Update December 2021: The Sangdo Palri Temple remains closed to outside visitors due to the Covid19 pandemic. Please check in with us via phone or email in the coming months to see if we have opened again.
When we do open again, if you would like a tour of the Temple, please call 719-270-1198 and leave a message, or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
When circumstances change, the Temple will be open for guided tours from 10am – noon most days. Please call in advance as it takes a days notice to set up a tour, since most tours are guided by people in our retreat community. Also please note: we are located the the top of a steep 1 mile road, 4wd vehicles are required. We can give you a ride up the hill if you need one.
The Sangdo Palri Temple at Longchen Jigme Samten Ling
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 provides 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 offer magnificent views of the valley and surrounding mountains.
The Design of the Sangdo Palri Temple
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, gives the temple a distinctly Tibetan flavor. The blend of the two influences makes an elegant, modern, graceful yet powerful-looking edifice in this mountain setting.
Inside the Temple
Inside, Sangdo Palri’s three shrine rooms 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 features columns, colors and ornamentation inspired by classical Tibetan monasteries, and houses a large Guru Rinpoche statue and shrine, as well as a library of Dharma texts. The second floor, with its lovely veranda, 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, holds Amitayus and other statues.
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.