We are just back from the 15th Annual Peace Festival at the Garden of One Thousand Buddhas in Arlee, Montana. The theme was “Wisdom for Modern Times” and the program included speakers and musicians from multiple cultures as well as the consecration of the new Peace Pavilion by Rev. Paul Armstrong and Stephen Small Salmon. Shakti Bliss Kirtan was very happy to be included in the celebration.
Although the prediction was 100% chance of rain, fortunately the skies held back until the entire day was done. Great to meet people from all over Montana and Idaho and places as far away as Arkansas who gathered for a parade, great food, arts and crafts, music and prayer.
The Garden of One Thousand Buddhas is open year round to the public. From their website: “The Garden of One Thousand Buddhas is in western Montana’s spectacular Jocko Valley, just north of Missoula. Nestled in a peaceful valley in the land of the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes of the Flathead Reservation, near Glacier National Park and medicinal hot springs. The location and architecture of the garden was a prophetic treasure vision that Sang-ngag Rinpoche had while a child and was discovered while on a trip to teach the dharma in Montana.
The Garden of One Thousand Buddhas aligns positive properties of the physical world in a sacred architectural arrangement based on the eight-spoked Dharma wheel. This symbol evokes the turning or awakening of the enlightened qualities of altruism and wisdom. The Garden invokes positive transformation within those who visit.
One thousand hand-cast Buddha statues are arrayed around the central figure of Prajnaparamita (Yum Chenmo), or the Great Mother Goddess, the manifestation of the perfection of wisdom. One thousand stupas, representations of the enlightened mind, line the outer circle. Each enshrines an image of the female deity, Tara. Elegantly adorned with native trees and flowers, the Garden of One Thousand Buddhas instills lasting impressions of wisdom and compassion.”