Seeking Serenity

Buddhist monks find solace
for worship in Henry County, Ky.

BuddahLand to open new
Mindful Living Village in October

TURNERS STATION, Ky. (October 2018) – BuddhaLand opened a year ago at 1184 Zen Forest Rd. in Henry County, Ky. Set in the wilds of the county near Turners Station, BuddhaLand is a place for meditation and getting back to nature. It is open to all, not just Buddhists. Now owner Nam Do is planning an open house Oct. 6-14 for the new Mindful Living Village opening there. The public is invited.
Getting to BuddaLand is a trick at best. A telephone GPS can send a person down a wrong road. If that happens in town, it is no big deal, but Henry County has some amazing wild places with roads that end in open fields. When visitors get lost, owner Nam Do will drive his Ford pickup truck out to meet them and lead them to BuddhaLand.

Photo provided

Buddhist monks have found a new place to practice their religion on the wooded, 200-acre BuddahLand property.

BuddhaLand is the brainchild of Nam, 71, who came to America in 1975, the day before the communists took over the country. After retiring from Ford as an engineer, he wanted a country place to live with his wife, Mai. He bought the large property and soon fell in love with the wild deer that graced the land.
“Instead of people, I have my deer,” Nam said. “They know this is a good place to hide.”
When Nam acquired the property, the first thing he did was build roads and install water.
The road is not paved but is a good trail for walking, and Nam occasionally pulls a hay wagon in an old-fashioned hay ride that also serves as a shuttle.
The setup encourages the deer to circumnavigate. If they are within the circle, they are safe from hunters.
A first-time visitor can be overwhelmed seeing BuddhaLand. There are plenty of buildings but with vast stretches of wild land between them.
In September, Nam’s home of 15 years was converted to a monastery for American monks. Up to five monks will live at the Zen Forest Monastery and teach at the property.
The most developed feature of BuddhaLand is now a non-profit organization called the Buddhist Meditation Center and Mindful Living Village. The 35-acre property has a meditation hall and several other buildings that will be used by lay practitioners of the Plum Village Tradition, established by Zen monk, Thich Naht Hahn.
There are approximately 1,000 lay-led groups, called “sanghas” in the United States. There are two well-established sanghas within an hour’s drive of Buddhaland.
Several members of the Louisville Community of Mindful Living serve as board members of the nonprofit organization. The project also has connections to the Flowing River Community of Mindful Living sangha that meets monthly in Madison, Ind.
Thich Tinh Tri, a monk from Louisville, has been a regular visitor to BuddhaLand for several years. He is an American monk who was ordained in the Hue Nghiem Monastery in Vietnam. He has practiced Zen meditation for more than 22 years in the Vietnamese and Japanese Zen traditions, along with Vipassana Meditation. For two years, he has been a resident monk at Tu An Buddhist Temple in Louisville. Thich Tinh Tri will be the abbot of the Zen Forest Monastery.
Communities of the USA who follow the teachings of Thich Nhat Hanh. Visitors are welcome to come and spend a relaxing day at BuddhaLand or bring a sleeping bag to camp or stay in a dormitory room at one of the various buildings on the campus. Meals are simple vegetarian and are also free. Reservations for overnight stay is required.
There will be a dedication ceremony for the “Stupa of Enlightenment” from 10 a.m. to noon Sunday, Oct. 7, with lunch provided afterward. The stupa is 25 feet tall and contains 100 volumes of Buddist scriptures and 400 Buddha statues.
The Open House will be from Oct. 6-14 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily. It is “a soft opening,” said Teresa Waller, facilitator of the Flowing River Community of Mindful Living in Madison. The Grand Opening is planned for April 20-28, 2019.

• For more information, visit www.Buddhaland.us  For overnight reservations, call Nam Do at (502) 648-2050 or email him at ndo1947@yahoo.com. Or you may call Kimberly Curran at (502) 494-6509 or email her at kimberlysuecurran@gmail.com. Visitors are advised to get the driving directions from the website.

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