The notion of a Dharma Sanctuary came to me when I moved to Kauai in 2000 and purchased land on the island’s north shore in a rural area called Moloa’a. The rolling landscape near the ocean called out to me. It already was a natural sanctuary, and it meshed with my desire to create a form of Buddhist community, something I’d wanted to do all my life.
The goal was to create an outdoor temple-like setting, a type of park or meditation garden. I wanted to create a sacred place of harmony and beauty that people could step into and instantly feel relaxed. In the sub-tropics this is aided by the bodily experience of perfect temperatures, soothing trade winds, rustling palm leaves, sweet flower smells, and the endless movement of the ocean. These tropical environments unlock a mental door for us. When our senses are satiated, we can open up to our good fortune and calm our minds.
Within this park I wanted to have stupas, a prayer wheel wall, deity shrines, and whatever else would be conducive to a Buddhist sacred space. From my travels to Tibet, Nepal, and India, stupas have always held a fascination for me, as have prayer wheel walls. The urge was strong to replicate both the spirit and physical manifestation of these temple experiences.
Through my good fortune, and my connection to my teacher, Lama Karma Rinchen, I was able to fulfill this vision on Kauai. Collaborating with many kind and knowledgeable people along the way made it possible.
The foundation now holds title to the Peace Park property, and access is preserved for all. It is a joy to see so many people come and visit on a daily basis.
In reflecting on this accomplishment, I am made much more aware how special such sacred public spaces are for Westerners. From this awareness has grown the urge to build another Peace Park, the next one hopefully in an urban area where many more people could experience it. I have coined the name ‘Tibetan Peace Park’ as a way of promoting this vision to a wider audience.
I have initially funded the development of The Dharma Sanctuary and the Kauai Peace Park. The continuation of the vision lies in bringing others into the fold and creating these sacred spaces wherever the donor community wishes it. It would be extremely beneficial for many, many people to be introduced to Dharma in this way.
For further thoughts and conversation, I encourage you to contact me or other board members. If you are so inspired, we welcome you to make a tax deductible donation and help this vision become a reality.