The last day of the Thai retreat included a trip to the Buddhamonthon (Buddhist Mandala), a park devoted to Buddhism and a gift of the king to his subjects. It was dedicated in 1957 to commemorate the birthday of Shakyamuni Buddha who was born approximately 2,500 years earlier. The entrance is graced with the beautiful 57 foot statue shown above and believed to be the tallest free standing statue of Shakyamuni Buddha in the world. It is a popular place for “Liberating the Animals (fish release)” ceremonies as the fish and other animals are very well protected. Many other disciples from nearby Dharma Centers joined the group and brought even more fish to be liberated. After the ceremony at Buddhamonthon, most of those attending the retreat enjoyed a vegetarian feast in downtown Bangkok and toured several of the most famous temples there. Click for more photos. Click for news article on non-humans paying homage to H.H. Dorje Chang Buddha III at this site in November 1999.