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Bauxite houses a bounty of Buddhist relics

By The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, Dec 10, 2008

Bauxite, AK (USA) -- A highly unlikely place to find 1,000 Buddhist relics, including those of the historical Buddha Shakyamuni, would be at the end of a winding paved and gravel road in the Saline County town of Bauxite.

The relics, pearl-like crystals found in the ashes of Buddhist masters after their cremation, were displayed at the Chua Bat Nha temple, which serves a mostly Vietnamese congregation.

The collection, photographed by Chris Dean in Thursday’s Style section, also includes relics of Buddhist masters from the Chinese, Indian, Korean and Tibetan traditions. Buddhists believe the relics are produced as a result of the master’s spiritual compassion and wisdom and are a reminder of the potential all people have for goodness.

The relics were in Bauxite recently as part of the Heart Shrine Relic Tour, sponsored by the Maitreya Project, a nonprofit group based in northern India. Maitreya, whose name means loving-kindness, is believed to be the future Buddha.

Caroline Vo, a temple member who helped organize the event, estimated that about 1,200 people visited the relics. Vo says she was “deeply moved” by the experience.

Read tomorrow's Arkansas Democrat-Gazette for full details.

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