Friday, June 23, 2017 This Week's Paper

Relics of the Buddha visit Tacoma

A precious collection of sacred relics of the Buddha and many other Buddhist masters is currently touring the world. Next stop: Tacoma, July 27, 28 and 29 at Vietnamese Buddhist Meditation Center, 2625 72nd St. E. Admission is free.

This is a rare opportunity to view these relics, which were found among the cremation ashes of Buddhist masters. They resemble beautiful, pearl-like crystals. Buddhists believe relics embody the master’s spiritual qualities of compassion and wisdom and are deliberately produced by the master at his death.

Visitors often report experiences of inspiration and healing when in the presence of the relics. 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.

The relics are clearly visible inside display cases that encircle a life-size, golden statue of the Maitreya Buddha. Visitors may 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.

According to Buddhist scriptures, Maitreya will be the next Buddha to bring teachings of loving kindness to the world. Eventually, the relics will be enshrined in a 150-foot bronze statue of Maitreya Buddha that is being built in Bodhgaya, in northern India.

“The very name ‘Maitri’, that’s loving-kindness,” said His Holiness the Dalai Lama. “Now in today's world, we really need the promotion of Maitreya, Maitri, loving kindness. So this is a huge project, right from the beginning, I simply admire those concerned people, especially the late Lama Yeshe and Lama Zopa Rinpoche really devoted to making this huge statue, and many followers really putting in effort I really admire and I appreciate.”

An opening ceremony will be held July 27, 6-8 p.m. and the relics will be open for viewing on July 28 from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. and July 29 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.