend my time and efforts, how to proceed on the path, gossamer tastes of the thin line between this reality and another. I recall how Jetsunma encouraged some of us to go down to the Katrina aftermath when I personally was going through the loss of a job – and that experience of the trip to New Orleans was replete with miracles.

From not knowing where we were going to even stay upon arrival, Jetsunma’s guidance lead us to a woman named Katrinna Huggs (yes that was her name, spelled differently than the storm but the coincidence was undeniable) who lived at Bayou de Zairre just above the Lake Poncetrain causeway…We only found her because she had a STUPA in her back yard, and one of our traveling companions kept communicating back to our main temple in Poolesville until we found a phone number to visit this stupa. When we arrived – to ask only if we could see her backyard stupa – she (barely knowing what a stupa or we crazy Buddhists were, or why we wanted to see her stupa) hesitantly agreed to have us stop by and see it.

While she prepared her lunch and offered us a meal – we asked if we could clean the stupa which was in need of some simple upkeep and weeding around its perimeter. As we washed and worked around this image of Buddhahood, making prayers to our lama and dedicating the merit to those who had been hit so hard by this storm… the lama who oversaw the construction of this particular stupa just HAPPENED to call Katrinna to see how it had done in the storm. Katrinna says she had not heard from him in years and was very amazed by the synchronicity that we were cleaning and paying attention to it and she hears from this teacher who she barely knows.

She graciously invited Sam and I to stay there with at least a half dozen people who were en route from Sedona.  In addition, she allowed us to erect a compound in her back yard and bring refugee animals rescued from the aftermath of the Hurricane in New Orleans to be triaged in her backyard.  It was such an amazing time of trusting in our teacher’s instructions (which were frightening as we looked at the destruction and chaos of the area), and that trust lead us to a woman with 4 acres of paradise in the middle of all this destruction and storm fallout.  (Tomorrow – Part 4 – Joy in the midst of Tragedy)

 

 

Blessings of the Amitabha Stupa

sd-3640145

The Amitabha Stupa in Sedona is a place of refuge and Buddhist practice.  A stupa, called a chorten in Tibetan, is a receptacle of offerings and represents the outward expression of the Buddha’s enlightened body, speech and mind. 

According to Tulku Sang Nang, an accomplished Vajrayana master and stupa builder who helped build and consecrate the Amitabha Stupa, “By seeing a stupa or hearing about a stupa, remembering it, visualizing it, whatever the case may be, any kind of connection will imbue you with a blessing, will connect you to enlightenment.  So, whether it is a bug or a human or animal without a body, you know, just floating through space, any being that come in contact with a stupa will be blessed and gain merit.”

Please enjoy the following slideshow of the sagadawa ceremony held at the Amitabha Stupa in June, 2009.