Master Thich Nguyen Thao put the wheels in motion for this Buddha six years ago, when the jade from North Vancouver was shipped to Thailand for carving. (Roxanne Hooper/Langley Advance)

Iconic jade Buddha unveiled at future Langley home

A 16,500-pound, 11-foot tall sculpture, six years in the making, was revealed in Aldergrove today.

After six years of work, what started as a 16-tons rock discovered in North Vancouver has returned from Thailand transformed into an 11-foot tall jade Sakyamuni Buddha.

The caws of roosters, bahs of lambs, and clucks of chicks served as background sounds during a morning of chanting and speeches where the new Buddha was unveiled at the new Hoa Nghiem Monestary in Aldergrove Sunday morning.

A few hundred members of the Lower Mainland Vietnamese community, a few dozen local dignitaries, and a number of venerable reverends from the various Buddha temples across the continent came together for the revealing of the three-piece statue, explained Buddhist follower Tony Vuu.

This Buddha – a symbol of peace and happiness – is the first jade sculpture of this magnitude in Canada, and only the second in the world.

Creating this one was the brainchild of Master (Thich Nguyen) Thao, the abbot reverend at the local monastery.

“He’s the one who’s gathered everyone together, their contributions, their time, their money, to make it happen… he’s the master of the project,” Vuu said, noting the project not only took half a dozen years to realize, but cost close to $2 million.

The unveiling ceremony Sunday kicked off a two-week celebration called the Vu Lan Festival – that will conclude on Aug. 26.

“People come and go… I expect the most crowded today and the ending ceremony on the (Aug.) 26th,” Vuu said, knowing many of his faith are anxious to see the momentous icon up close.

The statue was carved in Thailand, and is considered special not only because of the subject matter but the value of the B.C. jade it’s carved in, and the amount of labour and love that went into creating it.

A few of those involved in the creation process came all the way from Thailand to attend the ceremony.

“It’s not easy,” Vuu said of its making. “It took a group of 40 people to masterfully craft it in Thailand.”

Representatives of the Township and the Langley RCMP were among the dignitaries invited to attend and participate in the ceremony – each given a small sliver from the jade carving.

• Click here to see a photo gallery of the event

“This is a very significant piece,” said acting mayor Blair Whitmarsh.

“It is a great symbol for our community. We know it’s a symbol of good luck. It’s a symbol of happiness. And it’s a symbol of peace, and those are things that are really important to us in Langley, that we would have peace and happiness together,” he elaborated.

“One of the things that makes Langley such a great community is diversity. Lots of different people from lots of different walks of life. Langley is very open to including very many people from around the world, and here today we’re welcoming and celebrating the Vietnamese community and the Buddha, that is a really great symbol for Langley.”

Head of the local RCMP, Supt. Murray Power, was on hand with Langley RCMP Sgt. Loi Ly – a Buddha practitioner – as his translator.

“One of the things we really always strive to achieve is inclusiveness in all of our community. People need to feel free to express their religious and faith beliefs anywhere in the community,” he added, honoured to be invited to participate in such a special ceremony for Langley’s Vietnamese and Buddhist community.

A similar sentiment of acceptance and love was shared by Master Thao, through a translator.

“The jade Buddha represents compassion and wisdom, they are the foundation of peace and happiness. If we are to love and understand each other, then peace and happiness are the shadows that will always follow us,” he said.

While this statue will ultimately be an “historical landmark” in Aldergrove, Vuu explained that it has some miles to clock before that happens.

“This jade Buddha is going to roll around the country, and do all the temples around the U.S. and Canada, and after probably a year or a couple years , it will stay here permanently as a landmark of the Township,” Vuu said.

At that point, it will become a permanent fixture at the monastery which was purchased about a year ago by the master, in the 2000-block of 248th Street.

• Video to come

 

Master Thich Nguyen Thao put the wheels in motion for this Buddha six years ago, when the jade from North Vancouver was shipped to Thailand for carving. (Roxanne Hooper/Langley Advance)

Just Posted

Langley East MLA could testify in logging lawsuit

Rich Coleman has been put on the witness list for a lawsuit against TimberWest.

WATCH: Kwantlen artist paints and installs Indigenous mural in Fort Langley

First Nations painter Brandon Gabriel created a piece of art for Cranberries Naturally.

Day 3 brings fourth win for the Langley-based Team BC

Tyler Tardi and squad plays two games Tuesday at the junior curling nationals in Saskatchewan.

New Langley resident takes to the stage in upcoming musical

Leah Newson is performing in Annie: The Musical in Burnaby starting Feb. 1.

Cash-for-signs policy pondered by Langley Township

A deposit could be required to put up election signs in 2022.

UPDATE: B.C. legislature managers accused of excessive travel, personal expense claims

Clerk Craig James, security chief Gary Lenz call allegations ‘completely false’

B.C. man fined $10,000 after leaving moose to suffer before death

Surrey man was convicted last week on three Wildlife Act charges

‘Blue Monday’ isn’t real, but depression can be

CMHA encourages people to prioritize their mental health

South Surrey mother didn’t have the intent to kill her daughter: defence

Closing submissions in case of Lisa Batstone underway

Anti-pipeline group wants NEB to consider impact of emissions, climate change

Stand.earth filed NEB motion asking to apply same standard to the project as it did with Energy East pipeline

Parole granted for drunk driver who killed B.C. RCMP officer

Kenneth Jacob Fenton will be able to attend alcohol abuse treatment, nearly three years after crash that killed Const. Sarah Beckett

B.C. man charged in 2014 snake venom death of toddler

Henry Thomas was taking care of the North Vancouver girl the day before she died

B.C.’s largest public-sector union wants inquiry into money laundering, drugs

Union officials say Premier John Horgan and Attorney General David Eby have not ruled out the possibility of a public inquiry

Aldergrove soccer tournament set for March 30-31

2019 edition of the Barry Bauder Memorial Soccer Tournament taking registrations

Most Read