Thursday, May 3, 2012

Sometimes You Go to the Temple …

Sometimes the temple comes to you.

We experienced a sort of reverse pilgrimage when the Maitreya Project's Relics Tour visited Humboldt County last weekend. An ecumenical opening ceremony enjoined speakers from various traditions to share the spirit of loving kindness that is promoted by Maitreya Buddhism, and view relics of 40 masters from several Buddhist traditions.

The Maitreya Project seeks to erect a statue of Maitreya Buddha, the Buddha of Loving Kindness who is yet to come, on the site of Gautama Buddha's death. These relics will be installed in the statue when it is complete.

Altar to Matireya Buddha

Tour organizers reverently and meticulously
arrange the relics in cases.

Arcata mayor Michael Winkler welcomes the Relics Tour
and attendees after the relics were arranged. Representatives
from a variety traditions including Hindu, Sufi, Christian, Jewish,
Native American and Buddhist offered thoughts, prayers,
songs and a Balinese dance.

A small statue representing the just-born Buddha
is washed before viewing the relics

Holy water in the bowl beneath the statue is ladled over the statue
in a ritual bath commemorating the birth of the Buddha.
Buddha's birthday, Bushoe, is traditionally celebrated in April.

Maitreya Buddha, altar detail

Lights were dimmed as the general audience viewed the relics

Altar detail

A case containing some of the relics

Read more about the Maitreya Project and the relics tour at http://www.maitreyaproject.org.
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