September 13, 2012
Buddhist Festival of Peace brings divergent sectors of peace promoters
By B.L. Azure
The centerpiece of the Buddhist compound north of Arlee on White Coyote Road features a statue of Yum Chenmo, the Mother of all Buddhas and 1,000 statues of Buddha. (B.L. Azure photo)
ARLEE — The lofty spirituality of the 8th annual Buddhist Festival of Peace’s goal of a world without war last Saturday was matched by the drape of a blue sky, ideal temperatures and gentle wispy winds of the Jocko Valley. Willard Mitt Romney would probably agree that the sky was just the right color, the temperature was just the right degree and the winds were just the right velocity.
The annual gathering that began in 2005 in part promotes world peace and celebrates the creation of the Peace Garden at the Buddhist compound just north of Arlee on White Coyote Road.
Gochen Tulku Sang-ngag Rinpoche gets into the swing of things Saturday at the Festival of Peace. (B.L. Azure photos)
The Festival of Peace was the exclamation-point end of the three-day Yum Chenmo Empowerment and Retreat with Tulku Sang-ngag Rinpoche that focused on Buddhist teachings, spirituality and meditational techniques. The retreat that took place last Wednesday through Friday drew many national and international devout followers of Buddha to the Garden of One Thousand Buddhas.
Then on Saturday the 8th annual Festival of Peace began with the 2nd annual “Walk-A-Mile for Peace!” fundraiser that will fund the annual maintenance of the centerpiece of the compound, the Garden of One Thousand Buddhas. Hundreds of people from throughout western Montana and neighboring states gathered for the good vibration day.
One thousand ceramic statues of Buddha set sublimely on the elevated spokes of the Garden of One Thousand Buddhas near Arlee. (B.L. Azure photo)
Following the Walk-A-Mile for Peace was a traditional Tibetan procession at the compound led by its founder and spiritual head Tulku Sang-ngag Rinpoche.
Music by the band Off In The Woods played during the noon hour. The afternoon began with keynote speaker Simon Ortiz, Acoma Pueblo of New Mexico.
There were poetry readings and international music performances after the keynote address.
A mid-afternoon panel discussion focused on the Native Lands and Wilderness Council, was moderated by Flathead Nation tribal members Julie Cajune and Terry Tanner. The panel was followed by more musical interludes.
Nkwusm Salish Language Institute staff member Jesse Nenemay addressed the folks gathered at the Buddhist Festival of Peace about the importance of saving the Salish tongue. (B.L. Azure photo)
Founder of the Peace Garden Tulku Sang-ngag Rinpoche then spoke to festival gatherers about the importance of maintaining a healthy Mother Earth and a healthy human spirit.
After another musical interlude Salish tribal member and Nkwusm Salish Language Institute staff member Jesse Nenemay spoke about the importance of saving the Salish language and the local effort on the Flathead Indian Reservation.
Following Nenemay was more musical performances that got the people dancing as the sun set slowly in the west.
It was a good day for the peaceful spirit.