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May 29, 2010

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Buddha charity

The Nepal Pavilion will donate all the money World Expo visitors put in front of its Buddha statues to charitable causes in its country, the pavilion's top official said yesterday.

The pavilion has assigned two staff to collect and count the donations each day because many people are giving to the statues, said Amrit Shakya, an official with the Nepal Pavilion.

The pavilion gets about 1,000 yuan (US$146.40) on average in donations from visitors each day.

It will announce the total amount of donations and where the money has been allocated at the end of the Expo, he said.

The pavilion displays a dozen statues to emphasise Buddhism as a culture and a Nepalese lifestyle rather than a religion, said Shakya.

Following the theme "Tales of Kathmandu City," the pavilion depicts an ancient Buddhist temple surrounded by traditional Nepalese wooden houses in Kathmandu.

The pavilion's pillars and eaves are curved and carved with traditional patterns by Nepalese artists.

The highlight exhibit is a replica of the gilt box holding Buddha relics in Nepal. Visitors can see the box, in the highest level of the building, being decorated with jewels behind windows.

Nepal did not bring the real relic of the Gautama Buddha, founder of Buddhism, as initially planned for fear of too many devotees flocking to the pavilion, said Shakya.

Its national pavilion day will be on September 3 when a car and motorcycle rally from Lumbini in the foothills of the Himalaya will culminate at the Expo site.


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