Maitreya Buddha Statue, Kushinagar: The department of culture will exhibit, later this year in Bhutan, ancient sacred Buddhist relics that are meant for the heart shrine of the 500ft tall bronze statue of Maitreya Buddha to be constructed in Kushinagar, India.
Chief cultural property officer, Tshewang Gyalpo, said the relics’ exhibition was scheduled for October 15 to November 15, and would travel to western, central, eastern and southern parts of the country for the people’s convenience.
“The relics are collected by the spiritual director of the Maitreya Project, lama Zopa rinpoche, from around the world,” he said.
Most relics are of the Buddha and other Buddhist masters, and include relics, such as the hair of great rinpoches, blood relics from Meiktila in Burma, head relics of Shakyamuni Buddha, and relics of Shariputra and Maudgalyayana.
One of the relics collected by lama Zopa is a ninth century letter written to Guru Rinpoche by his tantric consort Yeshe Tshogyel on a banana leaf and paper in Tibetan.
Tshewang Gyalpo said, the programme to display the relics was planned, after a member from the project suggested to display the sacred relics in Bhutan, as it was a Buddhist country. “Given the huge number of relics, only the selected ones will be brought for display to the public,” he said.
The relics are currently being displayed in America and Europe in two groups. The relics will travel the world inspiring faith, giving hope, sharing blessings, spreading kindness and bringing communities together until the statue is completed. Work on the project had started since 2005.
Buddhist spiritual leaders from around the world have donated relics to the collection, specifically for placing in the Heart Shrine of the Maitreya statue. His Holiness the Dalai Lama has also contributed, according to the project’s brochure.
“Since the relics are very sacred, it will be a rare chance for the Bhutanese to receive blessings,” Tshewang Gyalpo said.
By Tashi Tenzin