“Being a pioneer is not always the most wonderful thing,” says Jeff Waltcher, executive director of the Shambhala Mountain Center (SMC), in Feather Lakes, Colorado. He ought to know. As administrative head of one of the country’s largest Buddhist retreat centers, Waltcher has to juggle the headaches of budget, staffing, maintenance, and program development—not to mention making sure bears don’t eat any meditators and forest fires don’t burn down the stupa.

These are all part of daily life at this growing center, founded in 1971 in the mountains of northern Colorado. Not that Waltcher is one to complain: “Something about being in the middle of the country is powerful. Our environment is reflective of the wilderness of the mind.”

The Great Stupa of Dharmakaya at Shambala Mountain Center, Courtesy of Shambala Mountain Center
The Great Stupa of Dharmakaya at Shambala Mountain Center, Courtesy of Shambala Mountain Center

 

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