Relics transform small, hidden California Buddhist temple
By John Rogers, APROSEMEAD, California--Although he'd been a practicing Buddhist for 20 years, until 10 months ago Dharma Master YongHua hadn't even seen so much as one of the sacred relics known as shariras that are so important to his faith.
October 15, 2013, 12:08 am TWN
So it came as quite a surprise to the modest, soft-spoken monk when he learned he was becoming the caretaker of more than 10,000 of them.
YongHua's modest Lu Mountain Temple became a repository for the thousands of colorful crystals, two teeth and a single hair that are believed to have come from the body of the Buddha himself. A congregant offered up the collection that he'd painstakingly gathered for years.
The relics are said to be capable of producing miracles for people who go near them. And although Buddhists, like members of other religious groups, say that has to be taken on faith, even the skeptical are starting to believe miracles are happening since the shariras arrived.
“In the beginning, I didn't really know what to think,” said Vickie Sprout, who meditates at the temple.
Following YongHua's advice to keep an open mind, she and others noticed, they said, after six months of meditation in the presence of the shariras, that their efforts were leading to a more relaxed, blissful state.
Looking back, YongHua said, it was no small miracle that the relics even made it to Lu Mountain Temple.
Located on the corner of a hillside residential street, the temple is easily mistaken by average passers-by for what it once was: a modest, 1950s-era, cookie-cutter tract home in an aging bedroom community east of Los Angeles. A glance down the hill offers a smog-shrouded view of hundreds of other homes, all looking the same.