Lama Tsultrim Allione Featured At 3rd Annual Telluride Yoga Festival

IMGP1140 The presence of Lama Tsultrim Allione alone is worth the price of entry to the 3rd annual Telluride Yoga Festival, July 8 – July 11, whose presenters are among the Who's Who of the world of transformative practices, including Yoga. Lama Tsultrim is the first American woman to be ordained in the Tibetan Buddhist tradition and is a world renowned teacher, sought out and respected for her lucid, plainspoken explanations of Buddhist teachings.

Telluride Inside… and Out took a break from our Spring break in Denver, our home away from home, to visit Lama Tsultrim at her awe-inspring 700+ acre Tara Mandala retreat just outside Pagosa Springs. We were to there to interview the world renowned teacher on the subject of the talks she plans to give over the long Telluride Yoga Festival weekend: Prajnaparamita (prajna, transcendent wisdom, and paramita, "perfection" or "that which goes beyond") and the paradigm shifting practice she explains in her national best-seller "Feeding Your Demons."

IMG_1910 The resulting vidcasts will be posted as a series closer to the Telluride Yoga Festival. For now, a brief history of Tara Mandala.

The story of Tara Mandala begins many years ago: Tsultrim was a young nun living in the Himalaya, when a major "distracting thought" interrupted a meditation.

"I envisioned a retreat center in America where Tibetan Buddhist practices and western psychology could come together."

Dreams about the Western landscape set Lama Tsultrim on a path to Durango. Pagosa was meant to be a stop along the way – that is, until the signs lined up. A golden eagle emerged from the Ponderosa, one form of the female embodiment of enlightened energy. The landscape featured a breast-shaped peak, reminiscent of the goddess temples in Europe.

"We bushwhacked up the peak. Once on top, we realized the land itself was a mandala, the blueprint of an enlightened mind; the breast mountain, its center."

Tara Mandala opened for business September 18, 1993. In October, a group arrived to do a Tantric feast offering which ended with a rainbow crowning the land.

For ten years, Lama Tsultrim, aided and abetted by her husband and co-founder David Petit, their friends and followers, lived and observed sacred rituals in yurts, tepees, and tents on the sprawling property. The Community Building went up in 2005, including a kitchen, dining rooms, bathrooms and a store. The Prajna building followed, a residential facility housing 40 participants during ongoing retreats.In 2007, the foundation of the magnificent temple was laid. By 2009, all three floors were in use. Now only finishing touches remain to complete the imposing structure.

Lama Tsultrim's plans for Tara Mandala include a library, a repository for Tibetan texts and other innate wisdom traditions.

Tara Mandala is a place of respite and reflection from the vortex of energy that defines us and our world. Clint and I were lulled to sleep by a chorus of pond critters singing cacophonous praises of their blessed home.

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