Amitabha Stupa and Peace Park ~ Sedona, AZ

Buddha of Infinite Light
Buddha of Infinite Light

Although we had lived in Sedona for many years, we had never visited the Amitabha Stupa and Peace Park.  Thanks to a friend, a recent trip to Red Rock Country from the Valley of the Sun brought us to this sacred ground, situated at the base of Thunder Mountain.

Amitabha Stupa with Chimney Rock in background
Amitabha Stupa with Chimney Rock in background

Stupas have graced the Earth for over 2,600 years and are said to be the physical embodiment of the Buddha’s enlightened mind.  One of the oldest forms of sacred architecture on the planet, their blessings are immeasurable and their presence in the West very rare.  For millennia stupas have been built to deepen the spiritual life and promote healing, peace, and prosperity, and are a place for meditation and spiritual renewal.

Construction on the 36-foot tall Amitabha Stupa began in July, 2003, with a final 3-day consecration ceremony taking place on August 1, 2004.  On this final day, marked with offerings, song, and dance, prayers began in the early dawn at 5:00 AM.  At this hour the Stupa was bathed in moonlight, but when the rising sun shone on the face of the Amitabha Buddha, the Stupa was born.  Since then the Amitabha Stupa has been radiating blessings of compassion day and night.

The external beauty of the Stupa covers many offerings within its walls.  A sok-shing, tapered 4-sided, 21-foot long cedar column runs along the central channel and is the life force of the Stupa.  It is carved at the top like a stupa and has a thunderbolt at the bottom.  A large copper cauldron has been placed in the center  as a symbol to protect the environment and replenish the five classical elements (earth, water, fire, air, and space) and is said to restore the Earth’s vital energies. Along with this are holy relics, rolled mantras, semi-precious stones and crystals, and other deity statues.

When you arrive at a stupa, Buddhist tradition teaches that there is great benefit in walking clockwise around the stupa at least three times, while making personal prayers for those suffering and for world concerns.  A small offering can be made after this journey to dedicate the merit of these prayers for the greater good.

After the three of us had made the journey around the Stupa, we quietly absorbed the serenity of our surroundings.  Soon a lone coyote’s cry pierced the silence.  Native Americans feel the coyote teaches us that only when all illusions have fallen away will we connect with the source ~ beautiful symbolism experienced on this sacred ground.

Prayer flag mantra
Prayer flag mantra

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