The History of Ewam

Ewam Garden of 1,000 Buddhas
An update for our neighbors and community

Over 10 years ago, Tibetan Lama (teacher) Tulku Sang-ngag Rinpoche and his family moved to Arlee. Originally from Kham in eastern Tibet, Rinpoche was forced to leave his homeland during the Communist Chinese 

Revolution. He has established monasteries, nunneries and teaching centers in Asia and the U.S., and most recently, a medical clinic, school and monastery in India. Shortly after moving to Arlee, he began creating the Garden of 1,000 Buddhas as "the most beneficial contribution I could offer to the West". The tragic events of 9-11 were what moved Rinpoche to choose Prajnaparamita as the central figure of the Garden. Known as the Great Mother, this image dates back to approximately 300 A.D., and represents the embodiment of wisdom and compassion, which demonstrates our interconnectedness as the key for creating peace in our world.

As many of you know, H.H. the Dalai Lama, the spiritual and temporal leader of the Tibetan people in exile and winner of the Nobel Peace Prize, has accepted Ewam's invitation to come to Arlee and dedicate the Garden upon its completion. The tentative timeframe for this event was originally announced to be late 2011. We are now looking at a later date for his visit and hope to have a firm date available to us by the middle of this year. Due to his advancing age, the Dalai Lama is currently reorganizing his many activities and parliamentary responsibilities.

Ewam has met with representatives from State, County, Tribal and local agencies in order to ensure that any potential traffic and safety issues are addressed well in advance of the Dalai Lama's brief visit to Arlee. It is our commitment to work with the community in ways that will not place undue strain on local resources. If he is scheduled for public talks during his visit to Montana, these will be held in Missoula.

The Garden of 1,000 Buddhas is located on White Coyote Road, just North of Arlee. It has been created through private donations and the efforts of volunteers. The north end of the 30-acre park contains a wheel-shaped arrangement of pedestals which will support the 1,000 small concrete Buddha statues and 1,000 carved stone stupas -- an image representing the awakened mind. The central statue of the Great Mother, or Yum Chenmo in Tibetan, is replete with symbols of lovingkindness and the path to peace. Five additional figures, carved from volcanic stone, are in place on the cardinal directions and near the lavender gardens. Over a mile of walkways offer a quiet stroll through the lawns, gardens and statuary. The remaining acreage will be forested with groves of native trees.

The project is important in preserving the Tibetan culture through its traditional Buddhist art and sculpture. Since 1959, over 10,000 monasteries and sacred sites in Tibet have been destroyed. One million Tibetans lost their lives in the Communist Revolution, and those remaining in their former country are restricted from using important components of their faith and language.
The greatest aspiration in creating the Garden of 1,000 Buddhas is as an offering to people of all faiths, cultures and walks of life to have an inspiring place to cultivate peaceful and altruistic intentions and qualities, which will in turn create a more compassionate world for all of us to share. Its aim is to help give rise to compassion so that we may live together in peace.

To date, the central statue has been completed; the lavender gardens are established; the concrete pedestals are 3/4 completed and volunteers have finished making 750 of the 1,000, 24" Buddha statues. Almost half of the 1,000 stupas have been hand-carved thus far and will be shipped from Indonesia upon completion. A generous donation of 108 ponderosa pines were planted last fall, and more native trees will be planted this year.

Plans for 2011 include the continuation of the concrete structures and the creation of the extensive gardens. The final phase will comprise a small pond, picnic areas, trails, ADA accessible restrooms and parking.

We will strive to continue to hire businesses located within 100 miles of Arlee and to support our community's businesses and services. Locally, we wish to extend our special thanks to Matt Whetzel and his construction crew, the SKC Highway Construction Training Program, the Tribal Youth Employment program, the local materials suppliers, Donna Mollica and the Arlee CDC, the Tribal Council and Tribal Elders, Julie Cajune, Stephen Small Salmon and NkWsum, Dave and Nancy at the Windmill, our neighbors who have volunteered and supported the Garden project and the annual Peace Festival, and the many others in the community who have helped us in many various ways. Schaffer's Hardscapes, Elkhorn Excavating, Mickelson Rock Products, Anderson's Masonry&Mutual Materials are just a few of the Missoula businesses who have helped greatly this past year. The Garden is part of the strategic plan of the Arlee CDC in partnership with the Salish&Kootenai Tribes to designate the Jocko Valley as an Arts and Culture destination, which will benefit local artists, craftspeople and businesses.

We welcome and encourage the community to take advantage of the opportunities presented by the creation of the Garden. We will post another update soon to talk about community collaboration and participation.

The 7th Annual Festival of Peace is usually held around the 10th of Sept

Please visit our website for more information: ewambuddhagarden.org

or call our office: 406-726-0555. You may email us at: admin@ewam.org

Please come visit the Garden of 1,000 Buddhas, 2 miles North of Arlee!
About ½ mile east on White Coyote road, you can watch for the small sign directing you to a parking place. You will find a walking tour map in the box and are welcome every day during daylight hours. May through October, please join the interpretive tour, offered every Saturday at 1:00pm. We welcome our neighbors and community to come by anytime to visit, offer ideas or ask questions about Ewam and the Garden project. We hope to see you soon!

Nymigma School of Tibetan Buddhism

Sang-ngag Ling - Arlee, Montana Map
406-726-0217
PO Box 330
34574 White Coyote Road
Arlee, MT 59821
ewammontana@blackfoot.net

Samten Ling - Tuolumne, California
(near Sonora)
209-928-1326
michaelirw@mlode.com

 

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