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Zoo statues not Buddhas

Jan. 15, 2009 at 4:06 PM

KANSAS CITY, Mo., Jan. 15 (UPI) -- A Buddhist leader said two statues at Missouri's Kansas City Zoo that sparked a complaint from a patron are not images of Buddha, but of a pot-bellied Ho Tai.

Lama Chuck Stanford, executive and spiritual director of the Rime Buddhist Center, spoke after an Overland Park, Kan., man complained to a zoo employee that the statues, which he identified as depictions of Buddha, offended him as a Christian, the Kansas City Star reported Thursday.

"I have seen them," Stanford said of the statues. "They are statues of Ho Tai, the patron saint of children in China and Japan. He is closer to Santa Claus."

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