Garden of 1,000 Buddhas brings visitors seeking peace, enlightenment

In our Montana Moment, NBC Montana explores a place in the shadow of the Mission Mountains, where people of all faiths come to learn more about Buddhist teachings.

It might not be a site you would expect to see in western Montana.

But on the Flathead Indian Reservation just north of Arlee people come from all over to learn more about Buddhist teachings, and to enjoy the peaceful gardens in the shadow of the Mission Mountains.

In our Montana Moment NBC Montana visited the Ewam and Garden of 1,000 Buddhas.

It was a cool fall day and clouds enhanced every color on the landscape.

The white statues lining the beautiful grounds were shining.

In the Shrine Room Khen Rinpoche offered a short prayer.

Khen Rinpoche is the Abbot and supervisor of Ewam Garden.

Thupten Shastri translated Khen Rinpoche's interview into the English language.

"Each and everybody here, " said Khen Rinpoche, "has a responsibility to create universal peace."

Thupten Shastri read from Buddha's writings on a rock.

"Do not harm anybody," it said. "Train your mind. That is my teaching."

Buddha was born in India more than 2,700 years ago.

His birth place is now a part of Nepal.

His students believe it is every person's responsibility to do everything they can to better their country and globe.

Khen Rinpoche's oldest brother Sang Ngag Rinpoche founded the garden near Arlee about 20-years ago.

Sang Ngag Rinpoche is acknowledged as a reincarnation of an earlier Tibetan spiritual master.

Khen Rinpoche said as a young boy in Tibet his brother had dreamed of these mountains.

Sang Ngag Rinpoche's students brought him to Arlee,

"They told this Lama they were traveling here for the first time," said Khen Rinpoche. "But he said no, these mountains are very familiar to me. I've been here before."

Today a constant stream of people come to see the garden, the Prayer Flags on the hill, the Stupas symbolizing enlightened mind as well as the 1,000 Buddhas.

According to Buddhism the Buddhas are of the past and future. "It is believed the 1,000 Buddhas will return to earth.

On the day NBC Montana visited Ewam a group of world history and geography students from Powell County High School in Deer Lodge were visiting also.

Student Isaac Podvin said what he took away from the experience is that "the world isn't all anger and hate. There's also happiness and peacefulness," he said.

" Treat people the way you would want to be treated," said Xaria Nixon of her experience.

"Regardless of their faith," said Khen Rinpoche, " this garden is a place where people can come and enjoy."

Khen Rinpoche teaches meditation and classes on Buddhism.

"This garden was created to create world peace," he said, "peace in America and peace in the minds of all sanctioned beings."

On this brilliant day, with the Missions colored Cobalt blue Khen Rinpoche turned a prayer wheel, sending blessings in all directions.

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