In a world full of chaos and noise, it’s reassuring to know there’s a place to escape with peace and quiet. The tranquility of the grounds at the Peace Pagoda offers a respite in an otherwise crazy, fast-paced society.
Visitors can stroll through the property at their leisure. They can spend time reflecting and enjoying nature in the forests, ponds, and pathways. It sounds so inviting that we thought it was time to look closer at this zen location.
Where Is the New England Peace Pagoda?
Located three miles north of Leverette, the New England Peace Pagoda sits in the deep woods of west-central Massachusetts. Constructed in 1985 by local volunteer workers, it’s one of 80 peace pagodas built around the world and one of only four in the United States.
About the New England Peace Pagoda
Nichidatsu Fujii inspired the Peace Pagoda, which is one of 80 such structures. He built the first pagoda in Japan after the bombing of Nagasaki and Hiroshima. All the pagodas have a mission to inspire all people to come together in peace, regardless of their background or religion.
The site for the one built in Leverett was donated. Over 1,000 locals who volunteered their services painstakingly constructed the building over many years.
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Why Was the Peace Pagoda Built?
Buddist communities built peace pagodas as places for reflection, quiet thought, and tranquility. Yet, the one in Leverett is a bit of an anomaly.
The community donated the land, and of the many volunteers who assisted with construction, most were residents who were not Buddhists.
Who Was Nichidatsu Fujii?
Nichidatsu Fujii was a Japanese Buddhist monk who saw his mission in life to return the Buddist religion to its home of India. At the age of 32, Fujii decided the basic practice he would follow to do this was to beat a hand drum and chant.
He also wanted to inspire others to pursue peace by constructing the first peace pagoda in Japan after the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in World War II. He felt that if people saw a pagoda, it would remind them to practice peace and reject warfare, so he inspired building 80 peace pagodas worldwide.
What Do You Do at the Peace Pagoda?
The property has several buildings you can tour, and a one-and-a-half-mile hiking loop will take you past ponds, up to the top of Jackson Hill and the pagoda, and through quiet, reflective spaces on the land.
Take a picnic lunch with you and enjoy the peace and quiet of the hilltop, away from the busyness of life. There is also a new temple on site that hosts weddings and events of all types.
What Guests Have Said About Visiting the Peace Pagoda
Ken Blanchard of Connecticut had this to say about the Peace Pagoda after a visit: “The first peace pagoda in the United States is definitely worth the short 5-minute walk uphill from the parking area. (Elderly and handicapped are allowed to drive up.) Situated in a serenely beautiful setting, with peace garden and pond and many meditation areas. A wonderful visit for a Summer or Fall day.”
BReigle stated, “Serene location, The Peace Pagoda is wonderful for meditation. Nice moderate walk uphill to get your blood flowing before you get to the top of the hill. Beautiful views, friendly monks. A pleasure to visit.”
And another reviewer enjoyed their trip to the Peace Pagoda, saying, “The Japanese gardens with strands of prayer flags hanging in every direction are lovely to walk through or find a spot to stand or sit at the edge of a pond and just gaze at or meditate. Coming here is to be quiet and appreciate the unique surroundings created by Buddhist Monks and nuns.”
What Is the Annual Walk for a New Spring?
The Annual Walk for a New Spring commences every spring. Monks from the Peace Pagoda walk for several days toward Washington, DC, accompanied by anyone who wishes to join them.
Then, they lobby Congress to demand the dismantling of every nuclear weapon. After vigils, the group heads toward New York City and the United Nations to make their protests known.
Relax Your Mind, Body, and Spirit at the Peace Pagoda in Massachusetts
Sitting on a hilltop surrounded by forests and listening to nature and your thoughts should be a great escape. It provides that destination for anyone willing to make the short trek there.
You can become one of many who find tranquility and calmness on their property. It can give you a renewed sense of quiet assurance before you head back to the daily grind.
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