Cross, note left at Zen Buddhist Temple

BY MARIANNE RZEPKA, Ann Arbor News, February 23, 2007

Local student religious group denies involvement

Ann Arbor, MI (USA) -- Someone left an odd message for the members of the Zen Buddhist Temple last month. The person opening the front gate on a Sunday morning found a 6-foot-tall cross leaning against the wall that fronts the temple at 1214 Packard Road. Attached to the cross was a message: "Dear sinners, Repent and ye will be saved.''

The note is with the police, but the cross remains behind the temple wall, and members there would like to give it to someone who would better appreciate it.

"Someone went to some trouble to make it,'' said Haju Sunim, the temple's priest about the cross, which is made of four-by-fours, with angled ends.

There is a report of the incident on file, but with few clues, no action is planned for now, said Ann Arbor Police Lt. Michael Logghe.

The note was signed, "Love,'' with the name of a local student religious group, according to a police report. However, representatives of that group said no one there knows anything about it and they are shocked that someone would put the organization's name on the note.

At a time when religious insults often beget violence, the Buddhist response seems all the calmer. But after all, said Sunim, the vast variety of religions teach adherents to love their neighbors.

"I once heard someone say, 'We're all trying to get to the top of the mountain,''' she said, "'but we're all riding different donkeys to get there.'''

Anyone interested in the cross can call the temple at 734-761-6520.