Buddha statue stolen from Zen Center

UPI, July 10, 2007

LAS CRUCES, NM (USA) -- Officials at the Zen Center in Las Cruces, N.M., are searching for a statue of Buddha that was stolen from their property.

The Rev. So Daiho Hilbert said that the religious statue had disappeared from the center's Zen Garden within the last few days and that the icon was significant to the center's spiritual practices, the Las Cruces (N.M.) Sun-News said Tuesday.

"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.