Author Topic: Buddha statue transforms Oakland neighbourhood  (Read 11737 times)

bambi

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Buddha statue transforms Oakland neighbourhood
« on: September 26, 2014, 08:37:03 AM »
Amazing! Not only that Buddha bless the place but it also bless the people who see Him and those who make offerings. And the crime rates dropped since Buddha was placed there! Bless the authorities for not removing the shrine that is benefitting so many in that area. I do hope that many more can be done just like this!

In 2009, Dan Stevenson, a resident in Oakland, California’s crime-ridden Eastlake neighbourhood bought a 2-foot-high Buddha statue from a local hardware store and installed it on a median strip on an off-street in a residential area.
“It was just like a dump,” Stevenson said of the median then covered in trash. “And it just got tiring.”
Remarkably, Stevenson’s small gesture helped to transform the neighbourhood.
Residents started leaving flowers and candles at the base of the statue. Vietnamese women in prayer robes started regularly gathering at the Buddha to pray. What was once just a statue transformed into a shrine.

“There’s no garbage now,” Stevenson told NBC News in 2012. “There’s no graffiti, it’s just a lot of people just respect the area.”
Thanks to the powerful epoxy holding it in place, the Buddha survived a robbery attempt soon after it was installed. In 2012, thanks to community opposition, the Public Works Department gave up its mission to remove it.
Since 2012, worshipers have been gathering to pray at the miniature temple every day. Also since 2012, crime has dropped by a whopping 82 per cent in the neighbourhood.

When people learned that Stevenson — who is not a Buddhist but hoped his gift to the community would help unify the neighbourhood — was responsible for the statue, they started leaving gifts on his doorstop.
"They left a ton of fruit and Vietnamese specialty foods and candy, but there’s only me and my wife, Lu, here and we can’t eat all that stuff — but it’s so good," Stevenson told SFGate.com.
“My wife and I thought we might be able to change the direction of the energy,” Stevenson said of his intentions when installing the statue years ago. “We’re not Buddhists so we just liked the little garden guy.”


Oakland Neighborhood Sees Improvement After Buddhist Shrine Moves In


OMB

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Re: Buddha statue transforms Oakland neighbourhood
« Reply #1 on: September 28, 2014, 09:37:45 AM »
 The Buddha has helped clean up the neighborhood and brought the neighbors together, that's marvelous.  A little buddha in each of the neighbors will definitely bring peace & harmony.

Klein

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Re: Buddha statue transforms Oakland neighbourhood
« Reply #2 on: September 28, 2014, 10:45:39 AM »
Buddha Statues are said to subdue the environment and people who look at them. For centuries, people build huge outdoor Buddha statues to bless the environment and practitioners. One of the famous outdoor statue is Leshan Buddha in Chengdu, China. The construction was led by a monk named Haitong who wanted to build the statue to calm the turbulent waters that plagued the shipping vessels traveling down the river.

After the huge statue was built, the waters became calm. Below is a pic of the famous Leshan Buddha. 


RedLantern

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Re: Buddha statue transforms Oakland neighbourhood
« Reply #3 on: September 28, 2014, 02:26:37 PM »

Buddha statues have positive impact on the environment, blessing all the people. A moment in front a Buddha statue brings tremendous internal moment of peace and joy.
It is wonderful to know the people  are more united and responsible to unify their neighborhood.May the whole area be blessed .

maricisun

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Re: Buddha statue transforms Oakland neighbourhood
« Reply #4 on: September 28, 2014, 04:07:34 PM »
Buddha statue gives out positive energy and hence blesses the whole neighbourhood. Seeing a Buddha there transform their mind and when they make offerings to the Buddha they receive the blessings too.
It is just so wonderful to know that the Buddha can help to bring peace to the whole neighbourhood.
May everyone there be bless by the Buddha and live in peace and harmony.

fruven

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Re: Buddha statue transforms Oakland neighbourhood
« Reply #5 on: September 29, 2014, 12:30:16 AM »
Very inspiring to hear this person Dan Stevenson kind gesture of putting a 2-foot Buddha statue at the corner of the street to improve the peace in his Oakland neighbourhood. I feel this kind of news encourage people to engage in the practicing aspect of spirituality regardless of their religion or beliefs.

Dan Stevenson is not Buddhist. Could it be there is a large Asian population in his neighbourhood therefore the idea just came to him when he visited Ace hardware store?



http://www.sfgate.com/bayarea/johnson/article/Buddha-seems-to-bring-tranquillity-to-Oakland-5757592.php

Dan Stevenson is neither a Buddhist nor a follower of any organized religion.

The 11th Avenue resident in Oakland's Eastlake neighborhood was simply feeling hopeful in 2009 when he went to an Ace hardware store, purchased a 2-foot-high stone Buddha and installed it on a median strip in a residential area at 11th Avenue and 19th Street.

