Jade Buddha to visit India in November 2012

November 29th, 2011 - 4:32 pm ICT by IANS  

Bodh Gaya New Delhi, Nov 29 (IANS) The Jade Buddha for Universal Peace - sculpted in green jade - is preparing for a symbolic homecoming in India next year.

The fabled icon - which has been touring the world - dominated conversations at the sidelines of a Global Buddhist Congregation in the capital.

The seated Buddha with a smiling face will come to India in the last of leg of the world peace tour in November 2012.

It will come to Kushinagar in Uttar Pradesh where Gautama breathed his last attaining ‘parinirvana’. The local host, Thich Nu Tri Thuan - a Buddhist nun of Vietnamese origin - is excited.

Thuan, who is associated with the Linh Son Vietnam Chinese Buddhist Temple in Kushinagar, is preparing to host a global prayer meet when the Jade Buddha comes to her shrine for a few days.

The Jade Buddha is 2.5 metres high and weighs 4 tonnes. It sits on a 1.4 metre high alabaster throne and is valued at $5 million. The statue is modelled on the Buddha inside the Mahabodhi Stupa in Bodh Gaya.

It was consecrated at the Sydney Entertainment Centre in 2009 - six years after the project began in the US and Canada in 2003. The icon is believed to the biggest icon of Buddha carved from a single block of jade stone.

“The story of Jade Buddha marks a new kind of cycle to carry the faith forward. The green jade icon is travelling around the globe to propagate world peace and to reach out to new segments of people,” Thuan told IANS at the world Buddhist conclave here.

“It is rebirth of Buddha and the icon’s arrival to India marks its homecoming. Jade is a symbol of peace and prosperity - and wherever the jade Buddha goes it is said to usher peace,” she said.

In India, its arrival would renew the karmic connect that Buddhism shares with India - the land of Buddha’s birth and death, the nun said.

Thuan, known as the “unofficial mother Teresa of Kushinagar”, came to India in 1989. She has helped set up 20 schools for poor children in Kushinagar and its adjoining areas in Uttar Pradesh.

The tale of jade Buddha is a story of universality, the essence of modern day Buddhism, the nun said.

“The jade Buddha was carved from a single jade-stone, christened the Polar Pride, mined in Canada. It was sculpted by Australian and Thai jade sculptors in Thailand and its face was designed by a master Thanka painter from Nepal. The stone was a mystical find,” Thuan said.

The myths surrounding the jade icon vary. Witnesses say “strange mandala lights appear to surround the Buddha when it is photographed” while others believe that a “Buddhist lama was blessed with a divine vision of the icon and the location of the stone”.

According to the jade Buddha fact sheet by the Great Stupa of Universal Compassion in Australia, the final resting place of the icon, the project began in 2003 when American Buddhist practitioner Ian Green received a call from a jeweller in California, Cheyenne Sun Hill, who said “he was Buddhist and he was looking for a temple to build a jade Buddha from the polar pride”.

Green spoke to his spiritual master Lama Zopa Rinpoche, who divined that the “jade Buddha will illuminate the world”.

The Jade Buddha which travelled across Europe this year will come to Asia in 2012.

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