FPMT News Around the World
The Jade Buddha for Universal Peace continues its world tour in Thailand. Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra officially opened the Thai showing of the Jade Buddha, which runs June 15 – July 7 at CentralWorld in Bangkok. Organizers are expecting 250,000 to 500,000 people will see the Jade Buddha during this visit to Thailand. To date, more than 5.5 million people have viewed the statue.
The 4.5-ton (4-tonne), 8-foot (2.5-meter) tall statue of Buddha is carved entirely from gemstone quality jade and modeled on the Buddha inside the Mahabodhi Stupa in Bodhgaya, India.
The Jade Buddha’s story itself offers inspiration and wonder. In 2003, then-FPMT board member Ian Green traveled to British Columbia, Canada, and first laid eyes on the gigantic Polar Pride jade boulder that would become the Jade Buddha. He reported what he saw to Lama Zopa Rinpoche who told him to “turn this giant gemstone into a holy object as an offering to the world.”
In a 2011 interview, Green told Mandala, “My goal is that the Jade Buddha will inspire billions of beings in this universe to follow the peaceful path. And that it will leave a legacy of lasting peace wherever it tours in the world.”
The Jade Buddha was completed in late 2008 and began touring the world in March 2009 in Vietnam. Since then, the Buddha has toured Australia, North America and Europe, returning to Asia in 2012.
In May, the Jade Buddha visited Taiwan. Organizers report 80,000 visitors coming to the exhibition, which was hosted by the Chinese Buddhist Temple Association.
From Thailand, the Jade Buddha travels to Sri Lanka and India, visiting Colombo, Kushinagar and wrapping up 2012 in Bodhgaya at the Mahabodi Stupa. Tour organizers hope to bring the Jade Buddha to China in 2013. The statue is scheduled to make return visits to the United States, Vietnam and Australia. Eventually, the Jade Buddha will go to its home at the Great Stupa of Universal Compassion in Bendigo, Australia, where it will be a symbol of peace to inspire the world for millennia to come.
With 158 centers, projects and services around the globe, there is always news on FPMT activities, teachers and events. Mandala hopes to share as many of these timely stories as possible. If you have news you would like to share, please let us know.