Author Topic: A Tour of a Different Kind!  (Read 3337 times)

Positive Change

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A Tour of a Different Kind!
« on: July 31, 2012, 05:45:54 PM »
The Relic Tour

Lama Zopa Rinpoche, the Spiritual Founder of the Relic Tour, has collected sacred relics of the Buddha and other Buddhist masters. His Holiness the Dalai Lama has offered eight relics of Shakyamuni Buddha to the collection. The Tour began in 2001, over the years some visitors at Relic Tour events have offered relics that they have been entrusted with, to the collection. Their intention is that many others may benefit.

This incredible generosity and kindness means that the collection is becoming larger and more varied, and now includes masters from many different Buddhist traditions. This reflects the Relic Tour's non-sectarian approach and universal message. There is now more than collection touring so that there can be simultaneous events in different parts of the world multiplying the blessings.

Here is more information about some of the relics presently in the collection:


Kasyapa Buddha
Shakyamuni Buddha is the historical buddha, the one we most often refer to as simply “the Buddha”. According to the Mahayana Buddhist tradition, Shakyamuni was the fourth of the “1,000 Buddhas of this Fortunate Aeon”, each of whom is predicted to teach on Earth.

Kasyapa Buddha preceded Shakyamuni Buddha. He was the third buddha of this aeon. The first two buddhas were Krakuchand Buddha and Kanakamuni Buddha.

Relic and Source

The tooth relic came from Tibet and was offered to Lama Zopa Rinpoche in 2002. It was originally enshrined in a statue of Gyalwa Ensapa in Tibet. When the statue was destroyed during China’s invasion, the relic was secretly saved by a Tibetan family.

A Tibetan monk of the Sakya tradition then purchased it and the relic was split into three parts; one part was offered to His Holiness Sakya Trizin, another to His Holiness Chogye Trichen and the third part was offered to Lama Zopa Rinpoche.

His Holiness Chogye Trichen placed the relic offered to him inside the crown of a 3-storey Maitreya Buddha statue in a monastery beside the Great Stupa in Boudhanath, Nepal. Those who were present said they observed rainbows in the sky around the stupa when he did this.

The middle sized relic came from the Tibetan Government Relic House. His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s physician, Wangyal, offered it to Lama Zopa Rinpoche in 1999.
The remaining three smaller relics (only two are pictured here) appear to have spontaneously manifested during the Heart Shrine Relic Tour.

Shakyamuni, the Historical Buddha
Prince Siddharta, who was destined to become Shakyamuni Buddha, was born to Queen Mahamaya and King Shudhodana of Kapilavastu in approximately 563 BCE at Lumbini, which was near the modern border between India and Nepal.

Growing up in the palace, he enjoyed a life of privilege and luxury. Then, when he was 29 years old, Siddharta travelled outside of the palace for the first time in his life and was deeply shocked by what he saw – a sick man, an old man, a dead man and a monk. He became convinced that all of life was pervaded by suffering and from that moment he renounced his royal life, left his wife and child in the palace, and set out to find enlightenment.

After years of engaging in very austere practices which nearly led to his starvation, he realised that this was not the true path to liberation from suffering. He drank a bowl of nourishing milk, sat down beneath the Bodhi tree in Bodhgaya, and vowed not to rise again until he had found enlightenment. By morning he had achieved his goal.

Buddha Shakyamuni’s first teaching was about The Four Noble Truths: all life is pervaded by suffering; suffering has a cause; suffering can end; and the path that leads to the end of suffering. One of the Buddha’s great skills was his ability to teach according to the capacity of those listening to him. This resulted in a wide variety and number of teachings called sutras.

At the age of 80, in Kushinagar, the Buddha said, “All conditioned phenomena are impermanent. This is the last teaching of the Tathagata.” He then passed into parinirvana (final liberation at the time of death).

Lumbini, Bodhgaya, and Kushinagar are still among the places of holy pilgrimage for millions of Buddhists today.

Relic and Source


- The four identical relics were offered by His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama.
- The blood relics came from Meiktila Relic Museum in Burma and were offered by the abbot who manages the museum.
- The head relics were offered to Lama Zopa Rinpoche by his student, Wu Wen Yuen in Taipei, Taiwan, in 2001.


- The small granular relics were offered by a Thai monk who carried them to Malaysia.
- The white, flake-like relics came from Meiktila Relic Museum in Burma.
- The one large and three smaller relics were offered by a senior monk in Borobudur, Indonesia.

Shakyamuni Buddha's Heart Disciples:

Venerables Shariputra & Maudgalyayana
Venerable Shariputra and Venerable Maudgalyayana were among those the Buddha first accepted as his disciples. Both Shariputra and Maudgalyayana were born near Rajgir and later, retiring to their respective villages, they achieved enlightenment before the Buddha’s passing into parinirvana (final liberation at the time of death).

Regarding these two heart disciples, the Buddha said, “Monks, follow Shariputra and Maudgalyayana; associate with Shariputra and Maudgalyayana… . Monks, Shariputra is like a mother and Maudgalyayana is like a foster mother to a child.”

Relic and Source


These relics were offered to Lama Zopa Rinpoche by his student, Wu Wen Yuen in Taipei, Taiwan, in 2001.

