The Sanghata Sutra was
recently recited many times in the direct presence of the relics of the
Buddha and other holy beings, bringing togther manifestation of the
Blessed One's body, speech and mind in a uniquely powerful way. These
recitations were part of a visit of those relics to Portland, Oregon,
The Sanghata Sutra was recently recited many times in the direct presence of the relics of the Buddha and other holy beings, bringing togther manifestation of the Blessed One's body, speech and mind in a uniquely powerful way. These recitations were part of a visit of those relics to Portland, Oregon, organized bythe FPMT's international office and Maitripa Institute. The visit took place under the direction of Yangsi Rinpoche, a Tibetan lama who is director of Maitripa Institute, a newly founded educational institute on its way to becoming the first Buddhist University in the Pacific Northwest. As many students from Rinpoche's center in Puerto Rico had traveled to Portland to participate in the event, Rinpoche asked that the sutra be recited in both Spanish and English. Ven. Mindrol describes that event:
While we were preparing for the relics to arrive, Yangsi Rinpoche requested we recite Sanghata Sutra twenty-four hours a day in the presence of the relics. People came singly or in small groups and recited in English and Spanish through the nights and during the days while the show was open to the public. Often, the sutra was heard in both languages, one group finishing while the next began. In all, the sutra was recited 56 times without break over a period of 47 hours.
One group was joined by a woman who had come to the opening ceremony, but had no idea of the existence of Sanghata. She whispered the sutra, very intently, her face three inches from the page. When the sutra finished, with the Spanish recitation beginning a few feet away, she asked a few questions and recited it again on her own, totally mesmerized by her new discovery. Another group consisted entirely of people who had never recited before; they labored over it and when finished, collapsed into tears and hugs of joy. One young man, a native English speaker, elected to recite in Spanish in the middle of the night. He was happy and glowing, filled with light, when he finished at 5:00 AM.
speaking, relics are physical remainders of holy beings, left
after cremations. These relics often take the form of pearls
and frequent continue to grow and change shape over
time. More broadly, relics are described as manifestations of the
Buddha's compasson for us. The Heart Shrine Relic Tour contains
the relics of
great masters such as Shakyamuni Buddha, Milarepa, Tsongkhapa, and Lama
Yeshe. Eventually, the relics will be enshrined in the heart of a
statue of Maitreya, but while the statue is in its planning stages, the
Shrine Relic Tour travels the world, bringing the relics’
blessings to diverse
communities, raising awareness about the Maitreya Project, and
spreading loving kindness, the very heart of Maitreya
throughout the world.
Lama Zopa Rinpoche has said that there are many types of relics – one is the sort that the Heart Shrine Relic Tour brings to the world; another are texts such as Sanghata Sutra. The experience of reciting Sanghata Sutra and then seeing the relics of those great beings who taught it and who are recorded as being in attendance at that teaching – Buddha Shakyamuni, Buddha Kashyapa, Shariputra, Maudgalyana – was indescribable. As Sanghata says, “Wherever the Sanghata is, always there the Buddha is.” Reciting in the presence of the holy relics, making prostrations and offerings to them, one felt the buddhas’ presence more strongly than ever before.
For more information on the Maitreya Project and the Heart Shrine Relic Tour, visit www.maitreyaproject.org.