He hoped that just maybe his small gesture would bring tranquillity to a neighborhood marred by crime: dumping, graffiti, drug dealing, prostitution, robberies, aggravated assault and burglaries.

What happened next was nothing short of stunning. Area residents began to leave offerings at the base of the Buddha: flowers, food, candles. A group of Vietnamese women in prayer robes began to gather at the statue to pray.

And the neighborhood changed. People stopped dumping garbage. They stopped vandalizing walls with graffiti. And the drug dealers stopped using that area to deal. The prostitutes went away.

I asked police to check their crime statistics for the block radius around the statue, and here's what they found: Since 2012, when worshipers began showing up for daily prayers, overall year-to-date crime has dropped by 82 percent. Robbery reports went from 14 to three, aggravated assaults from five to zero, burglaries from eight to four, narcotics from three to none, and prostitution from three to none.

"I can't say what to attribute it to, but these are the numbers," a police statistician told me.

Back in 2009, when word got around that Stevenson was the person who'd installed the statue, offerings began to appear on his doorstep. It was like a scene straight out of the Clint Eastwood film "Gran Torino."

"They left a ton of fruit and Vietnamese specialty foods and candy, but there's only me and my wife, Lu, here and we can't eat all that stuff - but it's so good," said Stevenson.

"I've tried to explain to them my reasons" for placing the statue, he said. "I have nothing against it, but I don't believe what you believe!"

I don't think it matters to them.

To this day, every morning at 7, worshipers ring a chime, clang a bell and play soft music as they chant morning prayers. The original statue is now part of an elaborate shrine that includes a wooden structure standing 10 feet tall and holding religious statues, portraits, food and fruit offerings surrounded by incense-scented air.

"This used to be a huge spot for dumping stuff," said Alicia Tatum, 27, on an early morning walk with her dogs Lulu and Mya. "But over time, it's blossomed with more and more and more flowers - and they are out there every morning like clockwork."

On weekends, the worshipers include more than a dozen people: black folks, white folks, all folks, said Andy Blackwood, a neighborhood resident. Two weeks ago, a group of German tourists visited the shrine.

"The dope-dealing has stopped, the ladies of the evening have stopped," Blackwood said.

The Buddha has withstood two attempts to remove him from his watch, one criminal and one governmental. Neither has worked.

Soon after its installation, a would-be thief tried to pry the statue from its perch, but Stevenson had secured him with reinforced iron bar and "$35 worth" of a powerful epoxy - and Buddha didn't budge.

In 2012, after a resident's complaint, the city's Public Works Department tried to remove the statue but received such passionate blowback from neighbors that city officials decided to table and "study" the issue. Two years later, the administrative effort is long forgotten, and Buddha is still there.

When I went to visit the shrine, four small-framed ladies who don't speak or understand English decided I looked like a convert.

The moment I started talking, one of them politely took my pen from one hand, my notepad from the other and directed me to clasp my hands together, bow and repeat after her - so I did. When in Rome, right?

Apparently, my Buddhist chants aren't half bad either because they won some approving "oohs and aahs" from the flock - and carried me to Step 2 in the conversion process. The same woman who had grabbed my gear sat me cross-legged on a prayer rug in the street and placed a stool with a book on it before me. If nothing else, Buddha and I share the same body type - short, squat and happy. I sat there for a moment thinking that I might resemble him - and maybe that's why they seemed to like me.

I thought it might be a good opportunity to get a question in, too - and this time my spiritual guide seemed to understand.

"Next week," she replied.

Thank you very much, but I think I've already found what I was looking for.

Chip Johnson is a San Francisco Chronicle columnist. His column runs on Tuesday and Friday. E-mail: [email protected]. Twitter: @chjohnson.

eyesoftara

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Re: Buddha statue transforms Oakland neighbourhood
« Reply #6 on: September 29, 2014, 09:14:36 AM »
It is good to have friends is high places. Well, lol, none higher than the Buddha.

It is an inspiring story and in the west the Buddha is not thought of as a threat to the Christian faith by most Christians. The Buddha is regardless much in the same vein as Gandhi; as a symbol of peace. The images of the Buddha conjure up a powerful sense of compassion and peace and in the Dharma, we say the most powerful force in the universe is the force of compassion. It is why the Sangha are immune from harm from spirits and wild animals. There are many stories about this in the teachings and in real life.

So I guess in this case it is clear, compassion thumps crime. And OM Mani Peme Hum.

