The Garden of One Thousand Buddhas

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 is a public park, botanical garden and Buddhist center in the Nyingma School of Tibetan Buddhism. The Garden of One Thousand Buddhas in western Montana's Jocko Valley, just north of Arlee, is led by the visionary guidance of Gochen Tulku Sang-ngag Rinpoche. Nestled in a peaceful valley in the land of the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes of the Flathead Reservation, 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.

For those who feel inspired to contribute to the vision of the Garden of One Thousand Buddhas, there are several ways to give.  You may make an easy, secure online contribution, click here or mail a check made out to “Ewam Buddha Garden” and mail to: P.O. Box 330, Arlee, MT 59821. Ewam is a federally-registered 501c(3) non-profit organization. All donations within the U.S. are tax-deductible to the fullest extent allowed by law.

The purpose of the garden is to bring about positive transformation within those who visit, in response to the negativity that abounds in the world today. One thousand hand-cast Buddha statues are arrayed around the central figure of Yum Chenmo (Prajnaparamita), or the Great Mother, 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. The garden is elegantly adorned with native trees, flowers and other other inspiring landscape features. The Garden of One Thousand Buddhas instills lasting impressions of wisdom and compassion. The garden is also the home of the Ewam Buddhist Institute founded by Sang-ngag Rinpoche and Khen Rinpoche and their landmark summer shedra program. To read more about the Garden of One Thousand Buddhas, please visit the garden website. You can also follow the gardens activities and community on Facebook and Instagram #ewambuddhagarden

Tours are offered when available April thru October. For special group tours, or to find out about having your wedding or event at the garden, please contact admin@ewam.org.

Visitors are welcome every day from 9 am (8 am in Summer) to dusk. A printed tour and description of the garden is available at the information sign in the parking lot (weather permitting) or in the Gift Shop, which is open every day 10a.m. to 4p.m.

Parking for the garden is located at 34756 White Coyote Road, Arlee, MT 59821. It is a sacred place. In order that the Garden be kept clean for visitors and safe for all ages, we ask that you leave your pets at home, or board them, or leave them in your car, only if the temperature is appropriate for them. Dogs should not be left in the car during extreme heat or cold in the summer or winter months.

Within the Garden of One Thousand Buddhas rests the inspiring central figure of Yum Chenmo. She is also known as The Great Mother of Transcendent Wisdom. One thousand Montana-made images of the Buddha, arranged in the shape of an eight-spoked Dharma wheel, encircle Yum Chenmo. In addition to the thousand Buddhas, one thousand stupas surmount the two exterior throne walls, creating the outer rim of the Dharma wheel, or Dharmachakra. This is a meaningful ancient symbol from India which has come to be associated with the Buddha’s teachings (dharma) when he “turned the wheel (chakra),” setting in motion the teachings on the path to liberation and enlightenment. The dharma wheel literally represents the wheel of transformation; spiritual change; the turning toward awakening. The directions in which the eight spokes radiate represent the Buddhist noble eight-fold path of right view, right intention, right speech, right action, right livelihood, right effort, right mindfulness, and right concentration.

Yum Chenmo/Prajnaparamita/The Great Mother

Seated at the center point of the Garden of One Thousand Buddhas is the 24-foot tall figure of Yum Chenmo, or Prajnaparamita in Sanskrit meaning Transcendent Perfection of Wisdom. She is depicted in feminine form because it is this perfect wisdom which gives birth to all of the Buddhas, as well as the bodhisattvas, those who are striving for enlightenment to benefit all beings. Yum Chenmo represents the union of primordial wisdom and the skillful means of compassion.

One Thousand Buddhas

According to the Buddhist texts, we are living in an enormous cycle of time known as The Fortunate Aeon. It is fortunate because it is believed that one thousand Buddhas will take birth, attain enlightenment, and teach the path to liberation. Of these one thousand, the Buddha of our particular time, Shakyamuni, is only the fourth to have descended on Earth. It is further explained that all of the one thousand Buddhas will attain enlightenment at the site now known as BodhGaya, in India. Montana’s Garden of One Thousand Buddhas embodies the pure reflection of Bodh Gaya to benefit those who may never have the chance to travel to India.

