Articles in the ‘Garden Events’ Category
This summer in an amazing act of generosity to the Garden of One Thousand Buddhas, 163 stupas have been sponsored at $200/each by a large group of citizens from Japan. During such a period of turmoil in the wake of the tsunami there, these supporters have opened their hearts to the potential of this spiritual place in Arlee, MT, so far from their own home, after having been inspired by faithful students of Rinpoche’s, Mimi and Ronnie Colsen.
Last year, these dedicated students of Tulku Sang-ngag Rinpoche inspired and followed through to help almost 150 Buddha statues to be sponsored by the people of Japan as well. What is so amazing is that while these resilient citizens could be spending their time and money taking care of their families and healing from the disasters that have befallen them, they have chosen to open up even more to care for the spiritual health and happiness for the benefit of all beings. A HUGE and heartfelt ‘thank you’ goes out to these gracious families in Japan and to Mimi and Ronnie from the Garden of One Thousand Buddhas.
At the beautiful Sawtooth Botanical Gardens in Sun Valley, ID, deep connections were made during a fundraiser for the Garden of One Thousand Buddhas in late June 2011. Planned in cooperation by Ewam’s Development Coordinator, Raquel Castellanos and Sun Valley resident and sangha sister, Mary Ann Chubb, the fundraiser succeeded in more ways than just financially. Many Ewam members attended the event, some driving all the way from MT or other parts of ID in one afternoon to make the event including Lama Tsomo, Roberta, Trish, Alli, Georgia, Deb and Jason, Tsering, and others!
The Sawtooth Botanical Gardens and the Ewam Buddha Garden share something in common. The Buddha Garden is making plans to bring His Holiness, the Dalai Lama to MT. The Sawtooth Botanical Garden hosted him in Sun Valley a few years ago where he consecrated a prayer wheel built at the Garden.
During the fundraiser, while the community raised almost $18K for the MT project, the connections forged between the people of Sun Valley and Arlee, MT raised spirits and expectations of intertwined spiritual connections between everyone involved for years to come. Featuring excellent music, catering, live and silent auctions and breathtaking surroundings, the event was a smashing success all around. Lama Tsomo then gave a wonderful teaching the following day on happiness and its causes to an eager crowd. Many thanks must be offered to Sawtooth Botanical Gardens, all the supporters, Mary Ann Chubb and Raquel Castellanos for forging opportunities to share common values in extraordinary circumstances! May we continue to share the vision of peace and beauty in sacred spaces like the Gardens!
The new gift store opened in May 2011 at the Garden of One Thousand Buddhas in Arlee, MT. Open daily from 12-4pm, the shop offers Tibetan and Nepalese items including prayer flags, prayer beads and jewelry, scarfs and pashminas, incense, cards, CD’s, meditation supplies, art, and much more! Look for a new Ewam product line to be announced soon with speciality items made by Ewam volunteers especially for you! Please plan to stop in when visiting the Garden so you can pick up informational brochures, sign up to volunteer and offer donations for construction, as well as purchase many unique items. Proceeds from your store purchases help fund Tulku Sang-ngag Rinpoche’s many activities within the Ewam International Nyingma School of Tibetan Buddhism.
So many wonderful thing have occurred in the evolution of the Garden of 1000 Buddhas project this year—His Holiness the Dalai Lama officially accepting Tulku Sang-ngag Rinpoche’s invitation to perform the consecration upon its completion; Nepali artist Sonam Tsering bringing of the central Yum Chenmo statue into brilliantly colored life and golden gloriousness; a lotus-shaped inner walkway and Buddha statue throne walls now radiating from Yum Chenmo’s central energy pulse; nearly 700 Buddha statues complete, at least 100 of which have been sponsored by faithful in Japan due to the irresistible enthusiasm of two energetic supporters; a constant stream of the visiting curious—but we were stunned by the last development, a bolt out of the seeming clear blue. (Do you have a Facebook account and want to see lots more about the Garden’s progress? Click here!)
About three weeks ago, our office manager Amy emerged from her cubby cradling the phone: “Does anyone want to take a call from the New York Times?”
The voice on the other end was Helena-based freelance journalist and author Jim Robbins. He explained that he’d been tipped to the Garden’s presence on a tour of Glacier National Park by none other than NBA coach and self-described ‘Zen Christian’ Phil Jackson, who lives part-time in NW Montana. Jim had then brought his family down for a Graden visit without identifying himself, liked what he saw, and pitched the tale to the Times. The good folks in New York gave the green light, and Jim gave us a jingle.
His timing was excellent. Tulku Sang-ngag was soon arriving to preside over two retreats in Arlee, and interview time was arranged for this past Sunday. Here, Jim on the left speaks with Rinpoche and his close student Lama Tsomo; Karma Thegsum, Executive Director of the Tibetan Children’s Education Foundation and also pictured, kindly drove all the way from Butte to provide excellent translation. Photojournalist Ted Wood journeyed up with Jim to soak it up and shoot; both had snuck out of a Missoula journalists’ conference.
We also invited Julie Cajune, Salish educator, historian and progressive advocate, as well as beloved Ewam friend, to speak to the deeper currents of the story. These involve the background of the presence of non-tribal people such as the Ewamcommunity on the Flathead Reservation. She and Rinpoche also described remarkable similarities in their spiritual forms, as well as their shared experience as members of people groups displaced from their homelands by alien, occupying forces. It was a profound conversation.
Then on Wednesday morning, photographer Michael Albans, a recent transplant to Missoula from his Brooklyn home and gig as a Daily News shooter, arrived to get shots to support the story. The dozen images he sent to the Times were extraordinary and we got him to give us this whimsical shot of Tulku Sang-ngag astride the ’69 Norton chopper we’re raffling off before next year’s riding season!
