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International symbol of peace visits Farmington

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The Jade Buddha for Universal Peace, a four-ton, world-traveling symbol of harmony and goodwill, made a four-day stop in the Farmington area last week.

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The sculpture, carved from an 18-ton boulder of gem-quality jade, was on display at the Watt Munisotaram Buddhist Temple on Highway 50 in Hampton. The four-day stay featured a number of special events, parades and other activities. An Aug. 6 opening ceremony was attended by monks and other guests from around the country. 

Here is the back story.

An eight-foot, four ton, gleaming green symbol of international peace and harmony will make a long-awaited stop in Hampton next week.

Monks at the Watt Munisotaram temple applied three years ago to host the Jade Buddha for Universal Peace, a world-traveling sculpture carved from an 18-ton boulder of gem-quality jade unearthed in 2000 in northern Canada. The Dalai Lama consecrated the sculpture in Sydney in 2009 and it began its tour that year in Vietnam.

The stop in Hampton will be the first time a Cambodian Buddhist community has hosted the jade Buddha in the United States. It made a stop earlier this year at a Vietnamese Buddhist community in Savage.

“It symbolizes a lot for our community, especially the Cambodian community, that we can also do big events and be blessed by this jade Buddha,” said Chanda Sour, a member of the Watt Munisotaram committee in charge of outreach for the visit. “The people who are coming to get blessing from this jade Buddha are not just Cambodian. There’s going to be Laotians … some Hmong people are coming in. We’re having people from Chicago, Iowa, Michigan, they’re coming in as well.”

Fifty Buddhist monks from around the country will visit for the ceremony.

Monks and other members of the Munisotaram temple have been planning for the visit since they learned they’d been chosen six months ago. They’ve put together a schedule of events that includes meditation, parades and tours of the temple. There has been a lot of work to get the property cleaned up and ready to receive guests.

All of the activities are open to the public.

“It’s exciting,” Sour said. “What makes it very exciting is seeing the community come together and work together. Last night there were a lot of ladies doing costumes for the decoration of the jade Buddha. They all sew that stuff in the temple.

“What we want to do now is put our temple on the map, where they can come and visit.”

Farmington resident Lavonne Nicolai has worked with the temple to promote the visit. She said she likes the sculpture’s message of peace throughout the world.

“I’m looking forward to having people have the opportunity to reflect on peace in the schools, peace in the community and peace in the world,” Nicolai said.

Sour agreed.

“With all the chaos going on these days, we needed that calmness and peacefulness,” he said. “That’s why there’s no charge or fees.”

The Jade Buddha for Universal Peace will arrive in Hampton Aug. 5. Public activities will start with chanting and meditation early on the morning of Aug. 6. There will be a ribbon cutting at 9:40 a.m. that day and public viewing from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Public viewing will be available from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. during the rest of the Buddha’s stay in Hampton. Dance performances, parades and other activities are scheduled throughout the visit, which ends Aug. 10.

The temple is located east of Farmington at 2925 220th St. E. For a full schedule of activities click here.

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Nathan Hansen
Nathan Hansen has been a reporter and editor with the Farmington Independent and the Rosemount Town Pages since 1997. He is very tall.
(651) 460-6606
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