Venerable Ananda
Ananda was the Buddha’s cousin and served as his personal attendant for 25 years. One day, Ananda was passing a well near a village and he asked Pakati, a young woman, for water. Pakati replied, “Oh monk, I am too humbly born to give you water to drink. Do not ask for my service lest your holiness be contaminated, for I am of low caste.” Ananda said, “I ask not for caste but for water.” Pakati’s heart leapt with joy and she offered water to Ananda. Having heard that Ananda was a disciple of the Buddha, she asked the Buddha, “Oh Lord, help me and let me live in the place where your disciple Ananda dwells so that I may see him and serve him, for I love Ananda.” Buddha understood her heart and said, “Pakati, your heart is full of love, but you do not understand your own sentiments. It is not Ananda that you love, but his kindness. Accept the kindness that you have seen him practice toward you and practice it toward others.”

Relic and Source

These relics were offered to Lama Zopa Rinpoche by his student, Wu Wen Yuen in Taipei, Taiwan, in 2001. During 2003, the relics of Ananda changed colour and a new one appeared, much larger than the other relics.

Venerable Kondanna
Venerable Kondanna was the first person to be ordained as a Buddhist monk. And, after hearing the Buddha’s discourse on the Four Nobel Truths, he was the first of the Buddha’s disciples to experience nirvana (liberation).

The Buddha said, “Annasi vata bho Kondanno!” (“Oh, Kondanna has penetrated [the Four Truths]!”) From that day onwards, Kondanna was known as ‘Annasi’ Kondanna, the ‘Penetrating’ Kondanna.

Relic and Source

These relics were offered to the collection during a Relic Tour event in Malaysia in April 2005. They originally came from Meiktila Relic Museum in Burma.

Venerable Rahula
Venerable Rahula is generally accepted to be the son of Shakyamuni Buddha. (He was born before the Buddha left the palace to seek enlightenment, when the Buddha was still known as Prince Siddharta).

Although Rahula was part of the family Shakyamuni Buddha left when he began his life as a monk, according to several Buddhist sutras, Rahula eventually came to be a part of his father’s newly founded religious order. Rahula later became an arhat - one who has completely overcome mental afflictions, thereby overcoming all suffering and its causes.

Relic and Source

These relics (one of which is shown here) came from the Meiktila Relic Museum in Burma. They were offered by a student in Malaysia, in April 2005.

Positive Change

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Re: A Tour of a Different Kind!
« Reply #1 on: July 31, 2012, 07:24:48 PM »

Nagarjuna (2nd – 3rd century) realised that very few people understand the true nature of reality taught by the Buddha in the Perfection of Wisdom sutras. He knew that if this is not understood there is no way to leave samsara (the cycle of uncontrolled rebirth) by attaining liberation. So, Nagarjuna composed the Five Treatises on Reason that explain the Middle Way.

He showed that ultimate truth and conventional truth are not contradictory, but are complementary. He demonstrated that although even the smallest imaginable part of an atom does not exist unconditionally (which refers to the ultimate truth), the conventional truth of karma (cause and effect) is incontrovertible: wholesome actions result in happiness and unwholesome actions result in suffering.

Relic and Source

These relics came from Labrang Tashi Khyil Monastery in Tibet and were offered by Jamyang Shepa Rinpoche.

Yeshe Tsogyel
Yeshe Tsogyel (9th century) was a Tibetan princess who became an enlightened yogini. Yeshe means “primordial wisdom” and Tsogyel means “queen of the ocean-like quality of the mind”. She was the tantric consort of Tibet’s great guru, Padmasambhava, who was also called Guru Rinpoche.

Relic and Source


These relics came from Tibet and were added to the collection in 2002. They are fragments of two letters written by Yeshe Tsogyel to Padmasambhava. They are written in Tibetan script on banana leaf and paper.
From the tiny fragments of the script written on banana leaf, three words can be deciphered: “awareness”, “investigation” and “transcend”.

The larger, paper fragment contains a teaching about mudra (symbolic hand gestures). It states that a mudra has the power to communicate how one can achieve the body, speech and mind of a buddha. On the reverse side of the letter it speaks about the eight types of mental afflictions and refers to the deity, Vishnu.

Lama Atisha
Lama Atisha (982 - 1054) was born in Bengal, India. He became the most learned scholar at Nalanda Monastery in India, which is considered to have been the greatest university of Buddhist philosophy of all time.

In Tibet, there was much confusion about how to correctly practice the Buddha’s teachings. The King of Tibet, Yeshe Od, set off on the long and dangerous journey to India to invite Lama Atisha to Tibet so that he could resolve the confusion.

On the way, King Yeshe Od was captured by the hostile King Garlok, but rather than using his money to pay his own ransom, he sent a messenger to Lama Atisha. Since, without money, he could not pay his own ransom, Yeshe Od died in prison.

When Lama Atisha heard of this, he was very moved by the king’s aspiration for his people and the sacrifice that he had made. Atisha travelled to Tibet, arriving in 1042, to pass on an unbroken lineage of the Buddha’s teachings. While in Tibet, he wrote the renowned Buddhist text, Lamp on the Path to Enlightenment, which for the first time organised all of Lord Buddha’s teachings into a single path of practice.

Relic and Source


- The metal stupa contains Lama Atisha’s relics. It was given to Lama Atisha’s heart disciple, the great translator, Lotsawa Rinchen Zangpo, who translated the Buddhist teachings from Sanskrit into the written Tibetan language.
- This tsa tsa (votive relief carving) of the long life deity Namgyalma was made by Lama Atisha. There is a partial handprint from Lama Atisha’s own hand on the reverse side of the tsa tsa. It was offered by Khensur Jampa Tegchok (himself a reincarnation of Jangchub Bumpa who founded Sera Me Monastery in Tibet).
- The white relics were offered to Lama Zopa Rinpoche by His Holiness Sakya Jigdrol (Dagchen) Rinpoche. He received them from the Sakya storehouse of relics in Tibet.