Precious Buddha takes pride of place

Times Newspapers (New Zealand), July 20, 2005

Auckland, New Zealand -- A GIANT jade Buddha has taken up residency at the Fo Guang Shan Buddhist Temple in East Tamaki. The eight tonne Buddha has been installed in the temple?s main shrine where it has a benevolent presence for worshippers.

<< A worshipper prays before the new jade Buddha at the Fo Guang Shan temple in East Tamaki. Times photo Michelle Hyslop.

It arrived in a container from Myanmar (Burma) last week.

The Buddha is important in that it has not been assembled from several pieces of jade. It was carved from one huge block.

The Buddha is so precious that it will remain wrapped in its protective plastic cover until the main shrine is completed.

It surprise some people that the Buddha is not green, but white decorated with gold.

Myanmar is the only country where white jade is found.

The Buddha is believed to be 25,000 years old and temple representatives will not disclose its value, but say it is ?priceless? and will always hold pride of place in the temple, yet to be completed.