Statue Was Seen By Over 11 Million People Over 9 years
The Jade Buddha of Universal Peace came home to Great Stupa of Universal Compassion, Australia. It returned to its original location after a 10-year journey spanning twenty-one countries. The Buddha, now in its place near Bendigo, was crafted from a boulder weighing 18 tons. The boulder was discovered in the Canadian province of Yukon in 2000. It was called “Polar Pride” at the time of its discovery.
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Thai craftsmen then spent a total of five years cutting the jade and shaping it with a combination of chisels and diamond saws. The Buddha statue was then sent on a global awareness and fundraising tour.
The 10-year tour was originally scheduled for six months. However, the popularity of the Jade Buddha made the tour much longer than anticipated. Approximately 11.5 million people viewed the jade statue. It was seen by residents and visitors of 125 cities spread over 21 countries. The statue came to its Australian home just in time for the Illumin8 Festival, the yearly celebration of peace, harmony, and light.
Positioning the Jane Buddha, weighing about four tons, is no small feat. A combination of cranes and forklifts are used to properly place the work of art on a throne made of alabaster within the Great Stupa. A pallet was specially made for it. Fresh flowers are given every day to this beautiful work of art. The total expense was $20 million. It is at present the biggest stupa in the Western world, with 50 meters in width and 50 meters in height.
Crafting of the Jade statue completed in 2009. It then began its world tour. The first leg of the tour was in Australia itself, covering four cities: Perth, Melbourne, Brisbane, and Sydney. It was then sent to the United States. The logistics to move it was incredibly complex. A specially constructed shipping container which can be loaded on a truck was used to ship the beautiful Buddha monument from one country to another. The forklifts used could not be less than six tonnes weight. This kind of equipment was rare, and Bendigo has a single forklift of this power.
The source boulder of the Jade Buddha also begets a much smaller Green Tara statue, which accompanied the Jade Buddha on its journey. It now rests inside the Great Stupa. The total project, from the buying of the boulder to the Jade Buddha’s arrival near Bendigo, has taken about 15 years.