New England Peace Pagoda
This rare symbol of Eastern philosophy in the West has been created over years of painstaking construction by the local community.
A Peace Pagoda is a special place. Although they are known, duplicated and built by Buddhist communities all over the world, the existence of one in a community speaks to the closeness of its residents to the Buddhist tradition and to the Buddhist community itself within the larger populace.
That’s why the creation of this one in Leverett, Massachusetts is so unique, even as it takes the same form and function as hundreds like it around the globe. Massachusetts, of course, is not known for its Buddhist community nor its tradition of Buddhist icons and temples. But created and welcomed by local Buddhists as well as the community at large, this Peace Pagoda is a symbol of aspiration and hope for peace – one which transcends any single religion or philosophy.
Its Buddhist caretakers claim that this Peace Pagoda is one of the strongest examples of integration and support for such a monument with the larger local community. This communal sense of duty and hope is inspirational to all involved, promoting “a joint vision of peace, non-violence and respect for the sacredness of all life,” according to the local Buddhists.
A Peace Pagoda is about process, not just completing a building. What might have taken a commercial company mere weeks to create has actually been built by the community over the course of years. This slow-burning passion and creation evokes the concentration, respect and awe of both participants and onlookers, as the building slowly, purposefully comes into being. That engagement changes hearts, driving commitment and zeal that otherwise might pass quickly once the structure is built; but because of the slow, deliberate creation, this Peace Pagoda will last years, not only in the physical space, but also in the hearts and minds of those who created it.
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