What’s special about Land of Calm Abiding?
Land of Calm Abiding is a Buddhist retreat center set among 485 pristine acres of virgin forest, never logged, never farmed. It is a sanctuary offering pure water, clean air, vast skies, and silence.
Land of Calm Abiding, an isolated and sacred space on our earth. Graced by an Enlightenment stupa manifesting the body, speech and mind of the Buddha on the land, supporting those who wish to practice samatha, Calm Abiding meditation, for the benefit of all beings.
In 1995, the most precious and kind Lama Thubten Zopa Rinpoche came to The Baldwin Ranch in Big Sur, California, to spend a month in meditation. Before seeing the land, Rinpoche used divination to check its potential benefit. Rinpoche determined the land was “the best of anywhere” for those wishing to achieve shiné, or calm abiding meditation. Mary Alice Baldwin, owner of the land, spent time with Rinpoche. After their meeting, she generously donated 485 acres of the land for his use. Perceiving its unique value, Rinpoche treasured the gift of this remote, wild environment. He named it Shiné Land, the Land of Calm Abiding.
Years earlier, Lama Zopa Rinpoche's own teacher, the most precious Lama Thubten Yeshe, had commented with profound foresight:
"In such a critical situation, in such an impure world, we create a retreat center. With purity, insight and order, we can help heal the wounded world. The world needs powerful medicine to cure its ills. By giving people an opportunity to retreat we offer the world a solution for its people’s dissatisfaction."
With the gift of this Land, Lama Zopa could fulfill Lama Yeshe’s vision.
Classic Buddhist texts describe the retreat setting ideal for developing deepest levels of concentration, essential for developing and mastering the mind. These ancient descriptions match the isolated and spacious environment of Land of Calm Abiding. The great Kirti Tsenshab Rinpoche, holder of a lineage of the Kalachakra tantra, first saw the valley of Land of Calm Abiding from a small plane flying overhead. He remarked that the Land, with the river running through its lotus-bowl shape, seen clearly from above, naturally holds chi and makes it an ideal place for meditation.
When Kyabje Ribur Rinpoche visited the Land, while blessing it he remarked that it one day would be the holiest place in America. Tibetan Buddhist practitioners, both lay and ordained, can now choose to renounce worldly life and reside on the land. It provides optimal conditions for developing focus on the goal of purifying their hearts and minds through spiritual practice.
Renunciation of “ordinary” life and activities is an extremely powerful method to awaken bodhisattva capacities fully and train the mind to serve as the greatest benefit to all, incarnation after incarnation. Meditators at Land of Calm Abiding inspire so many around the world, with friends and sponsors often commenting on how moved they feel by their connection to practitioners on the Land.
As a center under the guidance of the Foundation for the Preservation of the Mahayana Tradition, Land of Calm Abiding exists for the sole purpose of benefiting all sentient beings in the great Mahayana tradition.