Hundreds have fun completion of huge Marshalltown Buddha statue | Information, Sports activities, Jobs


More than 1,000 attendees came to the Theravada Dhamma Society of Iowa, a Buddhist temple in Marshalltown, to celebrate the completion of one of the largest Buddha images in the United States.

Families flocked in waves to a huge 5 m high, 12 m² wide Buddha statue on Sunday to take photos, pray and make offerings. After a religious session in the morning, entertainers, including singers and dancers representing different ethnic groups within society, took the stage. More than 30 Buddhist monks from across the state and across the country attended the celebration, with at least one visitor from almost all 50 states in attendance.

The project to complete the picture took more than two years and could not be done without help, said Tay Tun, the liaison officer for the Theravada Dhamma Society of Iowa. Not only was the statue included in the construction, but the picture is accompanied by a waterfall and a bridge.

Needing more resources and manpower while working on the project, Tun reached out to JBS Marshalltown, who provided the right equipment, technology, funds, and free time to see the finished picture.

“We are very happy that JBS is someone we can rely on for the community.” said doing.

More than 20 percent of JBS Marshalltown’s workforce, over 500 people, are part of the Theravada Dhamma Society community in Marshalltown, said Todd Carl, general manager of JBS Marshalltown.

Carl attended the celebration on Sunday and said the Theravada Dhamma Society in Marshalltown is a very important community.

“We have always had a connection with this community, but we are improving this connection day by day and investing in partnerships and people.” said Karl. “We’ll be here to support them in any way we can, like the festival you’re seeing today.”

He said that while JBS Marshalltown is very aware of the Buddhist community that has been present in Marshalltown for at least a decade, he said that the average Marshalltown citizen is likely unaware of its presence.

“I think it’s very important to expose you to what exists.” said Karl. “Once you’re here and you know what this community represents, it’s pretty inspiring to a lot of people.”

Tun said 95 percent of his ward members work at JBS Marshalltown. Many within the community were from Myanmar, including up to nine different ethical groups including the Karen, Chin, Rakhine, Burmese and more.

“It started with one person, one person started working for JBS.” said doing. “When we do something good in our culture and get better in our life, we try to reach more people, so we started one by one.”

Do wants the achievement to be shared not only with members of the local Buddhist community, but with the wider Marshalltown community as well. Anyone can visit the picture at 2942 240th St. at any hour or any day without permission.

“We want to show the community that this is the representation of the Buddhist community here in Marshalltown.” said doing.

He said that regardless of a person’s religious beliefs, the image can be a symbol of strength for the Marshalltown community. He said fewer than 10 people worked to complete the picture.

“It was very emotional for me because we worked so hard” said doing. “We finally made it and it’s so peaceful and happy just to look at it.”

Mayor Joel Greer, speaking at the event, said what he saw on Sunday was phenomenal and he is excited to see how the community grows in the future.

“More people need to know about it and come out and see it.” said Greer. “It shows pride in the community.”

Contact Trevor Babcock at 641-753-6611 or [email protected].

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