Sangdo Palri Temple
“When I awoke, the whole world awakened.”
– Buddha Sakyamuni
What is Sangdo Palri? Sangdo Palri is the environment or “pure realm” of Guru Padmasambhava. But we may still wonder, “What or where is Sangdo Palri?” and “What is meant by a 'pure realm'?”
Wherever we go in life, whether we walk into someone’s home or stroll through a city, the environment reflects the mind of a collective group and the individuals who inhabit it. Some environments are more harmonious, while other environments convey the confusion or aggression of those who live there.
Now suppose our relationship to everything was completely harmonious and unconfused. And imagine what it would be like to value everything we encountered as sacred – even the more “challenging” experiences. If we had this kind of relationship with our world, we might find ourselves in Sangdo Palri – the resting place of Guru Padmasambhava.
When we build a temple or create an environment with the intention of connecting with the world in a more harmonious and wakeful way, we are calling out to the forces that be, asking them to support us. We are calling to the wakefulness of Guru Padmasambhava, the wisdom of our own minds, and the richness of the world around us.
The Sangdo Palri temple is located in the main meadow of Samten Ling, MSB's retreat center in southern Colorado. The meadow is also the heart of the land. In the early years of Samten Ling, it was the setting for ngondro and sadhana teachings held by Kongtrul Rinpoche under a tent in the summer months; now it will provide a grand approach to the temple. Steep rocky mountains frame the structure from behind, giving it a commanding presence, while the small hills surrounding the meadow will keep the temple largely out of sight from the nearby town. The upper shrine rooms will offer magnificent views of the valley and surrounding mountains.
The Sangdo Palri temple features a traditional four-sided mandala shape, yet its style is more Japanese. The wooden structure's plain outer walls, Japanese-style roof lines, and simple colors complement the other buildings on the land, and blend naturally with the general coloration of the environment. Tibetan motifs, such as the traditional colored blocks above its windows, will give the temple a distinctly Tibetan flavor. The blend of the two influences will make an elegant, modern, graceful yet powerful-looking edifice in this mountain setting.
Inside, Sangdo Palri's three shrine rooms will again blend the simplicity of a Japanese architectural aesthetic with the richness of the Tibetan tradition displayed much more prominently in the interior. The main floor is devoted almost entirely to a large shrine hall with Guru Rinpoche as the central focus. With 14- to 18-foot ceilings and many large windows, this shrine room will feature columns, colors and ornamentation inspired by classical Tibetan monasteries, and will house a large Guru Rinpoche statue and shrine, as well as a library of Dharma texts. Cooking and tsok preparation facilities, and a sitting room for teachers, will also be found on this floor. The second floor, with its lovely verandas, is entirely a shrine room, this one devoted to Avalokiteshvara, the bodhisattva of compassion. The third floor shrine room, with wonderfully high ceilings under the Japanese arched roof, will be a seat for Samantabadhra. Including basement space for utilities and other facilities, the building totals about 6,800 square feet.
For more information, please visit the Sangdo Palri website, and read the Progress Report Blog. All donations are used exclusively for the construction of Sangdo Palri, and we encourage everyone to share in the merit of creating this unique temple, even if you have only a few dollars to spare.