One Thousand Stupas

The stupa is one of the world’s oldest architectural forms. Originally constructed as reliquaries to honor the remains of great kings and warriors, evolving in sophistication since the time of Shakyamuni Buddha stupas have enshrined the relics of enlightened masters. The one thousand stupas which encircle the garden are in the style known as the stupa of enlightenment. Each element, from the base to the tip of the spire, represents an aspect of the path to enlightenment, collectively symbolizing the mind of awakening. Each of these one thousand stupas also enshrine an image of the female deity Tara, serving as a potent reminder that spiritual liberation is equally the birthright of all beings.

Sangwa Yeshé Drubchöd

In the 9thcentury at the Drakmar Kyeu-tsang cave of Samye Chimphu in Tibet, Guru Rinpoche bestowed the sacred teachings of the Gathering of Sughatas. One of these rare and precious cycles of tantric instruction and practice was the Sangwe Yeshe (secret wisdom) cycle given to the dakini Yeshe Tsogyal and Nupchen Sangye Yeshe, one of the heart sons among the 25 disciples of Guru Rinpoche.

This practice was concealed in the rocks of these caves, Samye Chimpu and Drigung Tidro, by Yeshe Tsogyal as terma (spiritual treasures) to be revealed at a future time when the practices would be of the most benefit. It was prophesized that the future incarnation of Nupchen Sangwe Yeshe would be the revealer (terton) of these terma. Over 800 years later, in 1716, the great Terton Tsasum Lingpa, the re-incarnation of Nubchen Sangye Yeshe would open the secret doors of these places and reveal the terma.

Sangwe Yeshe, a nirmanakaya form of Vajravarahi is the great wisdom dakini, a manifestation of the enlightened feminine principal. The benefits of realization, long life, good health, prosperity, power, wish fulfillment, and the removal of obstacles are some of the results of this practice. Drubchod or the great accomplishment ceremony is an especially potent group format of deity practice to awaken one to the perception of one’s own true nature and the whole world as a sacred realm.

This nine day group practice will be led by Vajra Master Tulku Sang-ngag Rinpoche, founder and spiritual director of Ewam centers worldwide. Other great Buddhist masters who will be teaching during this Drubchod practice are Namchak Khen Rinpoche who is the resident Abbot at the Ewam Garden of One Thousand Buddhas, Khenpo Namchak Dorje and Jestunma Pema Yeshe Palmo. Khenchen Lama will be a special guest this year. The Drubchod is accomplished in four daily sessions held right in front of the central statue, Great Mother of Wisdom (Prajnaparamita), on the ground of the Garden of One Thousand Buddhas.

This Drubchod is open to all levels of practitioner including beginners. There will be teachings and instructions throughout offering explanations and instructions.

Bodhicitta Monlam

International Prayer Ceremony (Bodhicitta Monlam). Free and open to all – please arrive a few minutes early and take your seat. Weather permitting will be held in front of the main garden statue, if raining inside outdoor tent near the gift shop. We are annually offering 100,000 Bodhicitta prayers for the flourishing of the collective merit of the world to pacify the disturbance in the elements of our world for peace and happiness. The purpose of the Mönlam is to liberate all sentient beings from suffering.

Tibetan Cultural Festival

Since 2013, The Ewam Sangha and the Garden of One Thousand Buddhas hosts an annual Tibetan Cultural Festival. This unique celebration includes music, traditional ceremonial dancing, monk debate demonstration, ritual instruments, costumes, and songs.

Peace Festival

The gift shop/information center located onsite has imported treasures from Nepal, Buddhist shrine items and local crafts. The store is open daily from 10am-6pm.

In July 2016, Sang-Ngag Rinpoche inaugurated the Ewam Buddhist Institute (shedra) at the Garden of One Thousand Buddhas in Montana.  Rinpoche was the first to teach Jigme Lingpa’s seminal text Treasury of Precious Qualities in its entirety in North America, which will be the primary text in the summer curriculum. We also offer many other weekend retreats and classes in both philosophy and Buddhist practice in both Montana and Santa Fe, New Mexico.

Our programs offer a rare opportunity for theoretical and practice focused training in Buddhism with an emphasis on the Nyingma tradition.

The garden is also a center for Tibetan Buddhist studies and practice in the Nyingma School of Tibetan Buddhism. There are teachings, meditation classes, Vajrayana retreats and traditional gatherings. An annual week long Sangwa Yeshe Drub Chöd and a live webcasted International Bodhicitta Mönlam/Tibetan Cultural Festival Day are held every June and an annual Festival of Peace is held every September which welcomes people of all traditions to discuss and celebrate. Please see our videos for more information.