THE first of an expected 15,000 visitors to Myers Flat this weekend trickled into the grounds of the Great Stupa of Universal Peace today as the Jade Buddha was unveiled in its home for the first time after a nine year world tour.
The unveiling marked the start of the three-day Illumin8 festival at the stupa, culminating in animated light shows and fireworks on Saturday and Sunday nights.
Co-originators of the Jade Buddha, Ian and Judy Green, said in the 15 years since the commissioning of the holy object, it was the anticipated the day it was settled in the Great Stupa would be special for Buddhists around the world.
The event and festival are being live streamed for people who could not travel to Bendigo, Mr Green said.
“It has been a long time coming home and it is so emotional for my wife and I to actually be there from the day it was raw boulder, to the way it has been transformed and all the time and hardship we had to get the design, to raise the money to buy the boulder then all the difficulties of taking it all around the world,” he said.
“But all these things have been so worth it because so many people around the world have been inspired by this Buddha and now the mission is accomplished.”
The Greens have been in charge of creating the Great Stupa since 1981 when it first came to them as an idea.
The structure itself is nearly complete.
“One thing we had in mind all along, right from the start, was the day that we would bring the Jade Buddha back to the Great Stupa and here it is,” Mrs Green said.