The story of Thomas Merton and the 14th Dalai Lama's friendship is brief yet powerful.
A humble Gesthemani monk travels to Asia in the late 1960's on a quest for broadening
his understanding of spirituality. Over three encounters, these two visionary individuals
from different corners of the world and historically opposing spiritual backgrounds, forged
a deep friendship based on openness and understanding that is honored by the Dalai Lama to this day.
It is with this spirit that the Contemplative Garden is being built as a public touch stone for
what is good and positive. Compassion Park invites us to pause and catch our breath from the hectic
world we live in.
Upon entering from the east stands a twenty-seven foot high monument called a stupa, containing
personal artifacts belonging to renowned compassionate individuals including Thomas Merton and
Mother Teresa. Also housed within will be thousands of personally crafted wishes for world peace, prayers,
mantras and items that represent happiness and wellbeing from all major religions.
A few steps west leads to the limestone and brick 47 foot diameter labyrinth modeled after the world’s
most recognized labyrinth at Chartres Cathedral, France. The design for this labyrinth dates back to
1205 when monks used the labyrinth for contemplation.
The Contemplative Garden will offer an oasis of peace, beauty and nature in the midsts of an urban landscape
on the campus of Spalding University. As one of the first two certified compassionate universities in the
United States, Spalding University has allocated space for the Garden, now dedicated specifically for this purpose.
The Contemplative Garden is seeking individuals and organizations eager to be involved and supportive in the
completion of the Contemplative Garden. This project will be funded solely by private donations. 100% of all
received donations will be applied directly to the construction and maintenance of the park. Please see the CONTRIBUTE
page to support the Garden.
The Contemplative Garden will be completed by April 2020.