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Holy Relics on display in Melbourne

by Ian Green, (Source: Chorten, August 2008), The Buddhist Channel, Sept 18, 2008

Melbourne, Australia -- Melbourne will be blessed by a tour of one of the world’s largest collections of sacred Buddhist relics. Several thousands Buddhists are expected to view and venerate these relics which are said to provide a blessing to each city they visit.

The Great Stupa Holy Relic Tour Melbourne 2008 will held at Quang Duc Temple, 105 Lynch Road, Fawkner. It will be open daily from October 11 to 19 and entry is free.

The relic tour at Quang Duc temple will commence with a magnificent multi-tradition ceremony on the morning of Saturday October 11. The ceremony will commence when around 100 ordained monks and nuns along with guests of honour take part in a spectacular procession to escort the holy relics into the temple. Members of the public are most welcome to attend the ceremony which will be followed by a vegetarian lunch.

The relics are on loan from the Great Stupa of Universal Compassion that is being built in Bendigo. Around 100 individual relics will be on display including those of Shakyamuni Buddha, Kasyapa Buddha, 16 Arhants, Shariputra, the 5th and 13th Dalai Lama, and masters from the Thai, Vietnamese, Chinese and Tibetan traditions.

Many of the relics date from the time of the Buddha, however others in the collection have only recently manifested. In fact several relics in the Great Stupa Holy Relic collection have been produced in recent years. For example Luang Poo Chob, a forest monk from Thailand and Geshe Lama Konchog from Nepal, whose heart relic is included in the tour, passed away in 2001.

This relic tour has already been viewed by tens of thousands in Singapore, Kuala Lumpur, Auckland, Sydney, Brisbane, Perth and Adelaide. It is the wish of the organisers that in each city the Great Stupa Holy Relic Tour will be the cause of harmony and unification between Buddhist groups and all religions.

The holy relics will coincide with a festival of Buddhism that is being held at Quang Duc temple. Other events will include daily Buddhist talks and chanting from many different traditions as well as screenings of various Buddhist films. Attendance at all these events is free of charge. Updated information on the Buddhist Relics events at Quang Duc temple can be found on the Quang Duc website: www.quangduc.com and the Great Stupa website: www.stupa.org.au

BACKGROUND INFORMATION

Sacred relics of the Buddha Relics arise due to the purity of the spiritual master’s mind. Small, crystalline, pearl-like deposits called ringsel appear within the ashes when the body is cremated. From the time of the Buddha these relics have been objects of veneration. Buddhists believe that by paying respect to relics they purify their minds, collect positive merit and create the causes to achieve liberation and enlightenment.

Shortly after his passing, the Buddha instructed his students to cremate his body and place his relics in a stupa. People could visit the stupa, venerate it and renew their connections with the teachings. Since that time hundreds of thousands of stupas have built, commemorating great teachers and symbolising the brilliance of the enlightened mind.

In the “Lion’s Roar of Maitreya” Sutra, the Buddha said; “Whether you make offerings to me now or in the future you make offerings to my relics the merit will be the same the ripened result will be the same.”

Kyabje Lama Zopa Rinpoche has said that "Viewing and venerating these holy objects creates the cause for enlightenment"

Relics on tour to Melbourne

Relics being toured to Melbourne include Shakyamuni Buddha, Buddha Kasyapa, Moggalana, Shariputra, 16 arhants, Lama Je Tsong Khapa, His Holiness 5th Dalai Lama, His Holiness 13th Dalai Lama, Phra Sivali, Luang Poo Choop, Thai arhants, relics from the Sakya tradition, Atisha, Dromtonpa, holy objects from the Gyantse stupa, Venerable Pai Sheng, Master Ven. Shih Siew Chin, Venerable Thich Huyen Vi, Guru Rinpoche, His Holiness 16th karmarpa, Lama Thubten Yeshe, Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche, Geshe Lama Konchog and Ribur Rinpoche.

Quang Duc Buddhist Monastery

The Quang Duc Buddhist Welfare Association was established in 1990 in a small three-roomed house at 30 Bamburg St, Broadmeadows in the northern suburbs of the City of Melbourne. The house was used for worship, religious education and many various Buddhist activities. As time went by, and as the Buddhist community grew, Venerable Thich Tam Phuong had to find a new place for a temple which would meet the needs of the Buddhist community of the northern suburban region.

The Great Stupa - a powerful force for world peace

The Great Stupa of Universal Compassion is being built near Bendigo in southern Australia.

It will be the same size and design as the Great Stupa of Gyantse that was built in Tibet in the 15th century. Being 50 metres square at it's base and rising to a height of nearly 50 metres the Great Stupa will be the largest stupa in the western world.
The Great Stupa of Universal Compassion will be a symbol of peace in the world. It will also be place of pilgrimage for Buddhists of all traditions.  Located next to the Stupa are a meditation centre and a monastery.

"This stupa will be very significant for Buddhist Spirituality and Tibetan culture. Support for such noble work is a good method to create virtuous Karma." His Holiness Dalai Lama

"It will give so much peace, so much peace of mind to people all over the world. It will purify the mind so that people get inner peace." Lama Thubten Zopa (Spiritual Director FPMT)

About Stupas

A stupa is a sacred symbol of Enlightenment and the path to Enlightenment that promotes harmony and peace within our world. As Lama Zopa Rinpoche said "Just seeing, touching or even dreaming about such a great stupa can be the cause for Enlightenment." As His Holiness Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche said "A stupa creates a lightning rod for the blessings of your guru, and for the blessings of the Buddha's of the 10 directions and the three times to descend."

Stupas are often a repository for the relics of great saints and teachers. To a Buddhist such relics give immense power to a stupa because the essence of the teacher's wisdom is distilled into their relics.

The word "stupa" is Sanskrit for "to heap" and this refers to the mound like shape of the earliest stupas. Stupas were first built in pre-Buddhist times as burial mounds raised over the graves of Asian kings.

Shortly after his passing, the Buddha instructed his students to cremate his body and place his remains in a stupa. People could visit the stupa, venerate it and renew their connections with the teachings. Since that time hundreds of thousands of stupas have built, commemorating great teachers and symbolising the brilliance of the enlightened mind.



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