Rare Display of Historical Buddha Relics Makes Visit to Haymarket

A young girl visits sacred bathing waters offered in Beausoleil, France as part of the relics' worldwide tour. (Photo used with permission from the Maitreya Heart Shrine Relic Tour)

A worldwide public exhibit of ancient and sacred relics of the historical Buddha Shakyamuni and other great Buddhist masters from India, Tibet, Korea and China will be on display for ten days in Haymarket.

An opening ceremony will be held at the Auspicious Cloud Monastery at 2101 James Highway, Haymarket, to introduce the relics to the community, Friday, Oct. 11 from 6-8 p.m. After that ceremony, the relics will remain on display until Oct. 19. During that time, visitors can view the relics from 10 a.m. until 7 p.m. each day. The event is free to attend.

“This is a rare opportunity to view these sacred relics which were found among the cremation ashes of these Buddhist masters,” said Michael Fouts with the Maitreya Heart Shrine Relic Tour. “They resemble beautiful, pearl-like crystals that Tibetans call ‘ringsel.’ Buddhists believe relics embody the master’s spiritual qualities of compassion and wisdom and are deliberately produced by the master at his death.”

According to Maitreya Heart Shrine Relic Tour, His Holiness, the Dalai Lama, has graciously offered to this collection, eight relics of the Buddha that are over 2,500 years old. Each of these eight relics were rescued from Tibet in 1959 by His Holiness, after the invasion of China.

The tour also features relics from over 40 other Buddhist masters from different parts of the world, and there are 1,000 relics in all.

Visitors who attend the opening ceremony may also participate in a blessing ceremony where the relics of the Buddha are gently placed on the crown of the visitor’s head as a personal blessing.

“Visitors often report experiences of inspiration and healing when in the presence of the relics,” Fout said. “While some are inspired to pray for world peace and to develop their inner wisdom, others are overcome by emotion as the powerful effects of the relics open their hearts to compassion and loving-kindness.”

An overview of the relics as they were displayed in Basel, Switzerland in 2011. (Photo use with permission of the Maitreya Heart Shrine Relic Tour)

Eyewitness testimony explains the energy of the relics.

“I was skeptical going into it, but I’m a curious person and kept an open mind. I left there amazed. It’s hard to put into words, but the energy was very powerful. My friend who was with me and who doesn’t believe in anything, was blown away,” Ben Easter, Des Moines relic event visitor.

Relic Tour Manager Amanda Russell says she has been consistently moved by what people tell her about their experiences encountering the relics.

“Nearly everyone reports some kind of change or shift, whether it is releasing physical or emotional pain or experiencing a profound sense of peace.

About the Tour

The tour was created in 2001 by the modern day Buddhist master Lama Zopa Rinpoche. Lama Zopa was born in Nepal and remains the spiritual director of the tour to this day. The tour has visited 67 countries and over 1.8 million people have visited the relics.

A young visitor receives a Buddhist blessing in Alice Springs, Australia, in 2012. (Photo used with permission from the Maitreya Heart Shrine Relic Tour)

This is a non-sectarian event and is intended for all walks of life and faith to learn about and experience these historical relics.

The relics are clearly visible inside display cases that encircle a life-size, golden statue of the Maitreya Buddha. According to Buddhist scriptures, Maitreya will be the next Buddha to bring teachings of loving-kindness to the world. Eventually, some of the relics will be enshrined in a 150-ft/45-m bronze statue of Maitreya Buddha that is being built in Bodhgaya, northern India.

“The very name ‘Maitri’, that’s loving-kindness. Now in today’s world, we really need the promotion of Maitreya, Maitri, loving-kindness.”

– His Holiness the Dalai Lama


© 2013, Bristow Beat. All rights reserved.

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