Losang_Tenpa

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Re: Buddha statue transforms Oakland neighbourhood
« Reply #7 on: October 02, 2014, 12:50:28 PM »
Cool story. Thanks for sharing. Not only do we need more of this type of thing, but it would be nice to also see more of these uplifting stories in the news, instead of the normal doom and gloom.

angelica

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Re: Buddha statue transforms Oakland neighbourhood
« Reply #8 on: October 02, 2014, 05:30:42 PM »
Buddha statue has the power to bless people that see it and also to subdue negative energy. It is really amazing that a 2-foot Buddha statue can be so powerful.

Dan Stevenson has done a good job to place a Buddha statue in the Oakland neighbourhood. His little gesture has make the place cleaner and more peaceful. 

This is an inspiring story and people will have very strong faith in Buddhism. 

Kim Hyun Jae

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Re: Buddha statue transforms Oakland neighbourhood
« Reply #9 on: October 03, 2014, 05:36:24 AM »
The amazing thing is after the installation of this Buddha in the Oakland neighborhood, there were really pervasive peace and less crime and reduction of drug activities. Now how can anyone account for that, if its not for the positive power of the Buddha and the prayers generated by the praying ladies blessing the area around the Buddha statue.

Tenzin Malgyur

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Re: Buddha statue transforms Oakland neighbourhood
« Reply #10 on: October 04, 2014, 03:54:35 PM »
This is a very inspiring story. The person who installed the statue is not even a Buddhist, yet he made the effort to clean up the spot and placed the statue of a Buddha. He was also very wise to fix the statue well grounded so that no one could easily remove it.
Instead of a garbage dump, he have transformed the little spot to a place where people could make offerings and prayers to the Buddha. With people making prayers at the shrine daily, I believe the surrounding have been charged with a positive and calming effect. May the Buddha statue remain in the current spot to continue blessing the environment and to plant a Buddha seed in the minds of all who gaze at the Buddha image.

Midakpa

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Re: Buddha statue transforms Oakland neighbourhood
« Reply #11 on: October 05, 2014, 08:04:39 AM »
Crime rates have dropped. The energy is good. The people in the community are getting along well. The Buddha has brought peace and stability to the area. More people should become aware of the benefits of having a Buddhist shrine in their neighbourhood. The area will be blessed by the presence of the Buddha. Birds and animals will have seeds planted in them to be born in higher realms. There will be peace and harmony in the environment. The people will be protected from natural disasters.

bambi

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Re: Buddha statue transforms Oakland neighbourhood
« Reply #12 on: October 08, 2014, 02:57:13 PM »
This is a very inspiring story. The person who installed the statue is not even a Buddhist, yet he made the effort to clean up the spot and placed the statue of a Buddha. He was also very wise to fix the statue well grounded so that no one could easily remove it.
Instead of a garbage dump, he have transformed the little spot to a place where people could make offerings and prayers to the Buddha. With people making prayers at the shrine daily, I believe the surrounding have been charged with a positive and calming effect. May the Buddha statue remain in the current spot to continue blessing the environment and to plant a Buddha seed in the minds of all who gaze at the Buddha image.

I agree with you TM. The person is not even a Buddhist yet he took the effort to get it from the store and made the place with care. Not only the dump is gone, its a beautiful place now! The next thing we know, there may be a temple  being erected.  ;D

Tenzin K

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Re: Buddha statue transforms Oakland neighbourhood
« Reply #13 on: October 08, 2014, 03:27:51 PM »
I always believe in having Buddha statue it will bless the people and the environment.  It’s so nice to see that people benefited especially from the west. That’s also shows that Buddhism is not just for the East but is for whomever that believes in the teaching. The Oakland neighborhood not just respects but also make offering to the Buddha statue. This directly make them collect merits for their future benefits.

Below are the benefits of having holy objects I that would like to share:
(1) One receives a good body of high caste, which people respect and obey and which includes having perfect organs and a beautiful or handsome form.
(2) One will have perfect surroundings and helpers.
(3) One will be able to live morally.
(4) One will have devotion, or faith, which is the main factor for completing the accumulation of merits. (Being without faith is like a vehicle without fuel—unable to function—or like everything in a city not functioning and collapsing when there is no electricity.)
(5) One will have a very brave mind for practicing the Dharma and working for other sentient beings, a mind brave in facing up to the delusions.
(6) One will be reborn as a deva or a human being.
(7) One will achieve the arya path.
(8) One will become enlightened.

pinecone

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Re: Buddha statue transforms Oakland neighbourhood
« Reply #14 on: October 17, 2014, 02:38:54 PM »
In most Buddhist’s home, Buddha’s statue can be seen either on the altar, garden, living room etc . The placement of Buddha’s status is a powerful reminder to preserve in our practice. Despite being a non-Buddhist, it’s really amazing that Dan Stevenson will have the thought of placing the Buddha’s statue in the Oakland neighbourhood. With the placement of the  Buddha statue, it has created a more harmonious and peaceful neighbourhood in Oakland. Rejoice.