"This statue is of the same significance as a crucifix in a Catholic church or a Torah scroll in a synagogue," Hilbert said.
Hilbert added that while he will mourn the loss of the statue, that he said was likely taken Sunday night or Monday morning, he wishes the best for its new owner.
"May the person or persons responsible for taking our Buddha find peace," he said. "It's a wonderful image, the seated meditating Buddha. It's a peaceful and serene image."
Hilbert told the Sun-News that he will likely not inform the police about the theft due to the center's busy schedule.