Rare Buddhist sculpture returned to monk

Four craftsmen in Putien, China, took four years to complete this unique sculpture of a Dharma Assembly, which features more than 70 Buddhist deities arranged according to the different levels of enlightenment. Venerable Guojun (above), the former ab
ST PHOTO: ONG WEE JIN

Four craftsmen in Putien, China, took four years to complete this unique sculpture of a Dharma Assembly, which features more than 70 Buddhist deities arranged according to the different levels of enlightenment.

Venerable Guojun (above), the former abbot and current president of Mahabodhi Monastery's management committee, said it was sculpted out of one piece of agarwood.

The sculpture was returned to Ven Guojun following the settlement of a lawsuit in October.

He said: "It's very precious and I am very happy to have it back." A devotee in Taiwan had given it to him in 2006. Ven Guojun regards the sculpture as an object of kindness and generosity, and he plans to donate it as an act of charity next year.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 16, 2017, with the headline 'Rare Buddhist sculpture returned to monk'. Print Edition | Subscribe