The large tent at Tay Phuong Monastery in Savage was packed Saturday morning for the unveiling of a rare, 18-ton statue of Buddha.

Buddha for Universal Peace will be on display through Sunday, May 11 at the Monastery, 7107 W. 150th St. The 11 days of celebration are known as Vesak Festival Season in the Buddhist community and include the celebration of Buddha's birthday.

"We hope to create the opportunity for all monks, Buddhists, countrymen and visitors to worship and pay homage irrespective of religion, to take time to contemplate and pray for world peace, peace for social relationships, for peaceful families, for friends and for serenity in the heart of every person," said Venerable Thich Hanh Duc, one of two monks living in Monastery.

THE STATUE

According to the statue's website (www.jadebuddha.org.au), the Jade Buddha for Universal Peace is the largest Buddha carved from gemstone-quality jade in the world.

The jade was found 14 years ago in Canada and carved in Thailand. The project was completed in 2008.

According to the website, "The purpose of exhibiting the Jade Buddha around the world is for everyone, irrespective of their religion, to take a moment to reflect upon peace; peace for the world; peace in their relationships; peace for their families and friends; peace at work; peace in their mind. We hope that such positive inspiration will bring joy and motivation in the lives of those who are able to see the Jade Buddha."

Since March 2009, the Jade Buddha for Universal Peace has toured the world, brought to approximately 60 cities with more than 7.2 million visitors.

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