Stupa Garden at Kunzang Palyul Choling





In our modern world we rely on a narrow, distorted idea of science to tell us the story of the stuff the world is made of. We look to this pseudo- science for the "truth:" to tell us what is real and what is not real. Much of what scientists say is tremendously helpful and true. It is not that the world that their stories describe is completely wrong, or doesn't exist at all. It is just that the modern description leaves out so much -- it leaves out the sacredness, the livingness, the soul of the world. And it does get troublesome when some scientists tell us, often with a voice of authority, that the part they leave out is really not there. 
-- Jeremy Hayward; "Dear Vanessa"
Shambhala Sun, May 1997 -- 
The topics Prayer Wheels, Prayer Flags, Shrines, Stupas, and Feng-shui were chosen because of their practical value for improving the lives of people who use them and those who live nearby. 


Prayer Flags

Not all prayer flags are square, and even in the high dry mountain air some days are not sunny. This flag seems to be waiting for the rain, which will add its blessing to the stupa construction at Rocky Mountain Shambhala Center.

Healing, Relaxing and Awakening talks about what prayer flags are and how to order some from the nuns in the Tibetan refugee village, and gives links to pictures of prayer flags on the Web. 
The Power of Windhorse, by Khenpo Konchog Gyaltshen Rinpoche

Lama Zopa, Rinpoche, in a short note titled "Advice from the Spiritual Friend: Prayer Flags and Auspicious Days," states "When you put up prayer flags to bring success, if you put them up on the wrong astrological dates [paden tharwo], you continuously receive obstacles."

Mani Stones

The Meaning of the Mantra
explanations of the prayer (mantra) 


Om Mani Padme Hung

More mani stones on the Web


Prayer Wheels

Prayer Wheels: Tibetan Spiritual Technology

All about prayer wheels and the mantra Om Mani Padme Hum -- how to order prayer wheels; explanations of the prayer (mantra); electronic Prayer wheels

The Benefits of Prayer Wheels

A short teaching by Lama Zopa, Rinpoche: "Just touching and turning a prayer wheel brings incredible purification and accumulates unbelievable merit." 

"One idea I have is to use them for healing. Anyone with a disease such as AIDS or cancer, whether or not they have any understanding of Dharma, can use the prayer wheel for meditation and healing. " 

Spiritual Healing in Buddhist Tibet


Stupas ( Chöten )

"Because a stupa is built in the open air many beings, human and non-human, will go around it and thus many will benefit."

Originally a reliquary mound that housed the Buddha's relics, the stupa became an important artistic and architectural form throughout the Buddhist world. In Tibet, traditionally, when a great meditation master died a Stupa would be built to would enshrine the teacher's remains and act as a focal point for his students and others in the absence of the teacher.

The Stupa Information Page

Information about Stupas, Stupas Under Construction, How to build a stupa, Centers with Stupas, and more.


Gen Rinpoche's Stupa in New Zealand

Chöten in Mustang

Stupa Garden at Kunzang Palyul Chöling

Swayambhunath stupa view

Land Stupa at Odiyan in California

Stupa at Thubten Chöling on Vancouver Island

Great Stupa of Dharmakaya in Brazil
Grande Stupa Dharmakaya no Brasil

Use of tsa-tsa in the empowerment of stupas

Small gold-plated stupa at the Asian Art Museum of San Francisco

Great Stupa at Sanchi, India -- ancient stupa form -- symbolism -- gateways
architectural analysis and 3-d model


The Great Stupa of Dharmakaya

Chögyam Trungpa, Rinpoche, a meditation master who helped to bring the teachings of Tibetan Buddhism to the West, died in 1987. His students and admirers are building a stupa that will be 108 feet tall. Made of specially designed reinforced concrete, The Great Stupa of Dharmakaya, That Liberates on Seeing, is being built to last a thousand years. 

Today, the stupa is still under construction at the at Rocky Mountain Shambhala Center. The Web site tells "the story of how modern technology and ancient wisdom have come together to build this Stupa, who is building it...and why."

Turning the Wheel of the Dharma:
The Immeasurable Benefits of Stupas

A teaching given by the Venerable Thupten, Rinpoche

"It is possible to think that of course when stupas were built during [ancient times] they had the power to help people gather merits, but what about a stupa made by us? Would it have the same power?

For any stupa to be of benefit to others there are four items that must be put inside it. These are the "four relics" (ring.sel). If the four kinds of relics are present in any stupa, no matter when or where that stupa is made it will have the power to benefit others. 

The first relics are the 'relics of the Dharmakaya.' This refers to the dharanis, the mantras that were taught by the Buddha. We will have those.


The second relics are the relics of Buddhas, Bodhisattvas and gurus. Of course we have the relics of Gen Rinpoche himself, fragments of his bones. There are also pills which are the quintessence relics of many great practitioners and even of the Buddha, which have been constantly passed down from generation to generation. We have such relics.

The third relics are the relics of hair and clothing of Buddhas, Bodhisattvas and gurus. We have such items too.

The fourth relics are relics in the form of pills which originated from a real relic. Duplicates of the original were produced, containing a percentage of the original relic. We have some of these. If these four kinds of relics are within a stupa that we build, the power of our stupa and the power of the great stupas of the past will be the same. Even the great stupas of the past had no more than these four kinds of relics."

This talk was given by Thupten, Rinpoche, in May 1996 at the Dhargyey Buddhist Center to sangha members working to build a stupa for Gen Rinpoche.

The Stupa Project: Three Perspectives 

Gen, Rinpoche's, Stupa Completed
"The Place of Peace and Happiness" 
Symbolism of the Stupa-Chöten


"The basic structure of a Chöten consists of a square foundation symbolizing the earth, a dome symbolizing water, and thirteen tapering steps of enlightenment symbolizing the element of fire. These steps lead to a stylized parasol, the symbol of wind, which is topped in the ethereal sphere by the well-known ‘twin-symbol’ uniting sun and moon, which is the shimmering crown of the Chöten."

