“Excursions” is a blog post category presenting content that is peripherally connected to the Houston, Texas area in either the thematic and/or the geographic senses.
Gampo Abbey is home to the sole monastic community associated with Shambhala, a prominent international network of lay Buddhist practice centers based on the Karma Kagyu lineage of Tibetan Buddhism, as expounded by the teachings of its provocative founder, Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche.
|Chogyam Trungpa, Rinpoche|
Photo from Wikipedia.
|Screengrabbed photo courtesy of Gampo Abbey / Shambhala.|
A Shambhala lay group has been established within the greater Houston area. You can read about their local background and programs on their website. Should you happen to choose Houston Shambhala as your practice center, and you one day find yourself pursuing their programs in depth, your eventual retreat destination will likely be Gampo Abbey in the remote Cape Breton Highlands area of the Canadian province of Nova Scotia.
|Getting away from it all, literally and figuratively: about 2,600 miles from Houston. Googlemaps plots it about 60 miles south of its actual location.|
|If you make the long journey to this area, check with the Abbey’s website to verify that tour times have not changed.|
the immediate clear space of mind. |
View looking northwest across the Gulf of St. Lawrence.
|The Gampo Buddha, flanked by photos representing teachers from its twin lineages (Karma Kagyu on the right, and Trungpa Rinpoche’s Shambhala on the left).|
|There can never be too many garden Buddhas and Bodhisattvas...|
|…and there’s always room for local symbolic enhancement, including a moose antler backdrop. The Cape Breton Highlands teem with moose, and mature males shed a set of their massive but impermanent antlers annually.|
|A beautiful lily graces the Gampo gardens.|
|A portion of the rugged footpath up the peak to Guan Yin.|
|Cairns have been mindfully staged along the path.|
|Upon encountering this impossibly-balanced little stone, my immediate thought was, “One-pointedness.”|
|The spectacular view looking back down the path toward the main Abbey grounds. Unfortunately, there’s little visible evidence of scale in this photo. For reference, these coastal mountains in this area are approximately 1,150 feet high.|
|The Guan Yin statue, in profound forest solitude.|
|Close-up of Guan Yin, the Bodhisattva of Compassion.|