Millions gaze at Buddha statue emanating 'miracle' rays

PTI, August 2, 2006

Colombo, Sri Lanka -- Millions of believers today flocked to various temples and roadside Buddha statues and held up traffic for long hours after word spread that "miracle rays" could be seen emanating from coloured images of the Buddha.

The frenzy, reminiscent of the days when statues of Lord Ganesh "drank" milk, was especially noticed after the media reported that porous statues of the Buddha, especially the coloured ones, was giving off "miracle rays."

However, a top Buddhist monk was quick to debunk the miracle theory and attribute it to an optical illusion.

"If you really want to see Buddha rays, learn the Dhamma (the teachings of the Buddha) and attain enlightenment," the monk said. "That is the only way. Now they are only causing traffic jams."

Traffic was held up at several parts of the capital and suburbs this evening as news of the extraordinary phenomenon spread.

Although another monk Pitiduwe Siridamma said Buddhism did not encourage such misconceptions, it did not stop millions of enthusiastic believers from thronging the temples to have glimpse of the phenomenon.

"My folk at home telephoned me just now to say that our statue of the Buddha too is emanting rays," a local A. Ratnasiri said. "It won't happen with white statues."

A white line could be seen running along the point where Buddha's saffron robes met the lighter shade of the right open shoulder after gazing into the image for a few minutes. This was explained by experts as an optical illusion and not a miracle.