In September, 2005, my son Zach and I went, along with several hundred other people, to Sun Valley to see and listen to the Dalai Lama. It was a great adventure. On a beautiful, early fall day, travel coaches carried everyone who signed up for the event from Boise, three hours northeast, to the beautiful Wood River Valley. People were positive, curious, excited, and respectful (plenty were happy simply to have the day off from work or school), so the crowds moved easily and people treated each other well.
We arrived at the Wood River High School and were directed onto the ball field in back, bordered on one side by Aspen covered hills that created a natural amphitheatre. We were given water bottles and pretty, white, silk prayer scarves and then after our three hour drive, we waited for an hour on the lawn.
But while we waited we met and talked to the people around us—locals, students and parents who had traveled like we had, practicing Buddhists, and people on vacation. After an hour of visiting and then listening to an assortment of musical performers and other speakers I can’t even remember, we listened to His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama address the crowd for 15 minutes about how one person can change the world.
I don’t know if my ambitions will change the world, but something I enjoy doing to remind myself to look within, and to be mindful, is visiting the Prayer Wheel the Dalai Lama gave to the citizens of Sun Valley. I always make sure to stop at the Sawtooth BotanicalGarden and visit the Prayer Wheel when I’m there.
This is one of only two prayer wheels, a symbol of compassion and peace, to be blessed by the Dalai Lama in North America. He consecrated and blessed it during a private ceremony on September 13, 2005–sometime close to when we listened to him speak.
His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama visited Sun Valley in September, 2005, to address the community with a Buddhist Healing Address in honor of the victims of 911. He gifted to the people of Idaho a 400 pound hand-carved Tibetan Prayer Wheel. The Prayer Wheel was created by Buddhist Monks in Dharamsala, India, the seat of the Tibetan exile in government.When the Prayer Wheel was finished, the piece was so large that the monks could not move it out of the building’s door. They received assistance to lower it out of a second story window and into the crate in which it was transported. During air transport the Prayer Wheel was unintentionally diverted to London on the same day subway bombings occurred. The Dalai Lama believes this was intentional; that the wheel was meant to be there for the people of London on such a tragic day. The Prayer Wheel then made its way to Sun Valley where it was housed in the Garden of Infinite Compassion at the Sawtooth Botanical Garden for community members and visitors alike to participate in the message of peace and harmony.