Buddha Relics exhibition in Kenya changed my soul forever….

EN NOTE: This event happened yonks ago but I didn’t have a chance to blog about it…it was pub in ‘The Star’ the week it took place)

 

Despite being born a Muslim my parents have never dictated my faith. I was always guided on the path they knew but never bound by it, making me love my religion. I still remember when my sister decided to “dabble in Buddhism” as my judgemental aunt referred to her passing interest.

My parents happily let her follow her own path to spirituality and she would always try to explain to me the fundamental principles in her calm, patient way. When I couldn’t understand her she would tell me when it was time I would- at which point I sort of wrote her off as somewhat cuckoo.

So imagine my surprise when I heard that a very special Buddhist relics tour was coming to Kenya. I felt I owed it to her soul to take interest. My friend Kunjan had already been and he wouldn’t stop raving about it, so I begged him to accompany me as it was too daunting for the unbeliever in me!

Kunjan explained to me that there was a reason I was going- and I looked at him like he was barking mad. I couldn’t understand his belief that the proverbial ‘HE’ had called me hence my path there was so easy!

Keeping my prejudice to my mind I decided to take a flying leap into Buddhist spiritualism with my heart and it is the single decision in my life I will forever cherish. We were met immediately by Nisha Manek and her brother Raj Manek from USA who had had a hand in bringing the relics to Kenya.

Nisha explained to me that the ‘Maitreya Project Heart Shrine Relic Tour’ was a collection of more than 1,000 sacred relics of the Buddha and other Buddhist Masters touring the world. These relics after their tour will be enshrined inside the heart of a magnificent Maitreya Buddha statue being built in Kushinagar, India.

Funds collected from the tour will go towards building this magnificent shrine/statue.

Which made me ask- what on earth is a relic and why must I ululate in joy to see this? According to Raj, when a spiritual master cremated, beautiful, pearl or crystal –like objects are found amongst the ashes. The Tibetan call these ringsel. These ringsel are special as they hold the essence of the qualities of the spiritual masters. Their inner purity appears in the form of relics. True spiritual teachers do not generally discuss their own attainments but the relics are physical evidence that the teacher attained qualities of compassion and wisdom before death.

It is believed that your most inner wishes are granted when observing the relics in a respectful manner. And you can bet I had a gazillion! The relics provided a unique opportunity to make a spiritual connection with enlightened beings. These masters deliberately chose to leave these relics behind so that we can create the causes for our own happiness. Just by being in their presence you are bound to feel healed, inspired and at peace.

That’s when I met the Venerable Paula. Paula in my understanding had reached the highest plains of Buddhism and while she wasn’t a master she was highly respected. Paula told me that she was still a Christian but she practiced the Buddhist way of life. She had embraced the core values of Buddhist spiritualism into her life and said I could too without feeling like I was cheating on my own faith.

Paula believed that the reason the relics were in Kenya was to spread peace and love. With the elections on the horizon our country needed all the love it could get as if an individual is loved and happy within it is very difficult for them to commit the atrocious acts we saw committed in 2007.

Then came the actual experience. We began the tour by washing the baby Buddha that represented the baby Buddha in ourselves. And as we washed it we were washing away the negative and asking for our hearts deepest desires.

As we moved around the relics in a clock-wise manner I was deeply moved and truly felt at peace and content. It came to point where I was so awed I couldn’t speak.

Visitors could then participate in a Blessing Ceremony where the relics of the Buddha were gently placed on the crown of the visitor’s head as a personal blessing.

 

At the end it was truly a soul shifting and moving experience, and while I may not have changed faiths, my spirituality grew a bit more diverse and varied.

For more information on the Maitreya Project visit www.maitreyaproject.org.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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