A Buddha statue carved from a single block of jade has returned to Australia, to make its home in the Great Stupa of Universal Compassion at Myers Flat, near Bendigo.
The Jade Buddha for Universal Peace, to give its full title, is the largest Buddha in the world. Seated on an alabaster throne, it is 2.7 metres high and weighs around 4 tonnes.
The original piece of jade, called “Polar Pride”, was mined in 2000 at the Polar Jade mine site in British Columbia, Canada. The piece was broken into two chunks. The larger piece went into producing the Jade Buddha. The smaller piece will be used to carve smaller figurines, pendants and other objects to sell to visitors of the Great Stupa.
The work was done by took sculptors and artists in Thailand, and took five years to complete. Since then the Buddha has been on a world tour, giving over 10 million people a chance to see it, before arriving at the Great Stupa several weeks ago.
A ceremony of consecration of the Jade Buddha was held at the Great Stupa on Friday 18 May, followed by a weekend of celebration, the Stupa's annual Illumin8 Festival.
The Great Stupa itself is still under construction. When finished it will be nearly 50 metres high, the same size as the Great Stupa in Gyantse, Tibet, and four times the height of Detong Ling on Kangaroo Island, SA. Designed to last one thousand years, it will be the largest Stupa outside of Asia. The purpose of a stupa is to strengthen Buddhist practice and encourage people to develop peace and mindfulness.
Visitors are welcome to tour the Stupa and surrounding gardens, view the collection of Buddhist relics and browse in the gift shop. The Centre is open 9am to 5pm weekdays and 10.30am to 5pm on weekends and Public Holidays. There is no charge, but donations would be appreciated.
You can find more by phoning 03 5446 7568 or visiting the website at www.stupa.org.au.