Monday, August 12, 2013

The largest collection of Buddhist relics in US

A Maha Stupa housing ancient relics, Ruwanwelimahaseya, Sri Lanka (wiki commons)
The Buddha's tooth and a collection of 10,000 sacred relics (the remnants of the cremation of enlightened individuals) will be shown on August 18, 2013 from 9:30 am-12:00 pm and 1:00-4:00 pm in Rosemead, California (San Gabriel Valley).
Lu Mountain Temple, a "monument to Mahayana Buddhism," in suburban Los Angeles, east of downtown, is putting these precious artifacts on display for the benefit of all. The showing is FREE, and vegetarian food will be available.
BUT JUST WHAT IS A "RELIC"? When the bodies of enlightened sages are cremated, various [anomalies] are found in their ashes. These items, known as relics (Sanskrit, shariras), are small crystals of different colors and textures.
These gem-like substances arise in response to the purity of the sages’ lives (purifying concentration-and-insight) and their monastic lifestyles. They are thought to form out of crystallized bone and other parts of the body.
Buddhist relics date back to the time of the historical Shakyamuni Buddha, the "Sage of the Shakya Clan," who made known the path to enlightenment and thereby freedom from all suffering.

Bodhi lights (Dylan Daniels/
According to Buddhist discourses, or sutras, thousands and thousands of relics remained after the Buddha was cremated, which was over 2,600 years ago. At that time, the Buddha’s relics were divided into eight parts and distributed among some rulers in India and his family of origin outside of India, in the northwest.
A few hundred years later, in the 3rd century B.C.E., Emperor Ashoka collected the majority of the Buddha’s relics and distributed them throughout his empire, enshrining them in great buria-mounds or maha stupas primarily located in South and Central Asia. (At least one set ended up in a lower extraterrestrial world).
Relics encased in ornate crystal containers
Since then the Buddha’s relics, as well as those of his primary disciples, have spread all across Asia, where they have been protected and venerated in temples, pagodas, and monastic complexes for centuries. (Modern sages also contribute relics after their cremations).

In recent years, Buddhist relics have become a topic of fascination in the United States, as they are exhibited throughout the country by groups such as the Tibetan "Maitreya Heart Shrine Relic Tour," which is using the proceeds generated by the tour to build a massive Future-Buddha statue, to be the largest in the world, at the presumed site of the great passing away of the historical Buddha. More

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