What: Garden of One Thousand Buddhas
Where is it? The garden is 28 miles northwest of Missoula in the Jocko Valley of Arlee.
What’s the back story? The garden is a project of the Ewam School of Tibetan Buddhism. It was created as a place to cultivate kindness and compassion. Everyone of every faith, culture, race and walk of life is welcome. In 2009, the Dalai Lama came to consecrate the garden at the invitation of the garden’s founder, Tulku Sang-ngag Rinpoche, a native of Tibet who now lives in New Mexico.
Is it worth the drive? Only if you like the experience of seeing 1,000 hand-cast Buddha statues in a perfect circle with eight cogs surrounded by manicured flower beds all in the shadow of the Mission Mountains. The garden is in the shape of a Dharma Wheel that symbolizes the activation of spiritual awakening. It doesn’t matter what your faith is; you can admire the serenity and beauty of this garden. At first, the garden seems so out of place sitting on the Flathead Indian Reservation surrounded by modest farmhouses and horses. But the longer you stay, the more you appreciate the placement of this cultural wonder that has Salish and Kootenai flags flying alongside Tibetan prayer flags.