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Dharma Bums II 

The Maitreya Project's Heart-Shrine Relic Tour spreads the love

Tired of the new reality show Iraq yet? No matter which side of the bomb 'em/don't bomb 'em argument you're on, the fact remains that it is a very depressing show, and not in a sexy way as Temptation Island was. The new plot twist, in which Dick Cheney's old business cronies get a lucrative postshow cleanup contract, seems pretty bogus, and that emcee, Ari Fleischer, he's kind of a douche, isn't he? Anyway, maybe if nobody watches it, it will all go away, just as Temptation Island did.

So what will you do with your time if you're not watching thirteen hours of TV a day? How about a little spiritual food to fill the gnawing hole all that war talk has burned in your gut? For three days only, the Maitreya Heart Shrine Relic Tour will be in St. Louis, and it holds the sort of promise that round-the-clock talking heads just can't deliver.

Gathered by Lama Zopa Rinpoche, the tour features more than 1,000 Buddhist relics, all freely available to be viewed by anyone, Buddhist or not. These relics are not the Christian relics of clothing scraps or finger bones but "beautiful, pearl-like crystals" found among the ashes of cremated spiritual masters, according to information provided by tour organizers. Buddhists believe these crystals are "evidence that the deceased person had attained qualities of compassion and wisdom before his death." Better still, the relics are purported to instill these qualities in people who respectfully view them. Compassion? Wisdom? Who wants some? Whether or not you believe in their power, they hold interest as historical artifacts. Lama Rinpoche asserts that people of all religions often leave with feelings of "happiness, peace and a kinder heart." Here's hoping the next stop on the tour is Washington, D.C.

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