Thai jade Buddha to visit U.S.

MIAMI, April 9 (UPI) -- A 4 1/2-ton, seven-foot-high jade statue of the Buddha, on a peace-promoting tour from Thailand, will be in South Florida, authorities say.

Known as the Jade Buddha for Universal Peace, the icon is to arrive Saturday, coinciding with the creation of a mandala, or sand painting by monks, The Miami Herald reported Friday.


"Jade has a healing property. It's very much a stone that grounds energy," said Mai Nguyen, a tour organizer in Miami Beach.

The statue's visit corresponds with the Thai New Year, which is Tuesday. It will be on display at Wat Buddharangsi temple in Redland, Fla., through April 18.

There will be an opening ceremony with prayers offered by Hindu, Jewish, Muslim and Christian clergy, the Herald said.

"This will be very special for the Buddhist community," said Khanya Moolsiri, a secretary of the Thai temple who has prepared for the Buddha's visit for months.

Members of Wat Buddharangsi practice Theravada Buddhism: "theravada" means "doctrine of the elders.'' It is one of the oldest forms of Buddhism, along with being the major belief system in Thailand, the newspaper said.

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