By Tiffany Ran
Northwest Asian Weekly
A collection of sacred relics which drew a crowd of 2,000 visitors in Tacoma made another stop in Seattle from Aug. 3 to Aug. 5 as part of its world tour.
The project, affiliated with the Dalai Lama, features sacred relics, pearl-like crystals, found in the cremation ashes of Buddhist masters.
Organizers say that the relics include crystals from the cremation ash of Buddha’s disciples, as many as 30 Buddhist masters. Half of the collection was salvaged from Tibet. Tour organizers said they have seen audiences experience a wide range of reactions to seeing the relics, from fainting or cathartic weeping to feeling a sense of peace and love.
“Because these are holy objects, most of the visitors have the experience of [obtaining] peace of mind, great loving kindness in their hearts.
It really opens their hearts. I remember when I was in Africa in Nairobi, one of the ladies said, ‘I had such a strong emotion, such peace of mind and loving kindness, and I have been looking for this emotion for my whole life.’ This was the first time that she really felt that emotion,’” said Dana Lissy, Maitreya Heart Shrine Relic Tour manager.
At Seattle’s Chua Van Hoa Temple, visitors peered into display cases encircling a life-size golden statue of the Maitreya Buddha. Some visitors asked to participate in a blessing ceremony using the relics of the Buddha. The ceremony is very powerful, Lissy said.
“I personally witnessed one man in Israel, he had suffered pain for years. He received blessings. What the blessings mean is that we take the relics and we put it delicately on the crown of his head and he told me personally that just a few minutes after he received the blessing that his pain was cured,” said Lissy.
Visitors look to the Buddhist scriptures, which dictate that Maitreya will be the next Buddha to bring teachings of kindness into the world.
The relics, which for thousands of years were hidden in Buddhist temples and shrines in Asia, have made its way around the world to 65 countries for the last 11 years, drawing more than 1.6 million visitors.
Tour organizers said that the purpose of the tour is to spread the inspiration gained from seeing these relics to different corners of the globe.
The traveling relics have also helped publicize and fund a large Buddha construction project, a 150-foot statue of Maitreya Buddha in northern India, where the relics will eventually be held. (end)
Tiffany Ran can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.