A collection of relics from the Buddhist faith that dates back more than two millennia is making a stop in central Iowa this week. The relics were discovered among the cremated ashes of Buddhist masters, with some of them dating back more than 2,600 years.

Kevin Thoren, of Ankeny, invited the tour to make this stop in Des Moines. “The relics are found in the cremains or the cremation of Buddha and all of the disciples up through 2011, was the latest one that had died and was cremated,” Thoren says.

“They’re pearl-like and sometimes translucent or purple-colored.” He says the relics are believed to embody the masters’ spiritual qualities of compassion and wisdom. Thoren says, “You’ll be able to walk around and see the relics themselves which start with the historical Buddha and there’s actually 40 of them, 40 different displays of relics.”

Thoren isn’t a Buddhist; he says he’s a Christian. The tour isn’t about one religion, he says, but it’s for people of all faiths.

“When I invited them to Des Moines, I had not experienced the relics, however I did see them about two months later when they were in Cedar Rapids,” Thoren says.

“It was just incredible. It’s difficult to articulate or put into words but I found a sense of peace. It’s changed my life forever.” Thoren says some visitors report inspiration and healing when in the presence of the relics. Others, he says, are overcome by emotion as the effects of the relics “open their hearts to compassion and loving kindness.”

He says visitors can take part in a blessing ceremony where the relics of the Buddha are placed atop the visitor’s head. There is no admission charge. The collection will be at Hoyt Sherman Place in Des Moines Friday through Sunday.

Learn more at: www.maitreyaproject.org/en/index