Posts Tagged ‘dalai lama’
One of the joys of creating the Garden of 1000 Buddhas is that its compassionate intention seems to appeal to the basic good qualities of visitors from around the world, no matter whether they’re engaged in a formal spiritual path or not. Of course, this is also the appeal of His Holiness the Dalai Lama, who draws crowds in their tens of thousands wherever he goes to spread his message of loving-kindness.
Thus, it was a great joy to welcome a delegation from the Tributary Fund this past Tuesday, on an Environmental Education Tour of Wyoming and Montana, that included monks and officials from Mongolia and Bhutan, to explore our projects and help us celebrate the Dalai Lama’s 75th birthday.
The morning was devoted to a trip north to the Namchak Retreat Land, to hear from Lama Tsomo and Brandon Sheehan about innovative plans to restore the ecological integrity of the former cattle ranch and develop a place for long-term meditation retreat in as sustainable and low-impact a way as possible.
Returning to Ewam in Arlee, the delegation got a taste of creating the buddha statues and were impressed by the array already completed and stored in the ‘Buddha Barn.’
The day culminated in a most festive way, with nearly 100 people gathered for chanting, a food and candlelight offering, and birthday-cake-and-ice-cream-sharing especially to honor His Holiness the Dalai Lama and express the collective wish for his continued long life. With Tibetans, Mongolians, Bhutanese, and Americans of all stripes gathered together on such an occasion at a Buddhist center in rural Montana, the local media also found this compelling. The event made the front page of The Missoulian (with online-only video at the link) and the 10pm news broadcast of Missoula’s KPAX. Thanks to both for making the journey up!
A vision as profound as that of the Garden of 1000 Buddhas that would inspire none other than His Holiness the Dalai Lama to agree to perform its consecration must have a significant individual behind it. That individual is our lama Gochen Tulku Sang-ngag Rinpoche, who will be in residence at Ewam in Arlee, Montana, from June 3-14 and speaking about the Garden vision at a June 3rd benefit in Missoula.
When Tulku Sang-ngag was first looking at land with students in western Montana for a possible Buddhist center, he was amazed when they stopped at the property in the Jocko Valley they eventually purchased. As he gazed around at the landscape, it was exactly like a vivid dream he had had as a child in Tibet: the property nestled in the valley like the heart of a lotus flower with the mountain ranges arrayed as eight petals of the lotus. This kind of geographic arrangement is considered extremely auspicious in Tibetan Buddhism.
Tulku Sang-ngag envisioned the Garden of 1000 Buddhas as a western reflection of Bodh Gaya in India. That is not only the holy site of Shakyamuni Buddha’s enlightenment, but predicted as the site where all the 1000 Buddhas of this ‘Fortunate Eon’—Shakyamuni Buddha being only the fourth—will attain enlightenment. Originally Shakyamuni Buddha was to be the central figure in the Arlee Garden, but after the attacks of September 11, 2001, Tulku Sang-ngag felt strongly that the central figure should be Yum Chenmo, the ‘Great Mother’ who symbolizes the ultimate wisdom that gives birth to perfect compassion. This 25’ statue has been completed and will be painted and decorated by expert artisans this summer.
The Garden of 1000 Buddhas, as Tulku Sang-ngag sees it, will be a place of pilgrimage where visitors can connect deeply with their own innate qualities of wisdom, compassion, and peacefulness. If you’re in western Montana, or know folks who are, we encourage you to hear from Tulku Sang-ngag in person this Thursday evening at Missoula’s Florence Building. If you live elsewhere, please consider supporting the Garden of 1000 Buddhas with a contribution. This is a critical juncture when we’re marshaling the resources necessary to accomplish all of the infrastructure work for the Garden during Montana’s very short outdoor construction season. Thank you!
Welcome to The Eight-spoked Wheel, the blog for the new website of Arlee, Montana’s Garden of 1000 Buddhas and HH the Dalai Lama’s anticipated visit to perform its consecration. Please bookmark or subscribe to the feed of The Eight-spoked Wheel to catch the latest news, photos, and more in-depth stories during the Garden’s development. Be sure to take a moment to click around the new site, created as an offering by Bozeman’s Catch & Release Graphics and Radd Icenoggle. We welcome your feedback in the comments! Expect constant additions and improvements.
Why “The Eight-spoked Wheel”? This will be the configuration of the Garden of 1000 Buddhas, as envisioned by Tulku Sang-ngag Rinpoche on his land at Ewam Sang-ngag Ling. It is one of Buddhism’s most ancient symbols, representing Shakyamuni Buddha’s original “turning of the wheel of dharma,” detailing the eight-fold path, a way of life that can free anyone beyond suffering in the state of enlightenment. Moreover, we chose today, the holy day celebrating the birth of the Buddha, as the time to unveil the new site and felt it was most appropriate.
May we all work together in great joy to bring this sacred Garden into being and soon welcome the supremely auspicious visit of His Holiness the Dalai Lama!