Antiquities Visit R-side
By Kimberly Johnson
The latest attraction to draw visitors to Riverside is one of unique content and quality. An exhibit showcasing a collection of ancient and exceedingly sacred relics from the highly regarded Buddha, “Shakyamuni” as well as other historic and respected Buddhist masters, was on display this past Friday, July 12, to Sunday, July 14 at Orange Terrace Park. “Shakyamuni,” also known as Gautama Buddha, is regarded as the sage whose beliefs and teachings shaped and conclusively founded the Buddhist religion. Pearl-like crystals found among the cremation ashes of these Buddhist masters were the focal point for the display. “Buddhists believe relics embody the master’s spiritual qualities of compassion and wisdom and are deliberately produced by the master at his death,” said Michael Fotus, spokesman for the tour. The free exhibit welcomed visitors from all religious affiliations and walks of life. It offered up not only a rare and exclusive look into a few culturally compelling artifacts for Buddhist individuals, but for anyone interested in checking out the 2500 year old artifacts.
Buddhist culture has been exposed to a wide expansion in the last few decades, spreading from its roots in Nepal to the soil of the United States. U-T San Diego estimates the growing number of Buddhists in America to be roughly 1.2 million, with 40% of that number being residents of Southern California. Housing more than three dozen Buddhist temples alone in Riverside County, and countless classes and other less formal forms of practice, it is apparent that the religion, its teachings and its artifacts have a place in the Inland Empire.
The historic remnants displayed at the exhibit are believed by the Buddhist people to contain powerful karma and enlightenment powers passed down from the Buddhist masters originating from India, China, Korea and Tibet. The “ringsel,” a term used to refer to Buddhist relics create even more of a rare opportunity spiritually for participants who attended. As an optional addition to attending, interested visitors were invited to take part in a Blessing Ceremony. This ceremony, a common practice among Buddhist culture, consists of the relics being gently placed on the crown of the participant as a personal blessing. Any and all were invited to take part in this blessing from small children to family pets. According to Fout, “Visitors often report experiences of inspiration and healing when in the presence of the relics.” Relic Tour Manager Amanda Russell also comments on the consistent remarks stating, “Nearly everyone reports some kind of change or shift, whether it is releasing physical or emotional pain or experiencing a profound sense of peace.”
“International Tour of Historical Buddha Relics Comes to Riverside” at Orange Terrace Park, 20010 Orange Terrace Pkwy., Riverside. (909) -2808; www.maitreyarelictour.com. July 12 -July 14.
Antiquities visit R-Side