United States 23 June: Murray - Dixon

Magical Montana...

Today we entered Montana from Idaho. It was a beautiful misty morning and we began with a steep climb towards the clouds...

The weather was a little cool for Putu from Bali, luckily she had some gloves to wear!

This morning we were delighted to meet with local Sanders County runners who ran the torch 3 miles into Thompson Falls.

The youngest runner, Marley Neesvig, leads the way!

We ran from three miles up Prospect Creek Road, via the Thompson Falls dam and fish ladder, to Little Bear in Thompson Falls. Pictured (back left to right) are Sarankhu from Mongolia, Sarah Stover, Shana Neesvig, Teresa Nelson, Hattie Neesvig, Sarah Naegeli, and Banshidhar Medeiros. Front centre is Marley Neesvig.

Hattie running the last stretch down the main street of Thompson Falls.

A big thank you to Sarah Naegeli and her friends from Sanders County for coming to run with us- we were delighted to meet you all!

At the end Marley was all smiles- a promising young runner!

We all thoroughly enjoyed the beautiful running today!

Moni, our local Montana Coordinator, is all smiles as he finally has the chance to run with the torch! Moni drove out from Seattle to do all the final arrangements in person before the team arrived.

At last we made it to Paradise!

In the evening we drove ahead to visit the enchanting Garden of One Thousand Buddhas in Arlee.
Taken from the Ewam Buddha Garden Website, "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, or the Great Mother, the manifestation of the perfection of wisdom. One thousand stupas, representations of the enlightened mind, line the outer circle. Each enshrine an image of the female deity, Tara. Elegantly adorned with native trees and flowers, it is hoped that the Garden of One Thousand Buddhas will instill lasting impressions of peacefulness and compassion. If you find this vision inspiring, please take your time enjoying what this site has to offer, and consider how you might benefit from helping to bring such a vision into reality."

In the Centre of the Garden 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.

We were very honored to be warmly welcomed by Resident Monk Namchang Khempo Rinpoche, who invited us for tea and shared his wisdom as well as his enthusiastic encouragement for the message of the Peace Run.
He was very happy that our message is based on the necessity of individual peace for collective peace.

We sang our Peace Run song and shared some stories.

OUr local coordinator, Moni, offered our Certificate of Appreciation and a small artwork by Sri Chinmoy. We are also very grateful to Claudette Carlson, second from the right, who facilitated our meeting, and Tsering, pictured far right, who kindly translated for us.

Namchang Khempo Rinpoche kindly offered us a card with his handwritten blessings for peace and safety on our journey.

All our gratitude for the opportunity to end our day at this sacred and beautiful haven of prayerful peace and inspiration.