We completed the fact-checking with Jim yesterday, the story’s been put to bed, and now we’re eagerly waiting to hear when it will be published. As soon as we know you will too!
There have been many milestone days for the Garden of 1000 Buddhas this summer, but yesterday was particularly momentous. Early in the morning, our concrete crew pulled the forms to reveal the very first “throne wall,” one of the eight spokes of the Garden’s wheel design. Of the Noble Eightfold Path to enlightenment represented by the eight spokes, this throne wall symbolizes Right View. This is the spiritual quality Shakyamuni Buddha said precedes all others.
Isn’t it gorgeous? Now, visualize it with 126 pure white Buddha statues arrayed back to back along its length, the wall itself stained a pleasing color, and walking paths and flower planters landscaped on either side. Now visualize all eight! It’s our goal this (very) short outdoor construction season here in Montana to create all eight throne walls before the onset of cold weather. This would set us up beautifully to finish the major outdoor construction elements next summer.
One element of the Noble Eightfold Path is Right Speech, summarized succinctly by the Buddha’s disciple Shakyamuni:
“And what, friends, is right speech? Abstaining from false speech, abstaining from malicious speech, abstaining from harsh speech, and abstaining from idle chatter—this is called right speech.”
A perfect guideline for the internet, no?
In that spirit, through our Garden of 1000 Buddhas Facebook page, on this auspicious full moon day we have launched an online campaign to sponsor the Right Speech throne wall of the Garden for the benefit of our virtual world!
Between today and the new moon 15 days from now, we’ve created the opportunity for our thousands of online friends to manifest the Right Speech throne wall. If you feel so inspired to join us—and share the opportunity with your friends!—you may either click here to make a secure online contribution (select the “Right Speech Sponsorship” tab in the second donation box under “Dedicated Gifts”) or send a check, writing “Right Speech Sponsorship in the memo line) to “Ewam”, PO Box 330, Arlee, MT 59821.
Thank you so much for supporting Right Speech!
Yesterday marked a major milestone for the Garden of 1000 Buddhas as concrete for the first of the eight throne walls was poured. The throne walls are arrayed as spokes of the Garden’s ‘dharma wheel’ configuration, each representing one aspect of the Noble Eightfold Path to enlightenment as taught by Shakyamuni Buddha. They will be the supports for the 1000 Buddha statues, themselves aligned back-to-back along each wall’s 140’ length.
This first wall symbolizes Right View, and was sponsored with devotion by Tulku Sang-ngag Rinpoche’s students and broader community, who are now going beyond this one wall to sponsor Right Intention.
One of the Buddha’s foremost disciples, Shariputra, summed up Right View in this way:
“And what, friends, is right view? Knowledge of suffering, knowledge of the origin of suffering, knowledge of the cessation of suffering, and knowledge of the way leading to the cessation of suffering—this is called right view.”
Vietnamese Zen teacher Thich Nhat Hanh, in The Heart of the Buddha’s Teaching, describes Right View in somewhat more modern terms:
“Our happiness and the happiness of those around us depend on our degree of Right View. Touching reality deeply—knowing what is going on inside and outside of ourselves—is the way to liberate ourselves from the suffering that is caused by wrong perceptions. Right View is not an ideology, a system, or even a path. It is the insight we have into the reality of life, a living insight that fills us with understanding, peace, and love.”
The elements of the Garden will be marked with explanatory signs to help visitors connect with the deeper qualities of the symbols which resonate with their own basic, authentic goodness.
If you feel inspired to contribute to the Garden’s Eightfold Path throne walls, please click here!
Under a perfectly clear blue dome of big Montana sky, the afternoon sun bathing Yum Chenmo in golden light, Tulku Sang-ngag Rinpoche conferred the Refuge and Bodhisattva Vows upon an assembly of more than 100. He also offered the empowerment of Green Tara, explaining as he did so that the three ceremonies afforded entry into the three levels of the Buddhist path: outer, inner, and secret. Prior to the empowerment, he also told the story of Tara, which felt compelling enough to recount here. Tara figures prominently in the creation of the Garden of 1000 Buddhas, as an image of the Savioress will be enshrined in each of the 1000 stupas that will form the Garden’s outer perimeter. Here is Tara’s story:
It seems that many eons ago, beyond counting, there was a Buddha named Many Jewels. At one gathering of his monks and lay followers, he was approached by a princess of the land, Yeshe Dawa—Wisdom Moon—who in his presence first aroused bodhicitta, the intention to seek enlightenment for the welfare and liberation of all sentient beings, and took the vow before him to enact this aspiration.
Afterward, some of the monks approached Yeshe Dawa. They praised her intention, but offered their opinion that she would be much better suited to benefit beings in a male form, and that she should also pray to be reborn as a man. Yeshe Dawa was taken aback by this; such ideas did not agree with her understanding of the Buddha’s teaching that all beings equally have the potential to attain enlightenment.
Yeshe Dawa was confident in her understanding and of strong character, so she formed the opposite aspiration: she vowed to be reborn only in female form in order to effect beings’ liberation that way and counteract such low, chauvinistic notions. And so she did, sincerely and diligently practicing the path to enlightenment in female incarnation after female incarnation. One of these lifetimes was in the presence of another Buddha named Ratnasambhava. It was he who declared that her name should be Tara, “She Who Liberates,” and that’s how she has come to be known in her enlightened appearance.
On the Buddhist path, one’s form is irrelevant. It is one’s determination to be free of the unenlightened cycle of suffering, as well as one’s compassionate concern for the welfare of others, that are of paramount importance.