By Doko Christopher O’Brien
A collection of relics of Shakyamuni Buddha and many other Buddhist masters is touring the world. This is known as the Maitreya Heart Shrine Relic Tour. The tour began in March 2001 and has visited many places all around the world. All the relics are clearly displayed for visitors to see. Most visitors received a blessing after viewing the relics. The Buddha’s relics, contained in a small stupa, are placed on the heads of those who would like a personal blessing. Lama Zopa collected the relics over many years. He is the spiritual founder of the tour. Eventually the relics will be deposited in a 150 ft bronze statue of Maitreya Buddha, which is to built in Bodhgaya, northern India.
The Denver Zen Center hosted the relics tour’s stop in Denver. The opening ceremony was on the evening of Friday August 23rd and featured talks from several key speakers including several staff members and teachers from Naropa College. The subject of the talks was Mothers and loving kindness.
We were very grateful to serve during the exhibit by guarding the relics on the last day of the event, Sunday the 25th. Buddhists from different traditions as well as many people from non-Buddhist lineages were in attendance. All said and done over 2300 people made the pilgrimage to be in the presence of the relics and to receive the blessing while they were here in Denver.
Our oldest son enjoyed viewing the relics. He captured most of the images you see here with Mom’s camera. Our younger son liked receiving the blessing most of all. We made four visits to the exhibit over the weekend that it was here in Denver and I believe he received a blessing every single time. The part that really stuck with me was seeing the visitors experiencing it all. I was moved by the reverence and the devotion to the Buddha and the other Buddhist masters they came to venerate. Rev. Senshin’s favorite part of the experience was working alongside the ordained practitioners from other traditions. When we returned home after the opening ceremony she cut off her long hair and shaved her head as an act of devotion to Buddha.
Here is a link to the tour if you would like more information about the relics. There is a calendar with dates and locations of where the exhibit is going. It is definitely recommended.
The Maitreya Heart Shrine Relic Tour
Doko and Senshin