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Published on July 23rd, 2013 | by NSB Observer

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Florida’s Largest Buddhist Statues Find a Home

In a quiet corner of northeastern Brevard County, tucked between US 1 and I-95 in Mims, lies an unexpected treasure, White Sands Buddhist Center. And there, spanning the gardens in front of the monks’ quarters and the temple, is a rare site: a collection of three massive granite statues, monumental not only in scale but in artistic and spiritual significance.

These are the three largest Buddhist statues in Florida. The third of the statues, the Nirvana Buddha, went into place shortly after noon on Friday, July 19, 2013.

buddah3The 35-foot, 40-ton statue, which depicts the reclining Buddha at the time of his passing away, had been resting on its shipping platform since arriving in Mims from Vietnam in March. On Friday, workers from Henric-Mac Corporation used a large crane to move the statue to its final spot atop a concrete platform fronted by a hardscape viewing area.

The Nirvana Buddha, which is made from one large granite block, took its place along with two other statues, the Meditating Buddha and Bodhisattva Avalokitesvara.

The over 200-ton, 35-foot-tall Meditation Buddha depicts the Buddha Sakyamuni seated in the lotus posture. It was created from five blocks of solid granite.

The first of the three statues to arrive from Vietnam, a standing Bodhisattva Avalokiteshvara, was installed on the grounds February, 2012. Often referred to in the US by her Chinese name, Kwan Yin—“She Who Hears the Cries of the World”—the figure represents the Bodhisattva of Compassion and Wisdom.

The Nirvana Buddha completes the planned collection of granite statues. However, more work is planned for the monastery’s sculpture garden, including a prayer platform, reflecting pool, bell tower and other structures that will comprise a square for activities in front of the Meditating Buddha.

The entire project will be dedicated at a 10th Anniversary event in 2015. More than 100 monastics and 1,000 other dignitaries and guests are expected to attend the dedication.

The White Sands Buddhist Center (WSBC) is a Buddhist monastery that was established in 2005 on 20 acres in rural Mims. Its abbot and founder is Zen Master Khai Thien. WSBC holds services every Saturday and hosts retreats several times each year. A new lineup of services for English speakers will begin in August.

The installation of the Nirvana Buddha will occur just in time for two upcoming events, a One Day Retreat for English Speakers on July 27 and a Three Day Retreat (in Vietnamese, with translation available) August 23-25.

The monastery is increasing its programs for English speakers who have an interest in Buddhism and meditation.

Rev. Morris Sekiyo Sullivan has been invited to lead and/or participate in the expanded services. Sullivan is the sensei (dharma teacher) for Volusia Buddhist Fellowship, a DeLand-based Buddhist organization. In 2010, he completed training for and was inducted as a sensei with Bright Dawn Center for Oneness Buddhism, a nonsectarian Buddhist organization. He received dharma transmission earlier this year from Ven. Khai Thien, acknowledging him as a Zen master.

Beginning in August, Sullivan will give dharma talks (Buddhist sermons) during regular evening services on the first and third Saturdays of each month.

WSBC is also adding an American Buddhist service on the first Sunday of each month, beginning in August. The Sunday services will include a meditation program from 9-10 a.m. and formal services with dharma talks and other activities from 10:30 to 11:30 a.m. Sullivan will give the main sermon during those services.

A One Day Retreat for English Speakers will be held on July 27 from 9-5. Teachings will be given by both Ven. Khai Thien and Rev. Sullivan. A Three Day Retreat (in Vietnamese, with translation available) will be held August 23-25 with teachings by Ven. Khai Thien.

White Sands Buddhist Center and Volusia Buddhist Fellowship will also hold a four-day retreat for English speaking people sometime early 2014. The date is to be announced.

White Sands Buddhist Center is located at 4640 Knost Drive, Mims Florida. For more information, visit www.cattrang.org, email whitesandsbc@gmail.com, or phone (321) 383-0723 or (407) 733-1301.

Contact:

Ven. Khai Thien, abbot, White Sands Buddhist Center, (321) 383-0723 or (407) 733-1301.

Rev. Morris Sekiyo Sullivan, Sensei, Volusia Buddhist Fellowship, (386) 738-3715 or (386) 717-3779.

White Sands Buddhist Center is located at 4640 Knost Drive, Mims Florida. For more information, visit www.cattrang.org, email whitesandsbc@gmail.com, or phone (321) 383-0723 or (407) 733-1301.

Photos by Morris Sullivan, Courtesy White Sands Buddhist Center

 

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