The Buddha House is the first building of the Peace Mandala Project, the vision of Lama Dawa Chhodak Rinpoche to help answer the challenges of war, ecological imbalance, and the health crises that beset our modern age.
The beautiful Burmese statue is a seated figure of Shakyamuni Buddha approximately seven feet tall, carved out of wood and decorated with semi-precious stones. After a typhoon destroyed its original temple in Burma, villagers asked a dealer to rescue the statue. It was shipped to the United States and sat in storage until Saraswati Bhawan bought it and built its new home. The Buddha House itself was designed by Lama Dawa Rinpoche’s brother, Pema Dorje Rinpoche, and built by Wild Rose Timberworks of Decorah, Iowa, and Mauss Home Improvement of Lansing, Iowa.
The Story of Mighty
Once upon a time, there was a small village far, far away. In the middle of the village was a temple with a beautiful wooden statue of Buddha. Every day people would come to the temple to pray and sit in silence with the Buddha. The Buddha had sat there for a long, long time – so long, that no one could remember when the Buddha first came.
One day, a big typhoon came and destroyed the village and the temple. The people in the village all ran away, leaving the Buddha alone in the temple. The temple roof had fallen in on the Buddha’s head and rain and wind blew into the building.
Then one day a man from a foreign land came to the village. He had come as a merchant to bring statues and wares and beautiful things back to his country. But he saw the village had been destroyed. He found some of the villagers nearby and they asked the man to please take their Buddha back with him. Their temple was destroyed and they had no way to fix it and they wanted their Buddha to be out of the rain and the wind. So the man agreed and brought the Buddha back to his country. The Buddha was put on a big ship and went on a journey across the ocean to the other side of the world.
The Buddha stayed with the man for many years in his warehouse. He sat on a wheeled dolly and they named him ‘Mighty.’ Mighty watched over the man and his workers in his business until one day, the man needed to sell his business. He wanted to find a good home for Mighty, so he put him up for sale.
Some people in Iowa saw a picture of Mighty and wanted to bring him back to Iowa to watch over their new Dharma center. So they bought Mighty from the man and Mighty went on a big truck all the way to Northeast Iowa. Mighty spent cold winter months in a storage barn while the people decided what to do.
The people made a plan to build a special temple for Mighty the Buddha. They choose the perfect site on property overlooking the Mississippi river. The Temple would be placed at the entryway and would greet visitors as they arrived.