Bad karma: Buddha statue stolen from Steamboat botanic gardens
STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — Yampa River Botanic Park officials are asking the person who recently took a statue from the park’s grounds to return it — no questions asked.
The statue, of ancient Indian religious leader Buddha, normally rests in the middle of the park on the edge of the park’s reflecting pond gardens. Staff became aware the piece was missing during morning rounds earlier this week.
“It’s so strange given the times we’re in,” said Jennifer MacNeil, executive director of the Yampa River Botanic Park. “As Buddha says, ‘If we fail to look after others when they need help, who will look after us?’”
MacNeil said the statue was donated many years ago and was actually stolen once before. Ten years ago, the Buddha was stolen and later found with its head and body broken into two pieces. The head was found a mile or so away in Fetcher Park.
After it was repaired, the statue was then glued to its base. MacNeil estimated the statue to be 2 1/2 feet tall.
Members of the local Buddhist community maintain the gardens in which the statue rests.
MacNeil said acts of vandalism or thefts are rare in the botanic park. Open daily from dusk to dawn, the park is open even after staff leaves for the day.
“We hope someone will rediscover their inner self and return this important piece,” MacNeil said. “Not only will they attain a level of enlightenment for this act, but the park will also be enlightened with its return and continued presence.”
If found, the statue can be returned to any park employee. To further encourage its return, MacNeil said the Buddha can also be left on the patio of the Trillium House, located on the south side of the park. If that’s the case, no questions will be asked.
To reach Bryce Martin, call 970-871-4206 or email bmartin@SteamboatPilot.com.
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