The thriving Tibetan Buddhist community in Zimbabwe invited the Maitreya Project to bring the Relics to Harare during their continent-wide tour of Africa. Most recently, the tour visited Kenya, where 5 000 people came to see the relics, reporting the experience to be uplifting, peaceful and calming — much as Harare’s visitors over last weekend did.
The opening ceremony began with a welcoming speech by Trish Swift of the local Tibetan Buddhist community, followed by an opening address by Manubhai Patel, head of the Hindu Society of Zimbabwe.
Afterwards, representatives of two Christian churches, of the Moslem faith, and leaders from other cultural and spiritual belief systems, led prayers from their own religions, and said a few words. A young Hindu group sang Bhajan prayers, and a member of the Bhuddist community led the chanting for the Chinresig Practice, which are prayers for compassion. Chants and prayers for peace were sung and said in both English and Tibetan.
Those gathered were moved and uplifted by the experience of people of different faiths coming together to pray for peace and enjoy a sense of spiritual and human community, with the relics tour as the centrepiece drawing them together to one place.
The event was well-attended by people of different beliefs, backgrounds and communities, who if they wished, were blessed by the Venerable Nyinje, Paula Chichester, who has been living in retreat, studying and practising Buddhism for three decades.