The Stupa Information Page


On-line Shrines

The eight outer offerings: water for drinking, water for washing, flowers, incense, light, perfumes, food and music.

Anonimmus: Light a candle in a mountain, city, river or desert shrine.

Wild Shrines

The Art of Shrine Making by Jesa Macbeth

"Building your own wild shrine is a part of making your religious life an integral part of your everyday life. We are continually exposed to ready-made, off the rack religion, often in a limp and dying state. We need to rediscover and reclaim our religious activities as something we do, as the spirit moves us, as a living and breathing, all-permeating flow of energy within our lives." 

The Sabbath of Women: Reclaiming the Power of Menstruation, by Laura Owen.

"When I was first introduced to the idea of bleeding onto the earth by a friend of mine I thought it sounded a little silly, a little pretentious. But I started doing it tentatively, and began to feel a flicker of connection to something very old. One of the problems I had was figuring out how to do it. Native American women used to sit on moss in the moon house. Where was I supposed to sit and bleed? Even if I went and found a nice piece of earth to sit on, I didn't want to stay there for the whole time. Then I started using cloth pads to absorb my blood and soaking them in water before I washed them. I realized that I could pour the soaking water onto the earth. So now that's what I do. The water is a beautiful red, and I pour it onto the ground around plants, and the act of doing this fills me with a feeling of connection, of rightness, of being at peace with something that is often neglected in modern life. Simple acts of value, simple knowledge."

From the Articles page at Voices of Women.


Feng Shui and Geomancy

Introduction to Feng Shui: an on-line course from the Learning Annex.

Feng Shui In Very Few Words: "Feng Shui is a name the Chinese have given to the systematic practice of physically and emotionally orienting one's self and one's constructions so as to perceive an enhancement of the synchronous character of one's place in the environment." 

Meeting the Dralas: Feng-shui lessons from William L. Cassidy's Asian Astrology site.

Geomancy Net: Introduction to Feng Shui principles and their application.

Doctor Stephen Field's Feng Shui Gate: information on the origins of Feng Shui.

Feng-Shui: The Chinese Art of Geomancy by Tim Baker. "How could the places in which we live and work not have a profound effect on the quality of our lives? It is my experience that the periods of my life in which I had lived in different places do seem to have different qualities associated with them. It is a question of how one might quantify or analyze those differences." 

Feng Shui Ultimate Resource: Feng-shui with an attitude! "We debunk phony Feng Shui." Books to avoid; resources to explore. Detailed criticism of New Age Feng-shui con artistry, together with clear introductions to classical Feng-shui. 

Feng Shui Emporium: online shop providing supplies for Feng Shui practitioners, as well as books and other resources.

Enlightened by Design: Using Contemplative Wisdom to Bring Peace, Wealth, Warmth, and Energy into Your Home, by Helen Berliner (Shambhala Publications, 1999).

"This book shows how to use our homes to realign ourselves with the basic forces of nature: heaven and earth, the four directions, and the elemental energies that arise from them. Helen Berliner draws on traditional geomantic systems from both East and West -- from Celtic wisdom to feng shui -- to show that home design and ecology are one and the same, and that intuition and our senses are our most effective decorating tools. Basing her approach on Tibetan Buddhist teachings on energy mandalas and the practice of space awareness, she includes playful quotes, provocative illustrations, and practical exercises for discovering the inspiration and delight hidden in our homes. The author proceeds from living room to bedroom to kitchen to home office, illustrating with rigorous practicality how we can join space, color, function, harmony, and our senses to create functional, welcoming rooms. She shows how the energies of earth, water, fire, wind, and space -- in and out of balance -- shape our homes for better and for worse, and explains the role of wakefulness in contemplative arts and design. Working with wakefulness and natural patterns of energy, we can create enlightened environments -- and in this case, enlightenment begins at home!"

Buy this book?

Feng-shui: The Ancient Wisdom of Harmonious Living for Modern Times, by Eva Wong ( Shambhala Publications )

SummaryTable of ContentsSample Chapter

"Here is the first complete, in-depth course in the traditional Chinese art of harmonious design for interiors, buildings, and sites.... [Feng-shui] is not simply a list of directives for building auspicious structures or arranging interiors for good luck — it is the art of reading the patterns of the universe and living in harmony with the environment. 

[Readers will] be drawn into a world where nature is sentient and animated by energies. With the completion of the curriculum, readers will have a working knowledge of how to live harmoniously with these energies of the earth and environment." 

Buy this book at

Earth Mysteries: an amazingly rich set of pages on Geomancy, Feng-shui, and Ley Lines  from Britannia Internet Magazine.

Mid-Atlantic Geomancy "Geomancy is the art of placement of both secular and spiritual structures so that they are in harmony with both the physical and the spiritual environment of the place." "We will present evidence that geomancers were at work on both sides of the Atlantic Ocean prior to the advent of Columbus." 

The New View Over Atlantis by John Michell. "Clues to the nature of prehistoric science, drawn from archaeology, astronomy, geology, and other studies, confirm that traditional sacred places were centers of natural magic, used by Druids and others who possessed knowledge, since lost, of the earth's vital energies." 

Places of Peace and Power: The Sacred Site Pilgrimages of Martin Gray.


Related Dharma-Haven Pages 

Keys to a Hidden World

Tibetan Buddhist Healing Methods

Tibetan Buddhism Resources

Psuedo-science or Proto-science


Your Comments and Suggestions, Please

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Last updated December 2, 2000

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