The First Andean Stupa and the Supreme Source
By Miguel Kavlin
I have been a student and practitioner of Native American Ritual of the Andean, Amazonian and Native North American variety for over 20 years now. However, I always felt a connection with and was drawn to Tibetan Buddhist teachings. Around 1985 I went to Nepal and travelled on foot for over two months, hoping to find a spiritual teacher. What I found, toward the end of my journey there, was a precious book in a Katmandu bookstore: “The Crystal and the Way of Light”, by Namkhai Norbu Rimpoche.
The perspective and insight I gained from reading that book touched me deeply and helped me for many years to come. It was not until about fifteen years later, while doing a three month retreat in the Peruvian Amazon however, that I reread that book and took a conscious decision to seek out Namkhai Norbu Rimpoche. I was lucky enough that he was going to be in Argentina, next door to my native Bolivia, and so i went there to meet him for the first time.
Undoubtedly he is my master in the Dzogchen Tibetan Tradition, and I felt a strong connection to him and to the Dzogchen teachings. Since then I have travelled to many places around the world so I could receive more teachings from him, and have assumed the Dzogchen teachings as my daily practice.
I was particularly encouraged by the fact that Rimpoche emphasized the fact that one does not have to change religion, name or look in order to be a true Dzogchempa. Also, he always encourages us to keep our awareness, as the foremost Samaya of Dzogchen. Moreover, he always encourages us to integrate the diversity of our experiences into the state of Instant Presence.
When I started in my Dzochen path, I didn’t know how it would integrate with my shamanic practices, and whether at some point I would have to leave them behind. Nine years later, I have witnessed my experience of the Dzogchen teachings deepen and strengthen, my connection with Namkhai Norbu Rimpoche get finer and my devotion increase. So far, applying the Dzogchen principles I mentioned above, I have felt that my shamanic practices do integrate with the teachings, and I have not ever felt my shamanic practices hamper my
awareness or decrease my clarity.
The First Andean Stupa actually first manifested in a vision I had while doing one of the Amazonian Rituals, where some Tibetan Lamas appeared to me and indicated a Stupa had to be built in my land in the Bolivian Andes. I then consulted with Namkhai Norbu Rimpoche and asked permission to do so.
It took me about three years to get started, for it was an intimidating proposition, and I had no knowledge of building Stupas.On one of my journeys to the U.S. also while conducting an amazonian ritual, I received the instruction that one of the participants there, was the person who would help me get started.
In the midst of this first stage of the construction, I went into a very deep crisis where I questioned everything in my life, and even lost at some point the will to live.It was in the worst part of this crisis, when I decided to conduct a Sacred Andean Ceremony at our Ritual Chamber in the Andes. While in the ceremony, I observed a painting my Native North American teacher Beautiful Painted Arrow had gifted our chamber. It was a painting of the Condor and the Eagle coming together.
I had always wondered if all these talk about the Condor and the Eagle Prophecies was only marketing and someone’s invention, but in that ceremony I decided to find out for myself. I decided to hold a Condor feather in one hand and an Eagle feather on the other, and seek to integrate them in my consciousness. My consciousness in fact took a leap of some kind, I entered another state, and rememeber saying out loud: “Now the Condor and the Eagle have comer together”.
Moments later, a most amazing thing happened, a Sublime Presence manifested in the room, not with a form but with a magnificent, noble, benevolent and powerful tangible presence. I am jewish, and at that point I could do no more than prostarte myself flat on the floor, for I felt I was in the presence of the Divine, and that presence was a great blessing onto all who were present. I had never experienced the Andes mountains, the stars, the earth and all energies aligned in such a state of grace before.
My problems were not all finished though, as I continued to fall into negative patterns and despair. Nonetheless, slowly but surely, that presence began to manifest more and more often in a variety of different contexts, and it is now part of my daily meditations. This presence has also touched many of my companion on the path who participate with me in ceremonies.
The message it seems to be conveying is that the Messiah is here, that the New Earth and the New Heaven are here and now. The Messiah is not necessarily a person but this Divine Presence that is accessible to all who wish to connect, serve and bring compassion and peace to their lives.
Later, speaking at a Naitive Spiritual Elders Gathering in Canada, many of the Elders, Guatemalan, Mexican and others, seemed to be saying the same. That 2012 is not the End of the World, but a time of the The New Sun, and that we are already in its midts.
The Stupa for me was a culmination of a process of integration of many aspects of myself and my path, although I feel it was also divinely inspired and had a logic of its own.
We placed around the center pole of the Stupa a Six Pointed Star, common element in the Jewish tradition and the Dzogchen teachings. On each point of the star, we placed a stone from six of the Most Sacred Mountains in the Andes, gathered in a Sacred Pilgrimage to each one. In the center, a stone from Tiwanaku, the most ancient Ceremonial Place in the Americas.
That, became clear to me, was the Mandala Offering we had been slowly preparing for so many years. On the pole, next to Namkhai Norbu Rimpoche’s Vase at the bottom of the pole, we placed an Eagle and Condor feather, and a Peacock feather in the center, symbolizing the Integration of those three Lineages.
When Randrig Rimpoche Consecrated the Stupa, there were signs that the consecration was successful, that the stupa had indeed become the sacred blessing place it is meant to be for us and future generations, for humans and all sentient beings alike.
I want to express my deepest gratitude for all those involved who contributed in small and big ways to make this happen, and I pray that Merit and Benefit ensues, and that the teachings be strengthened and preserved. My deepest gratitude to Carmen Castañeda, my wife and my children who supported this, and to my Masters in each of my paths.