] Dhammatalaka Peace Pagoda ]

29/31 Osler St, Birmingham B16 9EU

Tel. 0121 454 6591 Email: nagasena_bhikkhu@hotmail.com

Viewing of the UN Buddha Relics In Birmingham: July 12-13, 2003

In December 1999, the United Nations Assembly declared Buddha Day a day of international celebration for itself and all its agencies. In recognition of this, the Thai Supreme Patriarch had a golden memorial stupa made in 2000 and requested relics from the three main Theravadin countries - Sri Lanka, Myanmar and Thailand. These were then presented to the UN for eventual enshrinement in their New York headquarters. In the meanwhile they are in the care of two Thai custodians and are touring the world.

The rule for the exhibition of these relics is that they may only visit any country once. We in Birmingham have the honour of hosting their visit to Britain and our pagoda has been given the responsibility of hosting the ceremony of veneration over the weekend of 12-13 July. With the help of the West Midlands Buddhist Council, we are working hard to see that the good news is spread as widely as possible in the UK to all schools of Buddhism.

Sunday, 13 July coincides with the celebration of the Buddha's first sermon, when many other groups will be holding celebrations of their own. This has therefore been set aside for civic and cultural celebrations as well as of the 5th anniversary of our own opening. Naturally we hope many will wish to come then, but the main religious and national focus will be on Saturday. As well as the opportunity to view the UN relics, others given to Budhhavihara Temple in Aston and recently arrived from Thailand, as well as some Sariputta relics recently donated to us, will also be on display.

The full programme can be viewed at the What's New Section on our website - http://www.birminghambuddhistvihara.org/Whatsnew.htm. Please note that any group from any Buddhist school wishing to chant before the relics is welcome to do so. There will be fifteen-minute slots for this throughout most of Saturday as well as the start and end of Sunday. Please contact Nagasena Bhikkhu to arrange a time.

In keeping with practice at veneration ceremonies in other countries, photographing or filming the relics will not be allowed.

There is no accommodation available for visitors at Birmingham Buddhist Vihara. If you wish to stop overnight, the City Council’s Tourist Information Line should be able to find somewhere to suit you. It can be reached on 0121 202 5099 or via its website: -www.beinbirmingham.com)