At the end of a dirt road in rural Mims, Florida (just a few miles north of Titusville) is the last place you would expect to find a Vietnamese monastery. But tucked away on a large plot of land amid farms near Interstate 95 is the White Sands Buddhist Center.
More surprising than the monastery is the sculpture garden, home to the three largest Buddha statues in the state of Florida.
Made from granite in Vietnam and installed beside a man-made pond, the sculptures are awe-inspiring. One in front of the monastery is 35-feet tall, weighs 200 tons and represents Buddha as a young man becoming enlightened. At the far end of the pond on an elevated platform is Buddha in Nirvana. Depicting Buddha in his 80’s at the time of death, the reclining figure is 35-feet long and weighs about 40 tons. The third statue is of Mother Avalokitesvara, the Bodhisattva of compassion and wisdom. She soars 32-feet and weighs more than 60 tons.