environmental design

pla | Phillip Lehn Architect

Tara Memorial Park

Site Plan

Main Level

Lower Two Levels


Upper Level




pla | Phillip Lehn Architect © 2018

In addition to Tara Memorial Park's Stupa ~ columbarium and two different kinds of crematoriums,  and parking, what else could the campus include?

The Upper level would be reserved for those permitted to be cremated on the bluff in the traditional Tibetan way.

The roof would feature an elevator, stair, prayer wheels, grass for family outdoor prayers and picnics,

and one of the Pacific Northwest's most inspiring panoramas.

In August 2012, Her Eminence Dagmo Kusho Sakya asked His Eminence Ngawang Migyur if he would donate GTi's high bluff view lots in north Edmonds for the purpose of cremating and memorializing the extraordinary life of her aging husband, His Holiness Jigdal Dagchen Sakya, the first high Tibetan lama to immigrate to the United States and eldest holder of a sacred unbroken family lineage that's nearly 1000 years old. Sacred relics recovered from traditional Tibetan Buddhist cremations of high lamas are deeply revered, but the highly efficient, smokeless and odorless crematoriums required in the United States incinerate all remains uniformly to a very fine ash.


In considering the project's many challenges and opportunities, I proposed Tara Memorial Park,  a nonsectarian regional center to serve all members of the Pacific Northwest's growing international community of Buddhists. The proposal included a traditional Tibetan crematorium to be used rarely and exclusively for the Khön Lineage and other precious heroes who had lived exceptionally selfless lives benefiting all beings, a contemporary smokeless and oderless crematorium for all others, and a Stupa~Collumbarium to display and memorialize the remains of those cremated. Given its location, size and significance, the Stupa~Collumbarium was intended to be seen and honored as a sacred landmark upon entering and leaving Puget Sound when passing through Admiralty Inlet.


Migyur Rinpoche, his grandnephew Gnendak Shak, and Mariam and I were all happy to help realize the project by donating our shared interests in GTi's three (possibly four) undeveloped lots. Unfortunately?, the ~$475,000 needed to redeem GTi's liens was not raised before the properties were repossessed. To view the Northwest Dharma Association's featured article and photographs describing the 2012 proposal in more detail, please see -  



The two lower levels would be reserved for those cremated in the more contemporary way and include a garden shed on the lowest level and an office above it. The Main Level would be near grade, vehicular access, and limited parking on the east and include

a public plaza, chapel, contemporary crematorium, reception room, toilets, stair, elevator, and niches.

Sealed glass cases would display each family's special urns and memorials.  

Why create such a place and what could it do and mean for each of us? Would Tara Memorial Park's sacred selections of some of our time’s and region’s most compassionate, most wise, and most effective help lift our own aspirations? Where are we headed and what's our best focus going forward? Can we offer our young something more gratifying than money, sex, power, influence, fame, and prestige? Can we create more satisfying opportunities to help heal and correct ourselves and planet with truthful self-examination, humility, faith, perseverance, and selfless service?


Except for special occasions, neighbors and visitors would normally experience an unusually safe, quiet, peaceful, beautiful, interesting, and inspiring place to discover, learn about, and honor our many families’ ancestors and most precious heroes … a place to reflect on paths and choices, tests, limitations, challenges, ordeals, and triumphs. A beautifully conceived, lushly growing, and carefully maintained park for daily outdoor walks and sittings of prayer, meditation, and worship, recreating ourselves to a more brilliantly blessed body and mind …  with regular public teachings and concerts, and finally, another chance to witness and show friends, family, and visitors one of Greater Seattle's most spectacular unobstructed panoramas of Puget Sound’s north end ... The Olympic Mountains, their National Park, Forests, and peninsula, Whidbey Island, and Admiralty Inlet, Puget Sound’s gateway to the Pacific and Asia.  


What about the rest of the park … what does it want to be? An international school of Buddhist students, practitioners, and adepts exploring and sharing our world’s many religious teachings, traditions, arts, and sciences? Live-in residents to care for and manage the park as an inclusive bridge connecting East and West.


If interested in helping us realize some form of this precious opportunity, please let me know. We especially need help organizing an international landmark funding and management effort and to meet our most immediate needs, GTi is offering to sell a key ~7,000 SF piece of Greenness for $200,000. To learn why it’s considered “key” as well as more about Greenness’ other properties soon to be listed for sale, including its 3-1/2 undeveloped view lots, our recently updated early modernist house, and our neighbor's estate on top of the promontory, see   Greenness’ Sale.


Happy Thanksgiving ! 2018


Phuntsho Thundrup ~ Ngawang Yeshe ~ Phillip Lehn


Green Tara incorporated /

pla | Phillip Lehn Architect, LEED AP