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!