The nine-foot-tall "Jade Buddha for Universal Peace" is the world's largest Buddha carved from gemstone-quality jade. Weighing 4.65 tons and considered priceless, the Buddha was carved from a mammoth boulder of nephrite jade sourced in Northwest British Columbia, Canada. Dubbed the Polar Pride boulder when it was discovered in 2000, gem experts called the 18-ton specimen "the find of the millennium."
The Polar Pride was split in two and sold for an undisclosed price to an international Buddhist organization headed by the Nepalese monk Lama Zopa Rinpoche. In 2006, the twin blocks were shipped from Vancouver to Thailand, where master craftsmen began their two-year labor of love – freeing the smiling, meditating figure of Buddha from an enormous block of gem-quality jade.
Rinpoche said that the statue made from the majestic boulder would illuminate the world and bring peace, happiness and solace and help prevent destruction, including war.
The colossal Buddha has been consecrated by the Dalai Lama and has been on a world tour since 2009, with stops in Asia, Australia, North America and Europe. At the end of its tour, the Jade Buddha for Universal Peace will be brought to its permanent home – The Great Stupa of Universal Compassion in Bendigo, Australia.
According to the Jade Buddha's official website, the purpose of exhibiting the statue around the world is for everyone, irrespective of their religion, to take a moment to reflect upon peace; peace for the world; peace in their relationships; peace for their families and friends; peace at work; peace in their mind. We hope that such positive inspiration will bring joy and motivation in the lives of those who are able to see the Jade Buddha.
The Jade Buddha's next appearance will be in Sri Lanka from August 10-19, and then it will end the year with multiple engagements in India.