Buddhists gather in Old Saybrook

by Tina Detelj, WTNH, Aug 6, 2007

Old Saybrook, Connecticut (USA) -- A beacon of peace sits nestled in an Old Saybrook farm drawing in Buddhists from the area.

David Brown erected a stupa in the middle of a hay field on his Old Saybrook farm. The white monument is a testament to peace, harmony and healing. Brown spent several years in Nepal and India and says that Buddhism has now spread in Connecticut.

"Fifteen-years ago we had on Tibetan in Connecticut, now we have 100 in Old Saybrook," said Brown.

Jampa Tsondue was one of the first to move to Old Saybrook 15-years ago. He painted the snow lions decorating the stupa. He and his wife often come to the monument and recite their mantras. Until now, they would have had to travel to Middletown or Boston to find a Buddhist center.

"Anything like this close to your town is very good," said Jampa. "I like the idea very much because it brings the Tibetan community closer together."

As the Tibetan community grows in Old Saybrook, the stupa helps to educate people about the Buddhist religion. In the center of the stupa, a life tree has been placed. The life tree is a cedar pole taken from a nearby land with prayers written on it in silver and gold ink.

"It's the energizing force for the stupa but it's completely hidden inside," explained Brown.

And since peace is a big part of Buddhism, a gun, knife and spear point are buried underneath the stupa.