Shambhala Mountain Center

Information about this center is no longer updated. This data was last updated on 11 October 2009.

Phone: 970-881-2184
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Along with the increased immigration of Tibetan refugees in the United States, came His Holiness the Vidyadhara Chogyam Trungpa, holder of the Kagyu lineage of the Tibetan Buddhist tradition. After being forced to flee Tibet in 1959, Trungpa Rinpoche initially traveled to India and England. However, in 1970, he moved to the United States with his British wife, Diana Judith. After establishing many centers throughout the country, he established the Shambhala Mountain Center in northern Colorado in Red Feather Lakes.
Trungpa Rinpoche and several of his students arrived in Red Feather Lakes in 1971 and were astonished by the breathtaking atmosphere of seemingly untouched land. Over the course of the following decade, the center expanded as the community built facilities on the land and held programs and seminars concerning Buddhist teachings and practice. When, in the mid-1980's Trungpa Rinpoche began holding his three-month long intensive Seminary program, preparing his students for initiation into the Vajrayana tradition, he oversaw the construction of several "tent cities" throughout the land which serve as housing to this day. Currently, additional indoor housing it available for visitors as well.
After his death in 1987, the community mourned the loss of their great teacher who had successfully planted Buddhism in the United States. Having empowered a Westerner, The Vajra Regent Osel Tendzin, as lineage holder, Trungpa Rinpoche achieved his goal of passing the power and wisdom of his tradition to the West. When the Regent unfortunately died soon after, Trungpa Rinpoche's son, Jamgon Mipham, became the Sakyong and leader of the community. Currently, Shambhala International has 165 centers throughout the world including six residential centers, exemplifying the success of the tradition. To find the center nearest you visit Shambhala International .

The Great Stupa of Dharmakaya Which Liberates Upon Seeing

At the time of his death, Trungpa Rinpoche’s students began what became a fourteen year process of building a stupa at Shambhala Mountain Center in remembrance of their teacher and his life’s work. As one of the consistent practices of Buddhism since the time of the Buddha’s death, the act of building stupas is a significant Buddhist activity and tradition. Recently completed, the stupa became the pinnacle of Shambhala Mountain Center and it impresses those who see it and use it because of its grandeur and symbolic value.
The Great Stupa of Dharmakaya Which Liberates Upon Seeing has not only impacted the community at Shambhala Mountain Center immensely by providing a space for practitioners of all levels and serving as a meeting place for the community, but it has also changed the American Buddhist landscape and serves as a monument for peace, compassion and harmony.
Currently attracting approximately 300 people a week, the center is amazed at the interest and excited at the prospects of the evolving Buddhist tradition in the United States. The stupa’s beauty, grace and energy touches people deeply, allowing many to connect with the goodness, compassion and wisdom the structure represents. While predictions of the Great Stupa’s impact are difficult to make, it is easy to imagine that the same reaction of visitors, workers, Buddhists and non-Buddhists alike will continue to express amazement and respect for this incredible example of Buddhist architecture in the United States.


The 600 acre property of Shambhala Mountain Center, includes open fields and forested areas, surrounded by peaks. Aspens not only please the visual landscape but they also fill the air with a sweet, refreshing aroma. Several ponds are scattered throughout the land and a stream runs near the Great Stupa. The serene atmosphere of the land creates a peaceful momentum that runs throughout the community Trungpa Rinpoche established on its land.
According to Executive Director, Jeffrey Waltcher, in the last four and a half years they have renovated approximately 35,000 sq. ft. of structures not including the stupa. The Sacred Studies Hall, a building with space for meditation, yoga, dharma talks, and programs and the Shotuku Children’s Center, a building with the specifically aimed at providing a positive space for child care were completed in 1999. Additional housing facilities including Red Feather Campus, and the Shambhala Lodge make possible the increase in programs and visitors. Despite the many structural additions, the land maintains its natural beauty and solitude.

Shambhala Buddhism

Part of the reason why Chogyam Trungpa’s mission to spread buddhadharma in the West was so successful was because he found a way to relate to the Western mind. While he found it important to pass on the knowledge of the Buddhist teachings he received in Tibet, he also found other ways to cultivate the basic goodness in human beings. When his son became leader, he divided the organization into three groups all which are part of the larger “Shambhala International”: Vajradhatu, Shambhala Training and Nalanda. By dividing the organization into separate groups, he reached more people. The Vajradhatu programs and teachings are specifically Buddhist while Shambhala programs and teachings are secular, appealing to a wide audience of Buddhists and non-Buddhists alike.

Activities and Schedule

For upcoming programs and events, please visit the Shambhala Mountain Center's website. Call ahead to schedule a guided tour of the Great Stupa of Dharmakaya.