Buddhist Relic Exhibit Makes Stop in Wheaton

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Byline: Laura Zahn Pohl Daily Herald Correspondent

A traveling exhibit of ancient and sacred Buddhist relics will be on display only one place in all of the Chicago area this year - from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. today and Sunday at the Theosophical Society of America, 1926 N. Main St., Wheaton.

The Heart Shrine Relic Tour will be shown from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. today and Sunday. It is free.

Two years ago when the exhibit was displayed in Wheaton, it attracted more than 500 visitors, said Ruthann Fowler, coordinator of programming and public outreach for the Theosophical Society.

"People from all over the Chicago area - even if they're not Buddhists - will come to see the exhibit," she said. "They are awestruck by the beauty of the relics."

These relics are traveling the world, and will eventually be encased in the 500-foot Maitreya bronze shrine that's being constructed in northern India.

In March 2001, the spiritual director of the Maitreya Project released the rare collection, which has since been displayed at temples, meditation centers and other public locations.

The exhibit contains relics of the Buddha's well-known disciples, as well as many others from saints and spiritual masters of the Chinese, Indian and Tibetan traditions.

Many living Buddhist masters from a number of traditions and countries, including Burma, Indonesia, Thailand, Tibet and Taiwan, have donated relics to be placed in the Maitreya Project statue, including some offered by the Dalai Lama. …