Thursday, April 4, 2024

Buddas and Art in Ukiah, California.


When I visited California last fall PortMoresby, a fellow travel blogger, suggested I visit the city of Ukiah, to see The City of 10,000 Buddhas. So I scheduled a trip there during my stay in Santa Rosa.

Ukiah is 60 miles north of Santa Rosa, sitting along the Russian River, and serves as the seat of Mendocino County. Its name comes from Yokaya, the Pomo name for the area, which means “deep valley”. The first Anglo settlers moved into the area in the mid-1850’s, and it quickly became a center for the local agriculture industry, with hops as its primary crop.

The City of Ten-Thousand Buddhas


Waiting for a Ferry in Autumn by Chiu Ying

Lotus by Li Shih-ti

The City of Ten Thousand Buddhas is a Buddhist community and monastery, just outside of Ukiah. It was established in 1976 by the Dharma Realm Buddhist Association, which follows the teaching of Hsuan Hua and the Guiyang School of Chan Buddhism. It consists of 80 acres of buildings and over 400 acres of fields and farmland.


Monastics live on site, and practice an austere life. They eat only one meal each day, and many have renounced ownership of property. Some practice a vow of silence. The monastery runs a vegan restaurant that is open to the public. They also run a boarding school, attracting students from around the world.


The main temple is the Hall of 10,000 Buddhas. It contains a 20-foot statue of AvalokiteĊ›vara, also known as Guanine. The temple is best known because its walls are lined with 10,000 small statues of Buddha, in the likeness of Hsuan Hua.

The Grace Hudson Museum


When you visit Ukiah you should also stop and see the Grace Hudson Museum. Grace Hudson (1865-1937), nee Carpenter, was born in nearby Potter Valley. Her mother was the first white teacher working with the Pomo people and a portrait photographer. Her father was a landscape photographer who documented life in Mendocino County. When she was 14, Grace was sent to study painting at the San Francisco School of Design.


In 1890, Grace married John Hudson, a local doctor. They shared an interest in preserving and recording the culture of the Pomo people, whom they feared were being assimilated into the Anglo world. She began to paint scenes for their daily lives, producing hundreds of pieces over the decades. These include many paintings of “women’s work”, weaving baskets or taking care of children. They make up the main part of the museum’s collection.

My Godson Ro-ba

The Lonesome Hour

Susanna Working on [a] Basket

The museum also hosts special exhibitions. When I visited they hosted Printed and Stitches, which explored the intersection of printmaking and art quilts. 

Forest Refuge by Donna Brown

Turkish Delight by Linda Craighead

Tatra Tassel by Noah Breuer

Unraveled by Rozanne Hermelyn Di Silvestro

Doodle by Susan Gibson Kelly

For lunch I went to Schat’s Bakery and Cafe. The Schat family have been bakers for over 130 years, first in Utrecht, Netherlands, and now in California. In 1991, they opened a bakery in Ukiah, and now produce excellent sandwiches among their other baked goods.

Ukiah is a great place to visit when you are in the Sonoma/Mendocino area. There are interesting places to visit…and don’t forget those Russian River vineyards.


  1. Fascinating information. I learned a great deal. Looks like a place O would like to visit. Great photos. Sonia

  2. Absolutely beautiful photos and such great info.