Friday, April 15, 2011
For two years, the "Jade Buddha for Universal Peace" has made stops in major cities across North America and Europe. On Friday, it made a stop in Wichita.
"It's really something that's special. This is something that symbolizes world peace," said Wichita Mayor Carl Brewer.
Brewer joined more than a hundred Buddhists at the Phap Hoa Temple. He encouraged people to visit the giant jade carving of Buddha, that's making one stop in Kansas and set to leave on April 19.
"I encourage them to come here, get an opportunity to see this," said Brewer. "It'll be a once in a lifetime. I can assure you that if you don't see it now, you won't see it again later."
The 10 foot tall, 8,800 pound statue was made from a jade stone in Canada and carved into the seated Buddha in Thailand. It's been on a world tour since 2009, with many people traveling from across the U.S. to view it.
"There's people from out of state. I heard from Utah, Arkansas, Missouri, Nebraska. They're on their way here so tomorrow will be a lot more people," said Cuong Truong, a member of the temple.
The traveling Buddha statue hopes to inspire people to find peace in their home, work, community, and world. Organizers said they felt lucky to host the statue.
"Wichita is not as big as others in the world but we had the opportunity to get it. It is like lottery! Yeah, I have the jade Buddha," said Anh Tran, a volunteer of the temple.
The ceremony was complete with lion dancers and Buddhist traditions. It showed a glimpse of the strong Vietnamese presence in the community.
"I found this to be educational. So, I'm honored to have something like that, of that nature in our city," said Brewer.
The statue will make its next stop in Chicago, while its final destination will be in Australia.