Posted Online: Sept. 13, 2013, 3:50 am

Reader relished Buddha relics tour

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Dear Editor:

I would like to acknowledge the visionary leadership of Mayor Gluba and the Davenport City Council who made it possible for the Maitreya Project Heart Shrine Relic Tour to visit the Quad-Cities.

I would also like to thank the citizens of Davenport for their generous support of the exhibition, which was held free of charge at the Figge Art Museum. Our world-class museum was the perfect setting for this internationally renowned exhibition, thanks to the skillful leadership of executive director Tim Schiffer, the fine Figge staff and a legion of devoted volunteers.

The investment of time, talent and treasure in hosting the Loving Kindness Tour speaks volumes about the values of our elected leaders, who elevated our community to global status when they agreed to host this exhibition.

Not every community is capable of rising to such an occasion, for city officials too often lack the foresight to allocate tax dollars to promote opportunities for cultural exchange that bring diverse constituencies together to strengthen communal bonds.

As the history of warfare has shown us time and again, however, we can't afford not to invest in inter-faith cooperation and cross-cultural education. The "Beloved Community" that Mahatma Gandhi and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. envisioned is created with such practical, taxpayer-funded events as the Loving Kindness Tour.

The exhibition of sacred relics of the Buddha and other Buddhist Masters offered Quad-Citians an opportunity to celebrate, honor and benefit from our diversity.

Located where the first bridge spanned the Mississippi, the Quad-Cities have long been a crossroads where people of different origins, cultures and faiths have come together to form a dynamic, multicultural community.

Indeed, Mayor Gluba mentioned in his remarks at the opening ceremony that more than 20 languages and some 64 dialects are now spoken in the homes of Quad-Cities families.

As a volunteer docent, I stood in awe as I witnessed the Loving Kindness Tour's messages of peace and interfaith cooperation being demonstrated by thousands of my Quad-Cities neighbors as they patiently and respectfully circulated through the exhibition.

I am so proud of my beloved community and its people, whose open minds and generous, loving hearts made this extraordinary event possible.

Pat McLaughlin
Loving Kindness Tour Volunteer
Rock Island