The Loving Kindness Tour is a collection of ancient Buddhist relics that has traveled to 70 countries and been viewed by about two million people. The opening ceremony Friday night in Asheville of the weekend long viewing included chanting, prayer, and a guided meditation, but it was not strictly a Buddhist event.
“This is a cultural event,” said Norbu Castro, a custodian with the Maitreya Project Heart Shrine Relic Tour. “This provides an opportunity to discover loving kindness and compassion; seeing this exhibition, people are more willing to open their heart. It’s wonderful, people have been very happy tonight.”
Castro, who travels with the relics worldwide, said the reception in Asheville was overwhelmingly positive. The relics have been to Asheville twice before, in 2006 and 2008, and this time were hosted at The Venue downtown. Event coordinator Pat McLaurin said she wrote a letter about 18 months ago asking to host again after she saw the relics previously.
“I remember being bowled over with the love in the room,” McLaurin said. “It’s touching to see so many people here, and I feel like this tour is leaving a mark on the world. It’s a great opportunity to give back to the city.”
The Loving Kindness Tour is a free event and continues through Sunday at The Venue, 21 N. Market St. in Asheville. Exhibition hours are 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday, and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday. For further information, visit www.lovingkindnesstouravl.com.