Travel Vancouver Island, British Columbia & Beyond

Thu Sep 22 2011 20:17:24 GMT–0700 (Pacific Daylight Time).

Jade Buddha Comes to Aldergrove, B.C.  by Margot B

 

Buddha Comes to Aldergrove, B.C.

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by Margot B

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Buddha

Jade Buddha

The Jade Buddha for Universal Peace was unveiled in the courtyard of Aldergrove’s Hoa Nghiem Monastery at 2623 &&8211; 272 Street on Sunday as part of its ongoing world tour that began last year in Vietnam.. Aldergrove is expecting many thousands to view the Buddha this summer at their new temple for display until Aug. 15. Vuu said that the Jade Buddha’s visit coincides with the dedication of the new temple and that, “other religious leaders will be invited — Catholics, Muslims, everyone — to pray with us for universal peace”. The Jade Buddha tour has already attracted millions of pilgrims.

Buddha

Buddha

Green said the statue’s time at Aldergrove’s monastery is particularly important, as it is the only stop on its current tour in B.C., the province in which it originated. This location is the former Aldergrove United Church, which the Hoa Nghiem Temple purchased in December, the same month it was put up for sale. The new owners took possession of the 500–person capacity facility on July 1. The United Church congregation numbers have dwindled over the years but intend to find a new, smaller sanctuary for their services in this community. Hoa Nghiem spokesman, Tony Vuu, told The Star newspaper they will be selling their current location in Burnaby because, ‘Aldergrove is a better location for us. We have more Vietnamese farmers and farm workers in the valley’.

After its stay in Aldergrove, the jade Buddha is headed to Seattle and then to California and will visit more American cities in 2011, then travel to Europe. Green said ‘I think it will tour for another five or six years at least’, ‘By then it will really fulfill Lama Zopa’s vision of illuminating the world’ — and ends  when it is placed at  Great Stupa of Universal Compassion near Bendigo, Australia.

Jade Buddha in Hoa Nghiem Monastery Courtyard

Jade Buddha for Universal Peace

The four-tonne statue, 2.7 metres in height, valued at approximately $5 million, is the largest Buddha carved from gemstone quality jade in the world, a gemstone named  ‘Polar Pride’. It was carved from the largest single piece of translucent nephrite jade ever found.  It was discovered by a south Surrey mining company, South Surrey’s Jade West Company, in northern B.C., in 2000 and purchased by an American benefactor in 2003,  carved in Thailand.  The carving work was done  by Thai and Australian craftsmen, and took nearly five years to complete. It was commissioned by Lama Zopa Rinpoche.

The design is based on the Buddha inside the Mahabodhi Stupa in Bodh Gaya in India, and was chosen because it is recognized by more Buddhists than any other design. It was completed in December 2008 and  blessed by Venerable Krubar Boon Chon Yamsunkhvaro in an event attended by l00,000 people on the Thailand–Cambodian border. It then toured Vietnam for three months in March 2009, travelling throughout Australia for half a year, and consecrated in Australia in December 2009 by the Dalai Lama. It spent most of 2010 touring the U.S.

In the first year of its travels around the world, over 4.5 million people have come to see it, said Ian Green, chairman and director of The Great Stupa of Universal Compassion in Australia, which commissioned the statue and organizes its touring.

‘Many in the West don’t know much about Buddhism other than they see Brad Pitt with the Dalai Lama. We don’t have a dogma; we just want to help people practice to live their lives better, to meditate, so everyone feels the same as we do, and that is happier’.

Lama Zopa said the tour ‘will illuminate the world and bring inconceivable peace and happiness and help prevent the destruction that is happening in so much in the world, including war’.

Margot, Buddhist Temple, August 13, 2011
Buddhist Temple
Aldergrove, B.C., Canada

 

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