Buddhist relics draw crowd in Mount Shasta

More than 70 people filled a family meditation temple in Mount Shasta Friday to experience what are believed to be ancient, earthly remains of Buddha.

The 2,600-year-old relics were retrieved from the spiritual master’s ashes after his cremation, according to one of two custodians who have accompanied these relics and those of others on a world tour.

Specifically, we have 3,000 relics from 40 masters, said Chris Cowen at the home of John and Patty Cashman before the ceremony Friday. They resemble pearls, but they are actually the crystallization of enlightenment. Simply being in the presence of the relics, you receive a lot of blessings, regardless of one’s spirituality.

He said this was the third time the relics have visited the Cashmans temple, the first time since 2003.

The other custodian, Dana Lissey, said her spiritual teacher, Lama Zopa Rinpoche, gathered all the relics. Their world journey is part of a project that offers the relics to the public until they are permanently enshrined in the Heart Shrine of the Maitreya Buddha statue in Kushinagar, India.

His wish was for the relics to travel the whole world so that people could see them and recognize their very positive energy, she said. About 1.5 million people have seen them in the last 11 years.

At the beginning of the opening ceremony to honor the relics’ three-day visit in Mount Shasta, John Cashman welcomed all faiths to his temple. Representatives from several groups contributed word and song to the proceedings. Among those were the pastor and choir from Mt. Shasta Baptist Church in Weed, Zen Buddhists from Shasta Abbey, singers from the Mount Shasta Quaker Fellowship, and a minister from the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Siskiyou.

Attendees queued around a shrine in the center of the temple. They paused before display cases containing the relics to read and reflect. Behind each container of relics in a display case stood a card bearing a picture and information about the master whose ashes yielded them.

Lissey said this display of relics represented a range of historical figures from the first Buddha to master Lama Lhundrup, who passed September of last year.

As the procession slowly circled the shrine, a pastor from Shasta Abbey sat with a gold container said to house relics from the ashes of Buddha. It’s peaceful, said Rev. Jisho Perry of the feeling that came to him as he held the sacred relics. We meditate on silence. This is a deep silence.

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Buddhist relics draw crowd in Mount Shasta

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