BLOOMINGTON, Ind. (AP) _ A 21,000-square-foot Tibetan Buddhist monastery is scheduled to open north of Bloomington this weekend after two years of construction.

The multimillion-dollar Gaden KhachoeShing Buddhist Monastery is set to hold grand opening ceremonies on Saturday. Festivities include a ribbon cutting and multicultural concert featuring local artists and musicians from Tibet, Mongolia and Nepal.

Jamyang Lama, one of the resident monks and translators, told The Herald-Times the new monastery will be a great asset for a community already known for its diversity. He calls it a “hybrid monastery” because it was built with sustainability in mind and is a certified green building. Being environmentally conscious fits into Buddhist teachings, he said.

A man-made waterfall and pond next to the monastery were created as part of a low-flow irrigation system. Rainwater collected on the monastery roof flows to the pond and back again and is used to water gardens.

“We truly believe in interdependence of everything,” Jamyang Lama said. “We as human beings, to survive, depend on an environment to protect us.”

The monastery itself houses a large meditation room, two smaller worship rooms, a kitchen, a dining hall and lodging for visiting monks to live and teach. It is one of the largest monasteries in the Western Hemisphere, according to Jamyang Lama.

The “Hoosier monks,” as they call themselves, have been in Bloomington for nearly 20 years, he said. The monastery was founded in 2007.

“We have so much chaos, everybody has so much hustle and bustle in their lives, a lot of problems, mental, emotion problems, family problems, world problems, all kinds of problems,” Jamyang Lama said. “They all need a place where they can go and kind of leave all the suffering of their mind and focus on something positive and reinforce the positive and become a better human being. Our goal is to contribute to becoming better human beings in our society.”

The new monastery sits on 128 acres.



Information from: The Herald Times,