Buddha’s Sacred Relics from Lanka for Dakota temple
After a trip to India in February, Cambodian Buddhist monk Sang Moeng
returned to Watt Munisotaram, his home temple near Hampton, Minn.,
practically bubbling over with excitement.
The Maha Bodhi Society of India, a group that oversees many Buddhist
shrines, including the Tree of Enlightenment, offered to help find a
relic of Buddha remains believed to be perfect proof of enlightenment,
and symbols of wisdom, love and compassion for the rural Dakota County
temple.This weekend, Watt Munisotaram hosts a festival to celebrate the
arrival of the relic from another temple in Colombo, Sri Lanka.“We were
fortunate to find a temple willing to share a relic with us,” Yanat
Chhith, a leader of Minnesota’s Cambodian Buddhist community, said.
“It’s a very small piece, but that’s good enough.”
As many as 2,000 people from around the country and world, including
monks from as far away as Sri Lanka and Bangladesh, are expected to
participate in ceremonies this weekend as the relic of Buddha is
enshrined in the temple, located among nondescript farm fields a few
miles east of Farmington.
They will also be celebrating the 21st anniversary of the Minnesota
Cambodian Buddhist Society, the ground breaking for a building called a
stupa that will eventually house the relic, and a flower festival to
raise funds for construction. The celebrations runs through Sunday and
the general public, Buddhist and otherwise, is invited to
participate.“Our world is so divided, but here we’re all working
together,” Chanda Sour, a temple board member, said.Trying to convey the
spiritual significance of the relic, Sour and the others said words
failed them. “A lot of this is too deep for words,” Sour said.
Just preparing for the festival has drawn dozens of volunteers to
clean, cut grass, prepare food and decorate the temple. There are
between 7,000 and 8,000 Cambodian Buddhist in Minnesota.
- Star Tribune