Bronze Buddha on Raft Credited for Saving Village from Tsunami

April 17, 2005

Source: The Independent

On April 17, 2005 The Independent reported, "A little bronze-eyed idol to the west of Kathmandu is causing quite a stir. It's a Buddhist sage, and in mid-December the 5-inch figure was, like so many in rural Burma, placed in a little decorated kiosk, strapped to a crude bamboo raft and released on to the Irrawaddy river to drift to propitious sites and cast away evil. Down the delta it floated and then, a week or so later, the Boxing Day tsunami struck. Eight days on, 1,000 kilometres away, fishermen in Tamil Nadu spotted the raft floating offshore, its foil decorations glinting in the sunlight...None of the villagers in Meyyurkuppam, a small Tamil fishing hamlet in southern India, could identify the foreign statue, but two Western aid workers suggested that it looked like a Buddha. Actually, it was a chubby Jalagupta figurine, held holy by Burmese Buddhists. Everything on board the raft was intact, and its arrival coincided with another extraordinary event in Meyyurkuppam - everyone in the village had survived the tsunami."