Thursday, March 05, 2009

First Public Stupa in America

Dodrupchen Rinpoche begins work, c. 1973

The stupa as it appeared before the temple was built.

The Khang Tsag, or Stacked House Stupa of Sante Fe, New Mexico, was built to commemorate the 1972 visit of Dudjom Rinpoche. It was consecrated in October 1973 by Dodrupchen Rinpoche, and blessed in 1974 by Trungpa Rinpoche. According to a letter from Dodrupchen Rinpoche, this chorten is of the kind "called Khang-Bu-brTsegs-Pai-mChod-rTen after a sutra by the same name. The chorten is based on descriptions given in the sutra and incorporates mandalas and dharanis of two other sutras: gTsug-gTor-Dri-Med-mDo and Od-Zer-Dri-Med-Kyi-mDo."

The stupa is located at 1404 Cerro Gordo Road, in what is now known as the Cerro Gordo Temple, and is under the current stewardship of the Upaya Zen Center.

The stupa as it appears today.

Although the Khang Tsag is usually thought to be the first stupa in the continental United States, it is actually the first public stupa. The absolutely first stupa was built by a Mongolian toymaker in the San Francisco Bay Area in the early 1960s, for private worship.

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