A Visit to the City of 10,000 Buddhas

September 13, 2006

Source: Common Ground


In its September 2006 edition, Common Ground reported, "The exit for Talmage, in the wine country 110 miles north of San Francisco, summons visions of bucolic landscapes and wine tasting. Instead, the 1.5-mile road to Talmage leads straight through an imposing gateway of pink, black and gold, with bold lettering in Chinese and words in English: 'The City of 10,000 Buddhas.' Passing under these huge arches is a transformative experience into another world. On a hot summer day, most notable upon entering the grounds is the absence of irrigated lawns. Also the blessed shade of huge ancient oaks and a multitude of peacocks. There are few cars and the wind’s music in the trees is blissfully audible here. If you see a golden-robed nun under a large Asian-style bamboo sombrero sweeping the street with a homemade broom, you’ll wonder if you’re still in California. On Bodhi Way, a 12-foot golden Buddha sits atop the entrance to The Jeweled Hall of 10,000 Buddhas, gazing down upon an enormous incense burner. The elegance within the cavernous hall is startling: it really does contain 10,000 gilded images of the Buddha, each cast from a mold by the Venerable Master Hua. There are also numerous statues from China, including a 10-foot image of Guanshiyin Bodhisattva compassionately guiding worshippers with 1,000 hands and 1,000 eyes. If you happen to visit during a Buddhist holiday, you will be welcome to join in chanting, meditation or bowing. Usually a kindly nun is available to explain and guide you through the procedures. Visitors from all over the globe join residents for events such as the annual 10,000 Buddhas Repentance when, for 22 days, penitents bow for hours while chanting various forms of the Buddha’s name, for a total of 10,000 bows... Today the 488 acres encompass a Buddhist university, kindergarten to grade 12 schools, a large Buddhist library, a monastic community, a center for the translation of Buddhist texts, extensive vegetable gardens, tranquil flower gardens and a restaurant."