Buddhist monks and scholars from Japan and South Korea on Sunday presented to Nepal a replica of a sacred statue of Buddha in the hope of restoring peace in the strife-torn Himalayan kingdom.
The replica of Amida Nyorai (Amitabha Tathagata) was handed over in a ceremony featuring Buddhist rituals and prayers and attended by Buddhist scholars and monks from Japan, South Korea, India and Nepal.
The 80-kilogram statue was carved in Seoul. The original is housed at Zenkoji Temple in Nagano, Japan.
''We have brought Buddha to Nepal with the hope that peace will now return,'' Japanese Buddhist monk Hiromichi Mukaibo said at the ceremony, in an obvious reference to the soaring insurgency-related violence in the once-peaceful Nepal.
According to the organizers of the function, the original statue hails from Vaishali, India. It traveled to Tibet, China and the Korean Peninsula before reaching Japan in 538.