Giant jade Buddhist statue to be welcomed in Bac Ninh

VOV News, May 5, 2009

Bac Ninh, Vietnam -- The world’s largest jade statue of Buddha will be on display at Phat Tich Pagoda in the Red River Delta province of Bac Ninh from May 16-22.

The statue, named “The Jade Buddha for Universal Peace,” is 3.5m tall and weighs 4.5 tonnes. It is currently housed at Van An Pagoda in the Mekong delta province of Dong Thap, and is believed to illuminate the world, bring peace, happiness and solace and prevent destruction.

The statue was carved from an 18-tonne Nephrite jade boulder called the “Polar Pride”, which was discovered in Canada in 2000.

The rock was transported in late 2006 from Vancouver in Canada to Bangkok in Thailand, where Thai sculptors finished the statue two years later.

Some 1,000 representatives from the government, ministries, agencies and foreign embassies, as well as a number of Buddhist monks and nuns and visitors are expected to attend the welcoming ceremony in Bac Ninh.

During the week-long event, there will be spiritual ceremonies to pray for peace and happiness for all people and requiems will be held to pray for the souls of fallen soldiers and their compatriots during wars.

After Vietnam, its first destination, the statue will travel to Australia, the US, Indonesia and other countries before being placed permanently on display at the Mahabodhi Temple in the Atisha Centre in Australia.