The Loving Kindness Tour brings Buddhist relics to Asheville

(photo by Petras Barcas)

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

About Pat Barcas
Pat is a photojournalist and writer who moved to Asheville in 2014. He previously worked for a labor and social rights advocacy newspaper in Chicago. Email him at Follow me @pbarcas

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2 thoughts on “The Loving Kindness Tour brings Buddhist relics to Asheville

  1. Jordan Foltz

    This event was so incredibly beautiful. I have never experienced such a sincere and authentic public ritual in the U.S. before. So many people of different backgrounds coming together in devotion to the power of these relics and offering reverence to historical figures who committed themselves to humility and service—characteristics that this culture so seldom puts on a pedestal. Thanks Pat McLaourin for bringingnthis tour to Asheville. Thanks Asheville for showing up with your hearts and wise-minds. Thanks for covering this, Pat Barcas.

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