Dalai Lama's visit to Arlee Buddhist center postponed

By VINCE DEVLIN, The Missoulian, November 14, 2010

Arlee, Montana  (USA) -- Perhaps it is appropriate that things seem to be balancing out, mediawise, at the Garden of 1,000 Buddhas here.

Deb Hicks, media and communications coordinator, has been wrestling with the garden's Facebook page.

Actually, make that plural - there are two pages now, since Facebook won't let her change the name of the first, which has obsolete information in the title.

That title - "Garden of 1000 Buddhas and Dalai Lama in Montana 2011" - was set up when folks here anticipated an unprecedented visit from His Holiness next year to consecrate the elaborate garden.

With the garden's estimated completion now pushed back to next fall, the Dalai Lama isn't expected until 2012 or even 2013.

Which wouldn't pose a problem with the Facebook page, you'd think - just take out the "2011."

But visit the page and you'll find this message:

"Facebook, for reasons known only to them, won't let us change the name here and delete the ‘2011.' "

So Hicks started a new page several days ago, with the same title minus the "2011" - but the original page still has about seven times more followers, almost 3,000, than the new one and she hates the idea of deleting the page entirely and losing all those followers.

Furthermore, she's not sure how many people are being alerted now when she posts news on Facebook.

"It doesn't show up on my news feed, and I'm making the posts," Hicks says. "When we post an event, it's the news feed that generates the most chatting, not when you post on your wall, but some people appear to get them, and some people don't."

She'll leave the original page up through the end of the year, with hopes that the bulk of the nearly 3,000 people who "liked" it in the first place will transfer to the new "Garden of 1000 Buddhas and Dalai Lama in Montana" page by then.

"I just hope we don't lose 1,500 people," Hicks says.