History

arbor
1987: Sacred Arbor is built.
Peace Village Sign
1995: Sunray Peace Village becomes a Land Trust
adawi temple
1998: Adawi Temple is built.

Under the auspices of Dr. Mona Dayton, Ven. Dhyani Ywahoo was invited as a guest lecturer in the Early Childhood Department of Southampton University Long Island to come forth and teach what she learned from her elders.

It is at the university in the spring of 1969 that the teachings forming the basis of Sunray Mediation Society are first publicly shared, and Sunray is founded. Ven. Dhyani began fulfilling the directions and guidance she received from her grandparents, great-grandparents, and other indigenous elders who encouraged her generation, such as Mad Bear Anderson (Tuscorora), Beeman Logan (Seneca), and Rolling Thunder (Tsalagi), to “manifest what they dreamed as an awakening of the ‘fifth generation’ from the imposition of dominating cultures, views, and revisionist history about the origins and wisdom of first nations of Turtle island.” Princess Nowedonah, a Schinnecock educator, encouraged Ven. Dhyani Ywahoo to fulfill the dream of her ancestors, to look beyond all the seeming obstacles of her personal life to manifest this dream, and to acknowledge her ancestry through her dress and the way she walked within her public life.

Sunray’s teachings rapidly spread across New England to many people with luminaries from Native American communities joining in the efforts.

History Timeline

1978: Sunray Meditation Society moves to Hinesburg, Shelburne and then Huntington, Vermont, to test principles of the Cherokee Clan Law and Peace village ideals applied to a multiethnic community united through spiritual practice. The move to Vermont is inspired by the prophecy of Ven. Dhyani’s grandparents. Along with Venerable, the generating team for this effort includes the late Dr. Louise Diamond and Nina Miller. During this period of experimentation and exploration, educational programs, planting ceremonial gardens, meditative dances, and Native American teachings on purification and recognition of the interrelationship of all beings are offered by Charlie Thom with community support. Buddhist teachings also are offered with the blessings of His Holiness Dudjom Rinpoche, Jigdral Yeshe Dorje (1904-1987), and by Ven. Khenchen Palden Sherab Rinpoche (1938-2010) and Ven. Khenpo Tsewang Dongyal Rinpoche, founders of the Padmasambhava Buddhist Center.

1979: Sunray is incorporated in Vermont as a non-profit organization.

1982: Sunray Meditation Society is incorporated as a church and a charitable organization and receives tax-exempt recognition by the U.S. Internal Revenue Service and the Charitable Bureau of the State of Vermont.

1983: His Eminence Changlochen Rinpoche is born to Ven. Khandro Dhyani Ywahoo. (In the Hinayana, Mahayana, Vajrayana and Dzogchen approaches of Buddhism, Bodhisattvas choose to uphold their vows, and through their great compassion, they reappear repeatedly in this world to help all sentient beings.) Changlochen Rinpoche is recognized first by HH Dudjom Rinpoche, who was the supreme head of the Nyingma School of Tibetan Buddhism and the Dudjom lineage of Nyingma Buddhism, and later by His Holiness the 37th Drikung Kyabgön Chetsang Rinpoche, supreme head of the Drikung Kagyu Order of Tibetan Buddhism. HH Dudjom Rinpoche then recognizes Sunray as a Nyingma Dharma Center.

1987: Sunray Meditation Society is gifted Mountain Meadows Campground, a 27-acre piece of pristine Vermont land located in a Vermont mountain valley, and renames it the Sunray Peace Village. The Sacred Arbor and Moon Arbor in the tradition of the Native American peace village, is constructed, and the Cherokee Ceremonial cycle begins to be observed with monthly fires, prayers, and meditation practice.

1992: Changlochen Rinpoche is enthroned (with other recognized tulkus) at Chang Chub Ling in Dehradun, India. (See Enthronement: The Recognition of Reincarnate Masters of Tibet and the Himalayas by Jamgon Kongtrul and Ngawang Zangpo, 1997). Many Tibetans traveled long, arduous journeys to be at his enthronement as he is considered a reincarnation of a great master and a hero for many Tibetan people. Changlochen Rinpoche chooses these days to maintain a mostly private life. He exhibits extraordinary qualities of mind and compassionate heart to those in need, in his ministry, and through his aesthetic expressions of art and music.

Ven. Dhyani Ywahoo publishes her first book, Voices of Our Ancestors, which shared many of the spiritual principles that form the basis of Sunray Meditation Society.

1995: Sunray Peace Village Land Trust incorporates as a Vermont religious and charitable organizational affiliate of Sunray Meditation Society to hold the land transferred to it by Sunray Meditation Society. (In 2016, it becomes recognized as a church auxiliary of Sunray Meditation Society.)

1996: Sunray Peace Village Land Trust file for federal tax-exempt status and are granted 501(c)3 tax-exempt status by the IRS as a church.

HH Chetsang Rinpoche consecrates a site in the Peace Village for the building of a Peace Stupa. This stupa reflects Sunray Meditation Society’s ministry for world peace and peaceful relationships among all people, religions/spiritual paths, and nations.

1998: The Thirteen-sided Adawee Temple is erected at the Peace Village, which is the sacred sanctuary for teachings, classes, meditation and services of Sunray Meditation Society. Reflecting Sunray Meditation Society’s deep commitment to practicing peace, sacred shrines of the major world religions are being established to reflect Sunray’s belief that all of life comes from one source.

2001: The Peace Stupa is built at the Peace Village, representing a sacred place for prayer and contemplation.

2003: The Lotus Labyrinth, one of the oldest contemplative tools known to humankind used for centuries for personal and spiritual growth, is constructed at the eastern edge of the Peace Village near the Ceremonial Arbor. This sacred site is an invitation to many different religions to come to the Peace Village to meditate and make prayers for world peace.

2011: International award-winning documentary, Peace Village, is released, sharing messages from the hearts of indigenous Elders sent to the Earth and generations of people and calling all to remember what peace looks like.

2012: The White Tara Shrine is erected on the Peace Village. Ven. Dhyani Ywahoo publishes the following books: 2012 & Beyond, Learning Cherokee Ways, and 108 Quotations.

2013: The Clan Pole is erected on the Peace Village. Ven. Dhyani Ywahoo begins a new 7-year cycle of Peacekeeper teachings, introducing new online classes.

2015: Sunray hosts the Heart of Compassion–Wisdom in Action Elders Gathering with special guest teacher, HH Chetsang Rinpoche.

2016: Venerable Lama Konchok Sonam, Spiritual Director of the Drikung Meditation Center in Arlington, MA, conducts the auspicious reading of the Prajna Paramita – The Perfection of Wisdom in 8000 Lines, at Sunray’s Temple of the Adawees in the Peace Village.

2017: Major renovations and improvements at Sunray Peace Village: a deep well to supply water to the campground is built; bathhouses and equipment shed renovated; a beautiful new sign is erected at front gate, a gift to the land from a young man as his Eagle Scout project. In addition, the White Tara shrine is refurbished. Thereafter, Ven. Lama Konchok Sonam consecrates a traditional White Tara statue and places it in the shrine.

Peace Stupa
Peace Stupa built at Sunray Peace Village in 2001.
His Holiness the Dalai Lama and Venerable Dhyani
2004: HH the XIV Dalai Lama and the Venerable Dhyani Ywahoo at an interfaith dialogue in Rome hosted by Pope John Paul II and HH the Dalai Lama
Clan Pole
Clan Pole erected at Sunray Peace Village in 2013.