Liberating the Soul in Ukiah, California
What happens when you mix a mental hospital and a monastery? In the case of the City of 10,000 Buddhas, “an international center for the study of Buddhism and spiritual cultivation.” Located on the grounds of the former Mendocino State Hospital near Ukiah, the Dharma Realm Buddhist Association has created one of the largest Chinese Buddhist communities in the western hemisphere. Park, sign, in and then wander at your leisure. A quiet reading room invites meditation. Outside, free roaming peacocks spread their tails and shriek love songs to disinterested peahens. Saffron robed monks glide by abandoned basketball courts and in the vast organic gardens, composted grapes smell like red wine. The one-time hospital gymnasium is now the Jeweled Hall populated by the storied 10,000 Buddhas, which line the walls from floor to ceiling. Hungry? The Jyun Kang Vegetarian is delicious and well-priced, but beware: it's open only noon to three, closed Tuesdays.