Copyright © Marjorie Petersen 2009.
The Maitreya Project Heart Shrine Relic Tour visited the Washington State Reformatory at the Monroe Correctional Complex, southeast of Everett.
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Inmates, volunteers, and prison staff had the opportunity to view relics of the historical Buddha Shakyamuni, a few of the Buddha’s closest disciples, and other Buddhist masters—both male and female—when the Maitreya Project Heart Shrine Relic Tour visited the Washington State Reformatory (WSRU) at the Monroe Correctional Complex (MCC), southeast of Everett, Washington on August 4.
Seattle area prison volunteer, Bruce Munson, and others coordinated the Heart Shrine Relic Tour visit with the support of WSRU chaplain Henri Fischer.
The Tour began in 2001 as the vision of Tibetan monk, Lama Zopa Rinpoche. The relics on view are part of a large collection given by living Buddhist masters from around the world. They will ultimately be installed in the monumental Maitreya Buddha statue to be built in Kushinagar, India.
Found among the cremation ashes of Buddhist masters, the relics resemble beautiful pearl-like crystals that are believed to be produced as a result of the master’s spiritual qualities of compassion and wisdom. Viewing them serves as a reminder that we can all develop these qualities and as an inspiration to do so. The Tour visits diverse faith communities around the world with the message of cultivating peace and lovingkindness.
Among the outside visitors to the Tour at Monroe were Ajahn Boonliang, Abbot of Wat Washington Buddhavanaram in Auburn and Genko Kathy Blackman of Dai Bai Zan Cho Bo Zen Ji in Seattle. Tour custodians accompanied the relics and helped explain their history and significance.
For more information about the Heart Shrine Relic Tour, see www.maitreyaproject.org
Contributors: Caterina De Re, Julie Welch.
Photos: Copyright ©Marjorie Petersen.