A Visit to the Jade Buddha

Last night Tenzin and I went to pay my respects to the Jade Buddha for Universal Peace. Lama Zopa Rinpoche requested that the Jade Buddha be created. It was carved from a single block of pure Canadian jade  by Thai artisans and is travelling around the world. Since Lama Zopa Rinpoche is the Guhyasamaja Center’s founder, it’s important for our community to visit the Jade Buddha.  We are so fortunate that the Jade Buddha is being hosted by a Vietnamese temple, Tu Vien Tuong Van, in peaceful Haymarket, VA.  Haymarket is just a few minutes down the road from Leesburg on Route 15, it took us about 30 minutes from Reston.

We arrived just as the sun was setting. There were several hundred Vietnamese couples and families making offerings and prostrating. Several Vietnamese sangha chanted prayers at the base of the statue. A long red carpet led from the temple to the statue flanked on either side by red lotus lights. As the night fell, the smiling Buddha’s presence intensified. Just as the Flower Ornament sutra and many others describe countless buddhas in myriad buddha fields around us, photographs of the statue reveal beautiful mandalas of light in the night sky. In my mind, the magical, multi-colored  lights are unquestionably buddha fields. The fact that we cannot see them with our eyes but only through photos (or at least I couldn’t) is due to our karma. But just knowing that countless Buddhas are around us as revealed in the photos is very moving and inspires great faith.

photos: @copyright Tenzin Namgyel

25 June – 18 July 2010
Tu Vien Tuong Van
2101 James Madison Hwy
Haymarket, Virginia, USA
Contact: Sister Thanh Lieu Phone: +1 571 261 2408

More information on the Tu Vien Tuong Van website

FPMT Jade Buddha website

mandala lights photos and article, FPMT Jade Buddha website


4 thoughts on “A Visit to the Jade Buddha

  1. your statement about the budda fields doesn’t make sense.
    If you are unable to see it because of your karma, why would a camera be able to see it? Why would you be able to see it via a photograph but not in person?

    Your statement seems to suggest the camera has excellent karma and can therefore see all. but of course that makes no sense because you control it. you tell it what pictures to capture. you could have told it to take a picture of you or anyone with not so good karma just as easily and wouldn’t that defile the camera’s good karma?

    I guess I don’t get it.

    • Hi Frank, thanks for your interesting comment. Ordinary humans do not have the ability to see the Buddhas around us…out of their compassion, buddhas manifest as humans, as animals, as insects and so forth because we can’t interact with them in their Buddha form.

      As you pointed out, since a camera is an inanimate object, it does not have karma. In this case, the camera was simply a tool we used to overcome the limitations of our ordinary perception.

      Based on my own experience and a friend’s, we were able to take photos of the mandala lights only when we were in an open, relaxed state of mind, free of grasping. So out of dozens of photos, only a handful showed the lights.

      How do you explain the mandala lights? What do you think they are? Are they just random lights reflecting off the statue? Feel free to share your thoughts, everyone!

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