"I have seen thousands of people transformed by the presence of these relics. I have felt them transform my own mind. ... They emit some sort of transmission that can make a person open to their hearts and to the hearts of others. I don’t know how, but the relics seem to connect people to the enlightened experience, what we call Buddha’s blessings."
Thus saith Paula Chichester about the collection of Buddhist holy relics with which she tours the world. The Maitreya Project Heart Shrine Relic Tour has been on and off the road, traversing six continents since March 2001, showcasing various sacred Buddhist objects collected over the lifetime of Lama Zopa Rinpoche.
We mention this at this time, in these pages, because the relics will be on display at the Arcata Veterans Hall Memorial Building all weekend (for free!) for those who may desire a taste of the benefits they bestow. There will be an opening ceremony on Friday from 6-8 p.m. The blessing schedule extends Saturday from 10 a.m.-7 p.m. and again Sunday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Yeah, yeah. But what are these things? OK. Well, mostly you’ll be looking at pearl-like crystals which are supposedly found among the cremation ashes of Buddhist masters. Some believe that these physical reminders are the result of the spiritual compassion and wisdom of the departed masters. The Maitreya Project website claims that some of the crystals on display are “relics of the historical Buddha and the Buddha’s closest disciples.” The Buddha?! That sounds pretty important, right?
Sure, sure. But how does being in the presence of Buddha master ash crystals help you? As project spiritual director Lama Zopa Rinpoche explains on the Maitreya website:
"People are deeply moved when they come in contact with the relics. … There are so many stories. This is definitely one method for bringing people to enlightenment. The relics have incredible benefit for the world. … People want them very much … and there is greater and greater benefit now.”
And it’s free! If you want to dig deeper on this one -- like, if you want to check out the full list of relics and their histories -- direct your browser to maitreyaproject.org. Peace be with you.