Buddhist relics coming to Summit County
FRISCO – On Monday, Frisco will be host to a rare event – the Heart Shrine Tour.
The remains of 15 Buddhist masters – considered sacred relics – are “touring” the world for viewing by Buddhist and non-Buddhists alike.
“The Dalai Lama requested they go around the world one time,” said Venerable Michael Gregory, a teacher of Buddhist philosophy and meditation in Summit County.
For many, this might be a once-in-a-lifetime event, he said, as it’s rare the relics leave their native countries and are on public display. Some of the relics are thousands of years old.
Gregory said even the Dalai Lama has loaned some of his own relics for the tour.
“It’s just pretty extraordinary,” Gregory said of the tour. “(There are) over 750 million Buddhists worldwide. These are their leaders, and that they’re coming through our little community is just overwhelming.”
For Buddhists, viewing the relics of their masters is as important as Christians having the opportunity to see Christ’s remains, Gregory said.
And, he said, it’s equally interesting for non-Buddhists, because it’s of great cultural and spiritual interest, and historical significance.
According to Gregory, enlightened ones, such as these Buddhist masters, “leave some extraordinary remains. They look like little white crystallines or pearls and it … denotes a really holy being.”
The relics will be shown in Frisco on Monday, May 20, in Fairplay on Wednesday, May 22, and in Vail on Thursday, May 23.
In Frisco and Vail, there also will be a meditation and a blessing ceremony. Gregory said he will introduce newcomers and non-Buddhists to Buddhist meditation.
In Fairplay, more than 50 people have signed up for the Great Refuge Ceremony, which Gregory likened to Christian confirmation ceremonies.
“People who take refuge are making a commitment to Buddhism for the rest of their life,” he said. Usually only 10 to 12 people participate in refuge ceremonies, “so this is really rather extraordinary.”
When the Heart Shrine Tour is complete, the relics will be permanently housed in the Maitreya Project Monument in India.
The Maitreya monument will be the world’s largest statue, of the Buddhist yet-to-come, Gregory said. The statue is to be built in one of the poorest states in India, near the site where the historical Buddha became enlightened, and where Buddhists predict the next Buddha – Maitreya – will become enlightened as well.
Gregory said the statue will be approximately four times the size of the Statue of Liberty and has been designed to last at least 1,000 years.
Visitors to the Heart Shrine Tour are invited to make donations toward the Maitreya project if they wish, Gregory said.
Lu Snyder can be reached at 970-668-3998 x203 or email@example.com
– Monday, May 20, from 6-8 p.m., at the County Commons
– Viewing, and optional meditation and blessing ceremony)
– Wednesday, May 22, from 6:30-8:30 p.m., at the Summit Dharma Retreat House
– Viewing and optional Great Refuge Ceremony
– Thursday, May 23. Place and time to be announced.
– Viewing and optional meditation and blessing ceremony
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